The truth is still out there as The X-Files marks a welcome return with this first chapter in a new ongoing series.
For nine seasons of television and two feature films, FBI agents Fox Mulder (played in the series by David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigated the paranormal, often battling a larger conspiracy within the highest levels of government. By the time the series reached its overdue end in 2001, the phenomenon that had sustained it has well and truly dimmed. Quite unexpectedly, series creator Chris Carter brought about a second feature film in 2008, long after the fire had died, and it was met with expectedly mixed reviews. Following in the footsteps of the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer – Season 8, Smallville – Season 11 and their kind, The X-Files returns to the serialised format that always served it best.
Despite the massive amounts of continuity and time/emotional investment required in the television series, The X-Files – Season 10 #1 begins with a clean slate. Indeed, labelling the book ‘Season 10’ might do it a disservice, as this is very easy to jump onto for non-believers as well as hardcore fans. Everything you need to know to get started is in an introductory paragraph, and we pick up with Mulder and Scully living in anonymity under pseudonyms. At least until FBI Deputy Director (formerly Assistant Director) Skinner turns up and tells them of a break-in at the old X-Files ranch. Soon Mulder and Scully are knee-deep in creepy kids, shadowing figures and something messing with their minds.
Like the most recent movie, The X-Files – Season 10 #1 eschews the large government conspiracy (at least for now) and focuses on the “monster of the week” at their door. Beginning with a chronological jump forward throws us right in the middle of the action, delaying the “where are they now?” exposition until the reader is already hooked. In this sense, it follows the pre-credits stinger formula of the original show. Mulder is played a little more for laughs this time around, his dry wit swapped for geeky wisecracking, but otherwise these are the same characters that we left over a decade ago.
Michael Walsh’s clean and simple style may not have the macabre and grainy filter that fans might be expecting, but there is something grounded and real about it, making the more outlandish elements of the story more palatable. The look of the lead characters are spot-on, unlike other licenses that get the names and not the likenesses. Colourist Jordie Bellaire, who is doing wonderful things with Ming Doyle for Brian Wood’s Mara, provides a similarly restrained palette to this title, almost giving it a retro feel not too distant from Matt Hollingsworth’s Hawkeye.
Unlike the monster of the week episodes, we are left on a cliffhanger, but we are also left with any number of questions ready to draw us back in next month. One question that might spring to mind is whether this series is needed at all? Probably not, but it is a nevertheless faithful and enjoyable return to a world we once loved, and there is something exciting about delving back into it. We want to believe, and so far we have every reason to.
If you are an iTunes user, subscribe to our weekly podcast free here and please leave us feedback.