The X-Files Annual #1 is a Great Throwback to the Series’ Prime

x-files_annual

x-files_annualThe X-Files Annual #1
Writers: Frank Spotnitz, Gabe Rotter & Shannon Eric Denton, Dave Sim
Art: Stuart Sayger, Andrew Currie
Colours: Matheus Lopes
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Denton J. Tipton
Executive Producer: Chris Carter
Publisher: IDW
Purchase: http://shop.idwpublishing.com/comics/series/t-z/the-x-files.html

Last year, IDW, working closely with Chris Carter, successfully launched the tenth season of The X-Files in comic book form. Now the dynamic duo are back again in a special double-stuffed annual that features two ‘lost’ stories from Mulder and Scully’s earlier days. Luckily, for readers, this annual feels more like a season 3 X-Files episode than a season 9  one. If you’re an X-Files fan, then you know what that means.

The annual features two separate stories, with the first serving as the “monster of the week” tale. In it, a man is brutally murdered while on his amazing mid-Nineties flip phone. Leaving a pregnant wife at home, the man is still able to contact her and warns her of impending doom. It isn’t long before Mulder and Scully are on the case, but they aren’t the only ones looking for the dead husband.

Writers Spotnitz, Rotter and Denton’s script wonderfully captures the spirit of the X-Files, which is no surprise. Spotnitz is a former producer/writer of the series and Shannon Eric Denton was once the former X-Files editor when DC held the property. The banter between Mulder and Scully, a highlight of the television series, is in full force. While many look to Mulder’s snark as the highlight of his persona, it’s actually his firm sets of beliefs that make him a character that withstands the test of time. Here, readers get a glimpse into his thoughts on the afterlife. Being a man surrounded by death and mystery, it’s interesting to see his view on heaven and hell, albeit in a brief aside. The story itself is perfectly creepy and scary in a way that fans of the series will love. Without television restrictions and budgets, the writers are able to let loose and the story is all the better for it.

Sayger’s chaotic line work gives a mystic air to the story. It leaves the reader second guessing themselves, unsure what is real and what is a dream. Lopes drapes the book in darkness, further showcasing the gloomy nature of the script. Bad Blood, this is not.

x-files_thereThe second story plays a lot closer to the heart. Written by Cerebus creator Dave Sim, readers find Scully in the midst of a dream she’s had many times before. Her ex-high school sweetheart Adam, now a floating monster hand covered in eyeballs, gives her a choice; a beautiful life with him, or continuing her work as an FBI agent.

While we all know what the dedicated agent will choose, the story reminds us that Scully had a seemingly normal life prior to her involvement with the X-Files. Mulder’s life has always been cloaked in tragedy with only one outcome for him, but Scully, the pretty girl next door, could have been something else entirely. It’s a nice little reminder of how real these fictional characters are. While artist Currie may not get any action to illustrate, he manages to capture the emotional weight of Scully’s decision. This due to some impressive character design, capturing the soul of Scully in her gorgeous blue eyes.

Fans of The X-Files, longing for the good ol’ days would be remiss if they passed up on this book. The X-Files Annual #1 is a great throwback to the glory days of a show that was once a phenomenon. If IDW continues to produce this quality of work with the property perhaps that dream of a third X-Files movie may become a reality.

-Sean

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