Review: The X Files Conspiracy

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Publisher: IDW
Written by: Paul Crilley, Erik Burnham, Ed Brisson, Denton J. Tipton
Artwork by: John Stanisci, Salvador Navarro, Michael Walsh, Dheeraj Verma, Vic Malhotra
Review: Kate @ All That Geek. (Originally posted April 2014)

One of my biggest peeves about the new X-Files comics is how very dead characters in the TV series have been brought back to life on the pages. They are explained away with some moments that feel no more meaningful than “ha-ha just kidding, we’re not dead!”

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why these characters have been brought back and there is a part of me that is pleased about it. It’s just that the other part just screams at how it’s ruining the canon. I understand that The X-Files franchise is going to be more profitable with its popular secondary characters such as The Lone Gunmen alive and well to tell stories of their own. I guess rather than create stories set in the 90s/early 2000 when the characters were alive, someone thought it necessary to have them suddenly not dead and their stories set now. For the sake of what? Use of smartphones?

When I first heard about the new Lone Gunmen spin off comics Conspiracy, a crossover with IDW’s other titles (TNMT, Transformers, Ghostbusters and The Crow) I was dubious. I wondered how far they would venture into bad fan-fiction territory. Fortunately I was surprised, and unfortunately, I was also disappointed. 

Conspiracy starts with The Lone Gunmen receiving an encrypted data file from the future which sets them on a journey investigating so-called tabloid stories of Ghost hunters, mutant turtles and shape shifting aliens which all may be connected to a plague that is set to wipe out humanity. Mulder and Scully are also on the case, investigating an outbreak of the deadly virus.

Issue #1 starts out solid setting up the story and its bookend (Conspiracy #2) it equally good, if not a little silly at times. I like the way Paul Crilley has written the Gunmen as well as Mulder and Scully. They are in character and it really feels like them on the pages. I would love to see him work on the X-Files season 10 at some stage, as I really think the series would benefit from his writing.

The crossover comics themselves left a little to be desired. The first, Conspiracy: Ghostbusters by Erik Burnham was good, but after the completely unrelated (albeit entertaining) event that took place for most of the story, I felt like the last couple of pages were just an info-dump to get back to the Conspiracy plot.

Next was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover by Ed Brisson. As a fan of TMNT, I was most looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, the story brought back the vampires from X-Files episode Bad Blood. It was a nice nod to the series in a way, and connecting the turtles to it via the pizza shop, but the inclusion felt like what most of XFS10 is suffering from, too much dredging up of the past.

The TMNT crossover is followed by the Transformers, another solid effort by Paul Crilley, and not surprisingly, my favourite aside from the bookend issues. I really enjoyed it and it didn’t feel like a chore to read. It stayed within the plot of the Conspiracy series, whilst giving the Transformers their own story. Also …ninja buddies forever.

The Crow was last in the crossovers written by Denton J. Tripton and my least favourite. I think mainly because I am unfamiliar with the story and it did nothing to capture my attention. I did, however, like how the story came full circle, connecting and tying up some of the events from Conspiracy #1.

The art in all the issues was really just so-so for me. The Ghostbusters issue deserves praise for at least having the characters look like recognisable versions of themselves. The Transformers issue is my favourite for being the most artistic. The covers on the other hand, I loved. The standard covers are wonderful, but the variants, each issue being a tabloid newspaper cover, are by far the best and I was so happy I was able to buy them all.

Overall, I liked this Lone Gunmen series. The plot of them receiving the files from the future and the mutated virus really worked, but the crossovers added no value to it for me. Nor did it make me want to start reading any of those other titles, as I’m sure was IDW’s intention.

If crossovers of IDW titles are going to be inevitable, I’d love to see Mulder and Scully somehow cross paths with some more exciting stories, because on the pages of a comic, anything is possible.

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Review: The X Files Annual 2014

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Publisher: IDW (2014)
Written by: Frank Spotnitz, Gabe Rotter, Shannon Eric Denton and Dave Sim.
Artwork by: Stuart Sayger and Andrew Currie.
Review: Kate @ All That Geek. (Originally posted April 2014)

The X Files Annual has been highly anticipated by fans across the globe as it sees the return of series writer/producer Frank Spotnitz with an untold story from Mulder and Scully’s first time in the FBI.

The Priest written by Frank Spotnitz, Gabe Rotter and Shannon Eric Denton.

“When a man returns from the dead with a warning for his wife, the agents investigate and cross paths with a very peculiar priest.”

I loved this story, it was simple, engaging and everything you would expect from classic X Files. The story captures the spirit of the early seasons and is perfectly creepy in that way that fans of the show will love. Mulder and Scully were written true to character, which is no surprise with Spotnitz being one of the best writers from the television series. 

The biggest let down for me was the artwork. At times it drew me out of the story, as the expressions on the characters did not match what the dialogue was trying to convey. Mulder and Scully (especially Scully) were barely recognizable at times. Scully’s hair had been drawn so short, she reminded me of Det. Angela White from the S3 episode Syzygy.

One thing I did like about the artwork was the darker colouring of the comic which gave it that spooky X Files feel.

The second story, Talk To The Hand by Dave Sim finds Scully in the midst of a dream, having conversation with a grotesque hand covered in eyeballs. This is supposedly a dream she’s had many times before, with the monster-like hand claiming to be her high-school sweetheart Adam. “Adam” gives her a choice, when she wakes up she’ll continue working as an FBI Agent or have a perfect life with him.

I have to admit, its a strange story and I believe one I could wrap my head around better if I was more familiar with its creator. However I think the charm of the story lies in its quirkiness. You know the choice Scully is going to make but there is always that question of the life she could have had, if she just got out of the damn car.

Overall “The Priest” is a great addition to the X Files comics if it weren’t for the artwork. And “Talk To The Hand” was weird enough in way that I’m still thinking about it.

The X Files Annual is a must for any fans collection.

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Review: The X-Files by Frank Spotnitz, Marv Wolfman and Doug Moench (WildStorm Comics)

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Publisher: WildStorm (2009)
Written by: Frank Spotnitz, Marv Wolfman and Doug Moench
Artwork by: Brian Denham
Review: Kate @ All That Geek. (Originally posted August 2014)

THE X-FILES lives on in this new collection that serves as a lost season of the smash-hit TV series. Mulder and Scully are sent to San Francisco to solve a string of murders, then become targets of the Tong underworld and travel to the mysterious Badlands to investigate a series of disappearances in this title collecting THE X-FILES #0-6.

In 2008/09 following the second X-Files movie, WildStorm released seven comics based on The X-Files television show which were set to further expand on the series. The first three issues are penned by X-Files executive producer and writer Frank Spotnitz which is where this collection shines. Telling two different stories of possession, Spotnitz talent as a writer on the show easily translates to the pages of a comic. They felt like they could have been two missing episodes from the series.

Its hard to find a comic writer who really captures the essence of the show and keeps Mulder and Scully in character but Wolfman and Moench do fairly good job at capturing our favourite FBI Agents. Their stories, one dealing mysticism and triads the other about underground creatures (and the hollow earth theory) were interesting and kept me glued to the pages and they felt faithful to the series.

My main complaint with this series is the timeline. Supposedly set in the X-Files prime, around season 2 to 5 (1994-97) it becomes clear that its 2008/09 in the comics timeline. This places them around the second X-Files movie and well after Mulder and Scully have left the FBI. Its jarring as a fan and could have easily been avoided by a few changes in the writing.

The artwork and colouring is absolutely fantastic. By far my favourite that I have seen in any X-Files comic to date. I felt immersed in Mulder and Scully’s world because they actually looked like who they were supposed to without appearing to be screen grabs from the series. The colouring is dark and moody all throughout the stories, keeping to that creepy X-Files feel.

Overall, it was a good set of “monster of the week” stories that became so synonymous with show. There were a few easter eggs for fans really paying attention and its a great read for fans who are craving more of the old series.

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Review: The X-Files Vol. 1: The Agents, The Bureau and The Syndicate (Titan Comics)


Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Review: Kate
To celebrate the return of the hugely popular sci-fi TV series, Titan Comics shine a light on The X-Files once more in this essential new collection commemorating the iconic TV show. (Features content previously published in the official X-Files Magazine.)

The Official X-Files Magazine, published by Titan since 1996, was a much sought after item in my house back in the day. It was a tricky thing to get at my local newsagents and my collection ended up in dribs and drabs.

So I was excited to hear of Titans first new X-Files book, The Agents, The Bureau and The Syndicate. An amalgamation of interviews and articles from said magazines, it was enough to make my little X-Phile heart leap with joy.

This first volume features interviews with Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis and Nicholas Lea, just to name a few. Theres a profile for the character each the actor played and some articles on the impact the show had.

While its taken me some time to get through all the articles – and I’m still reading – its interesting to take a step back in time and read the attitudes and reactions of those on the show was when each interview was documented.

There’s also some fun stuff such as a guide to Mulder and Scully’s apartments – in case you ever want to go retro and copy their decorating tastes. Perhaps my favourite thing are the guides to being the next Mulder or Scully with great tips like have a close relationship with your partner – if you ask Chris Carter, its only platonic, right?

With some great quotes, gorgeous photos through out the book and more nostalgia than you can poke a stick at, it makes it a must-have for X-Philes old and new.

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