X-Files (2008, DC/Wildstorm)
A couple things caught my eye when I saw the recent X-Files comic put out by Wildstorm; first of all it was written by Frank Spotnitz (long time X-Files writer/producer) and secondly the 4 issue set only cost two dollars. The stories are told in two issues and stick to the monster-of-the-week end of X-Files mysteries. The first case involves a company that weaponized a hallucinogen and the second case has the agents tracking a murderer that can appear in several places at the same time. Spotnitz does a good job of maintaining the feel of the TV series; each issue even starts with images from the show’s opening sequence, and there are appearances from Skinner and the Lone Gunmen. There are little moments as well that long time fans may enjoy, such as Frohike bringing flowers to Mulder when he’s in the hospital. Each story has a nice little twist in the final panels, which made me feel a bit better about the book as the stories came to a close. “Oh, that was pretty neat after all!” is what I said.
While the stories are solid and would have made fine episodes of the show, they are not necessarily good comics. Attempting to make the art look as realistic as possible is one problem; translating real people into drawings does not work out and is distracting. The artist is especially bad at drawing Scully and capturing her expressions whenever she gives Mulder an odd look for talking about mysticism. He can’t quite reveal the way her eyebrows bend and her lips stick out when she is concerned, or the slight annoyance in her eyes when she has to listen to Mulder’s latest theory on the case. Do I have a solution for this? No I do not. Perhaps they could have tried going in another direction. Everyone is already aware that the X-Files was a TV show, so why remind them at every turn? The comic cannot possibly recreate everything from the show, and it shouldn’t try to. This is the perfect opportunity to experiment with things that the show could not have done; due to cost, aging actors, or any other barriers. Here are some suggestions: a villain who can teleport around the world, have Mulder and Scully explore other dimensions, or feature a case from early in Mulder’s career (a “Mulder: Year One” type of thing). Perhaps the most obvious would be a spoof on comics; maybe a story involving someone who thinks they’re a superhero, or have a murder take place at a comic book convention (Lone Gunmen are there in superhero costumes). The series recently featured a crossover with 30 Days of Night (vampire comic published by IDW), hopefully future stories will continue to head in that direction.