When The X-Files: Conspiracy #1 - Part 1 and its following companions were announced, I have to admit to being worried. Seriously, I’m being honest here. I know it’s not the first time that the X-Files universe has collided with other franchises or even other shows, but it’s probably the first time that it was lined up to realms that were so different from the universe created by Chris Carter.
And perhaps that’s the thing; aside from the previous Thirty Days of Night crossover, the instances where X-Files had mixed with other “breeds” happened to be events where the other mate was also 1013 property.
Now, don’t get confused; these new issues do not belong in the same universe as The X-Files: Season 10, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not pulling all the stops to dive into the X-Files world in a novel way.
Having said that, I’ve given this new series a go with an open mind, and so should you. Here’s the storyline, as comprised as I could provide:
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
The Lone Gunmen have received an encrypted file from CERN that shows alarming newspaper headlines from future editions of various recognized trades. In these you can see hints to the announced crossover properties - such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters – One of the titles announces the very weird and gory crime scene where Mulder and Scully have coincidentally been called to: Forty-three tenants of a residential building have been found dead in a daunting and bloody scene that suggests a contagion.
When the boys come to Mulder alarmed by the nature of the encrypted messages they’ve received, he makes light of the Gunmen’s usual paranoia and the nature of the headlines, until he recognizes his crime scene in one of the pictures and decides it’s worth a look further into it.
The Lone Gunmen quickly find that this knowledge has put them in great danger as members of Skylogic Systems, an organization mentioned in these headlines, give chase on them, ending in a deadly car chase.
In the mean time, Scully has found that the diseased tenants were infected with a manufactured virus that could point to bioterrorism and rushes to get the CDC involved to try and find a cure; although unless they find the original strand coming up with an antidote will be a hard task.
Mulder argues with the gunmen that perhaps these files have a clue to finding the cure to this virus, and they decide to head over to New York City, where they might find the “Ghostbusters” – a featured headline in one of the trades they received - and see what they can put together in the way of a clue. Their success is a must as another of the files finishes its decryption and it announces that two million people will soon die from the bioterrorism threat.
I am very intrigued by the script, and actually curious as to how they will tie in all the elements to work for the story line. Like I said, this is to be approached with an open mind. I’d say that this series will be a lot easier for you to enjoy if you were at some point prone to shows like the original Gunmen’s TV series; the mix that’s a bit more of the outrageous and doesn’t take itself too seriously, opening doors to other realms that work in terms of narrative.
I think Paul Crilley nails the banter between all the characters, with the right amount of humor and a good grasp on what makes each of them who they are. Right now, I feel inside the world of these characters, even though I know that other “unnatural” players are about to come in. The base story relies a lot on science and current events; this should be appealing to more than half of the target population for this series, calling out to topics such as the presence of Wikileaks. But don’t worry, it doesn’t become an overpowering thread that might turn other readers away, and that’s quite important. The gore aspect that comes with the presence of the bioterrorism attack is just enough to make you cringe; in a good way, in a classic X-Files way.
While the script was pleasing to me, I wish I could say the same about the Art. Now, don’t get me wrong; I think John Stanisci delivered a well-executed work in its own style. He brought a very familiar Mulder and Scully, but for me it didn’t quite grasp who we identify as The Lone Gunmen, and actually was something that took me out of the comic a few times. The visual language works well. It tells the story effectively and complements what’s not in blatant dialogue, which I’m grateful for, though I wish a bit more detail could have been paid to things like the color of Scully’s eyes, which are not the signature blue that every fan remembers her for.
The Cover Art was impeccable in my opinion. I’m a sucker for Carlos Valenzuela’s work and his Hastings Exclusive cover is quite refined, making me wonder if he’s giving a nod to the Forties’ inspired cover he created for The X-Files: Season 10 series. I can see myself becoming a fan of Andrew Currie, Miram Kim and Joe Corroney very fast too, as they delivered the rest of the covers very imaginative works that comprise the spirit of this series quite well, giving them a fun twist that doesn’t let us forget who these characters are at heart.
I’m looking forward to the next issue, The X-Files: Conspiracy #1/Ghostbusters - Part 2, also set to be released this month. Do yourself a favor and order these from your local retailer ahead of time, subscribe to receive the special Glow-in-the-Dark variations, and most especially support the small business owners in your city and IDW in their task to revive properties that we all love.