Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kevin is Right: Comics Preview: X Files Season 10

An old love and a new love have collided for me, and I'm very excited about it.  If you someday aspire to be a reasonable and respectable human being, worthy of the rare gift of life bestowed upon you and deserving of the admiration and respect of other organisms, you have watched and love The X-Files.  If not, please make one of two choices:  1) Jump off the nearest bridge so as to stop potentially polluting the gene pool.  2) Grab a Netflix account, start watching, and thank me when you're done.  These seem like your only two options from where I'm sitting.

In any case, now that we're all on the same page, (having eliminated all the tasteless scum from the face of the planet,) I wanted to let you know that, whatever your feelings on Doggett, Reyes and I Want To Believe, you can now breathe easy.  All indications are that the X-Files you fell in love with is back, albeit using a different medium, the Comic Book.

IDW Publishing, following in the footsteps of other well received continuing, canonical stories (such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8 and 9) has launched, this month, X Files Season 10.  This series represents the continuing, allegedly canonical, adventures of the two greatest characters (both in terms of nuanced charm and raw, visceral sex appeal) world literature has ever known, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

So now that you know this wonderful beacon of literature exists, you may be asking yourself:   "Is it any good?"  Certainly, many a travesty has been foisted upon a loyal fanbase as a cash-in puppet show, trading in base nostalgia and novelty rather than substance.  However, as much as someone can draw this conclusion from having read a scant 27 pages of comic, this looks to be the real McCoy (or Samantha Mulder?).

First, we do have the backing of Chris Carter as Executive Producer.  Granted, these Executive Producerships are a bit nebulous in terms of job description and involvement, but, as a brand, the name being there means something.  It is, at least, a necessary, if not sufficient, criteria for any X-Files media that claims to represent a new installment to the canon.

Additionally, Joe Harris, the comics' writer, seems to have a good grasp on the characters, both in tone and mannerism. To avoid spoilers, I will speak in generalities, but, the comic finds our two beloved characters in situations, post I Want To Believe, that feel plausible from what we know of them.  Their dialogue fits comfortably into the well worn track, not easily jostled,  of patterns of speech I have in my head.  Skinner's dialogue even conveys his bizarre and hypnotizing intensity by applying bolds to the end of almost every sentence.  It's a small touch, but it makes you feel like you're in good hands.

The pacing felt familiar as well, the structure borrowed from that of its television counterpart.  Scenes bounced between intense suspense, to intriguing mystery, and then the quiet, charming vignettes that glue the proceedings together so pleasingly.  Though the plot is just beginning to develop, I can say with confidence that I am looking forward to the next issue.

As to the art of the piece, the style is in the more pulpy, cartoonish style, similar to David Aja's work in Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon, which has been wildly popular.  As a matter of personal taste, I, at all times, prefer wholly photorealistic representations of the two main characters, much as Michaelangelo's David needs its' intensely considered details to convey the full perfection of the art.  However, such an undertaking as to re-create aesthetic perfection might prove too Sisyphean a task for even the greatest artists among us, and thus Carlos Valenzuela can be forgiven for his choice.  That being said, I do not wish to besmirch the art here.  Quite the opposite.  Recognition is due and owing to Valenzuela, because despite the more abstract representations, there are moments where he conveys essential and unique visual elements of the characters, that to the trained or familiar eye conjure up a more complete picture, a spark of recognition, rather than merely being symbols, avatars or stand-ins.  He is able to capture glimpses of their souls.

Only the Syndicate knows what is in store for this series, but we're off to a good start.  I, for one, Want To Believe.  So here's hoping.  Give it a look and let me know what you think in the comments.

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