By: Joe Harris (writer), Michael Walsh (art), Jordie Bellaire (colors), Robbin Robbins (letters)

The Story: An old source of Mulder’s reappears to point him toward a new conspiracy.

Review (with SPOILERS): This issue sings because of the return of Michael Walsh to art duties.  When Walsh is doing the art, The X-Files, Season 10 reminds me of a good high school reunion: all the people that you wanted to see are there, none of the bad people and everyone kind acts and looks the way you expect them too.  This whole series is nothing but a nostalgia trip for people who enjoyed the TV series, so it means everything that Walsh is so expertly able to peg the characters.

Much of this issue is about Mulder’s second informant on the TV series: X.  I’ll save you the wikipedia and remind you that Mulder’s original source (Deep Throat) was murdered at the end of Season 1.  In Season 2, we met the mysterious X who gave Mulder a lot of tips over his time on the series, but never seemed quite as friendly as Deep Throat.  Perhaps it was just that Deep Throat had an avuncular air to him??  Regardless, X was a minor character on the X-Files from 1994-1997….and that was a long, long time ago.  But, when you first see X in this issue, you brain goes, “Oh yeah…’s that guy from 21 Jump Street who also played Fox Mulder’s informant on the X-Files.”  Walsh’s depiction is so perfect.

Let’s just imagine this issue in the hands of a less gifted artist: We open on a scene of a random black guy doing mysterious, secret government stuff.  I mean, that would be a total pain in the ass:  “Who is this guy?  Am I supposed to know him? Is it supposed to be X?Walsh’s excellence allows the reader to just let the story flow over them and enjoy it.  You can do the wikipedia searching AFTER enjoying the issue.

The story is really clicking along too.  I think this is just a done-in-one story to demonstrate that there is still some shadow government and that they are still fiddling with that black oil/Purity stuff from the TV series – Of course they are! What’s amazing about the way the story is presented is that I’m being reminded only of what I liked about the series and none of the bad stuff.  I mean, if you really think about it, the story of the last few seasons of the X-Files was a total mess.  But much like parents don’t remember how terrible babies truly are – or else nobody would have more than one – I seem to have a general mental block on the bad stuff.  This comic series surely isn’t reminding me of all the times the TV series kept me awake at 2:13 a.m. [inside joke] because it had crapped in its bed.

This is also another wonderful example of IDW doing great work with a licensed property.  Why can’t GI Joe get this sort of love?!?!?!

Conclusion: This series is much stronger when Michael Walsh is doing the art.  It is a perfect nostalgia trip for lovers of the TV series.

Grade: A-

-Dean Stell