I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
And so we finally come to the last batch of Topps' X-Files run. Fair warning, folks. . .it ain't pretty.
This series was never that good to begin with. It has its moments here and there, but generally speaking it's been mediocre at best up until this point. From here to the end of things it gets pretty bad.
These issues coincided with the general collapse of the 90's speculator comic market, and specifically the collapse of Topps Comics in 1998. They also came out when the X-Files T.V. show's popularity began to wane. The show was still high in the ratings, but nowhere near what it had been.- read more
As I read this next batch of Topps' X-Files comics. . .moving through the second year of the run and into the third. . .I begin to wonder if perhaps I might be bearing witness to a conspiracy over twenty years old.
I've already touched a bit on on the conflict going on in the background of this series that eventually led to the departure of the original writer in favor of one more accepting of the fate of writing a tie-in to a hugely popular T.V. sensation, but not being able to use any of the ideas, storylines, or characters of the source material beyond bare-bones unchanging sketches of the main characters and a basic outline of the show's overall theme.
BUT. . .- read more
As we move in to the conclusion of the first year of Topps' X-Files comic series, I can clearly see the behind the scenes conflict that seemingly plagued this book coming into play in the form of a sudden shift and swift retcon of the overarching story being that of a government conspiracy to one of a single person being behind EVERYTHING that has happened in the first 9 issues.
From interviews I've read, the writer claims that the T.V. production company kept such an iron grip on the comics that it let not only to a disruptive shipping schedule due to their approval process. . .where the book would skip months, then ship THREE issues in a single month. . .but also to the departure of the original writer in favor of someone the T.V. producers could more easily work with (Read: Tell what to do and how to do it).- read more
I think the reason I loved the X-Files so much is that there really wasn't anything else like it on T.V. It combined conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries and mixed in an interesting take on the tried and true buddy cop show formula.
The Topps comic series came out during the second season of the show, and followed a somewhat unusual path for a licensed product tie-in. . .especially a tie-in to something that was still going strong. The comic series was supposedly happening AT THE SAME TIME as the series.
But there was a bit of a problem with that unusual approach. . .although the comics and T.V. series were supposed to be right alongside each other, the writers of the comic were SEVERELY restricted in what characters from the T.V. show could appear. Therefore, appearances by series regulars (such as Skinner, The Cigarette Smoking Man, and The Lone Gunmen) were little more than cameos.- read more
Let's get this out of the way first. . .I'm a huge X-Files fan. I'm even going to step outside of the box of nerdly comfort and openly declare that I even like the seasons with Agent John Dogget. Yeah. . .I said it. Not every episode was great. I'll admit that there are some that are nothing but filler and "Monster of the Week", but when the show hit the mark, it NAILED it dead center.
But THAT'S the T.V. show. I'm here to talk about comics. In particular, the 41 issue Topps run from 1995 to 1998, which coincided with the 2nd through 5th season of the T.V. show. So let's get to it, shall we?
Before we get to the main ongoing series, let's start off with 4 "special" one-shot issues that precede the first issue: -2 (reprinting stories from X-Files Magazine), -1 (polybagged with Hero Illustrated), #0 (adapting the pilot episode of the T.V. show) and #1/2 (A Wizard Magazine mail in offer).- read more
Short version. This one was bad.
I love the X-Files. I have the whole Topps run, as well as the entire T.V. series (good and bad) on DVD. I love 30 Days of Night. I have the original series signed by Steve Niles, as well as the movie (which I consider one of the few successful non-superhero comic movies). It would SEEM that the two properties would be a sweet fit for each other.
But. . .
This first issue makes me wonder if X-Files and 30 Days of Night sounds better as an idea than as an actual thing.
FBI Agents Scully and Mulder find themselves in Alaska investigating 16 beheaded bodies drained of blood and hung 40 feet in the air on a pole. Also on the case, believing it to be a serial killer he's been tracking is an old rival of Mulder's, Agent Daniel "Frenchy" French.
Niles is usually a good writer, but the dialogue seems stilted and unnatural. The art isn't doing the story any favors either. The covers are OUTSTANDING for the entire series (Especially the Sam Kieth variant for the first issue), but the interior art is pretty bad. Scully looks nothing like her T.V. counterpart and Mulder bears only the slightest resemblance. It's a fairly big fail if you're going to do a licensed property and can't get the likenesses at least halfway there.
In my opinion, this first issue is a dud. Good concept. Bad writing. Bad art.
5 more issues to go. God, I hope it gets better. . .
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