In the 1990’s there was no better place to get your fix of supernatural/science fiction conspiracy than The X-Files. Over 9 seasons (and two movies) we followed FBI Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) through tense and gripping stories which made viewers think about what the government was potentially hiding from us as well ponder if we were really alone. The result was a rating hit and one of the first examples of genre TV really making its mark beyond a geek audience.
In 2013 The X-Files returned in comic book form for a series called The X-Files: Season 1o which continued for 12 years after the television series ended. Written by Joe Harris, art by a string of artists and published by IDW Publishing, the series brought The X-Files into the 21st century – searching for the truth through post 9-11 and Snowden lenses. There’s plenty of the conspiracy, mixed in with the supernatural, science fiction and occasional horror that the series was best known for.
On the eve of the X-Files television 6-part miniseries, here are five reasons why you should dive into this comic book series if you’re a big X-Files fan.
Before I go on, it’s worth noting (as I know I’ll get questions about it) that when the series first started it was considered a true continuation of the television series but with the new television miniseries that it is no longer the case. That’s not to say that because it’s not canonical that it’s not worth watching. Treat this as a what could’ve happened and I think you’ll really dig it.
It’s The X-Files You Know And Love
Sometimes comics based on licenced properties are not that great. This is usually because the creators haven’t been able to capture what makes the characters and concepts special or understand how they tick. I can happily report that this is not the case with The X-Files: Season 10 comic. Even with a 12-year gap, Mulder and Scully are just how you remember them and we’re treated to stories which feel as they should.
Writer Joe Harris and a string of great artists have captured Mulder and Scully perfectly on the page to create an enjoyable read. Their mannerisms and dialogue are spot on and feels they haven’t been gone all this time. Mulder is still charismatic and jokey, but serious when it comes to his mission of finding the truth. Scully is still smart and the voice of reason. She isn’t the same sceptic she used to be, but when you consider what both of them have seen it’s understandable. Overall, the chemistry between the two is still there and it’s a joy to read.
Story-wise, The X-Files: Season 10 comic feels like watching the TV series. The format is very similar to the conspiracy subplot which bubbles away with monster-of-the-week stories sprinkled throughout. As always, the truth is always out there and the comic does a great job of dangling it in front of the characters, as well as the reader. You want to grab hold of it, but it’s just out of reach.
Chris Carter Is Involved
One of the reasons that the characters and themes are so on-point is because The X-Files creator, Chris Carter, was so heavily involved. Acting as Executive Producer on the comic series, Carter whands-on on with the series which is one of the reasons it feels so much like the X-Files you know and love. He also co-plotted the series with Joe Harris which allows means the characters and stories were able to develop and be told in a manner which it deserves to be.
Characters You Never Thought You Would Never See Again Return
It’s not only Mulder and Scully who’ve returned for the The X-Files: Season 10 comic, but many others have too. Many of these are characters you would assume you’d never see again, whether because they were dead by the conclusion of the TV series or simply because they’re unexpected. I don’t really want to give away too much as to who they are but they serve a variety of purposes from returing monsters, past villains or allies and sometimes even a combination of the latter. These characters generally serve the purpose did in the show for but some have a nice twist which shakes up their character. Often the reveals of these characters are done in a way that creates a level of shock or a new twist on the mythology.
A Fantastic String Of Artists
The X-Files Season 10 comic had a fantastic roster of artists over the space of 25 issues. Michael Walsh, Matthew Dow Smith, Elena Casagrande, Silvia Califano, Greg Scott, Menton3, Tony Moy, Colin Lorimer and Tom Mandrake all put their own personal touch on the comic. For some it might feel disjointed having so many different artists, this roster worked quite well because it matched the artists to stories which best matched their styles and talents. For example the quasi-psychedelic Tom Mandrake works quite well for the story G-23, in which some of it Mulder goes on an unintentional drug journey. Another great example is in the one-shot story Chitter in which Greg Scott’s grimey and scratchy art fits the tone of the tone and horror of the series.
It’s always worth noting two others in the series as they have their fingerprints all over the comic.
The first is colourist extraordinaire Jordie Bellaire who coloured the majority of the series. Her colours match the tone of the stories, complimenting each artist. With so many different artists this can be a tough feat, but she did it effortlessly. It’s most likely the reason she won an Eisner Award for her colouring on the series.
The other worth noting is regular cover artist Francesco Francavilla, who contributed cover to a majority of the series. He brought his signature pulp-inspired style to create a series of comic book covers which could easily be posters.
There’s A Season 11 Too
Once you gotten to the The X-Files: Season 10 #25 you’ll get many answers, but at the same time you’ll have just as many questions. Luckily, there’s a Season 11. I can’t talk about this too much as I fear I will spoil what happens at the end of the Season 10 comic, but be glad to know that that’s not the end of the X-Files comics.
It’s also worth noting that X-Files Season 10 opened up the opportunity for some spin-off miniseries. The most noteworthy being a Millennium miniseries which saw the return of Frank Black.
You can read a preview of The X-Files: Season 10 #1 here.