We've been waiting for The X-Files Annual 2014 #1 with bated breath since it was first announced, and me, even more so than usual because of the people involved which are some of my favorites in the world of writing. Having had the experience with Spotnitz' Wildstrom comics and Rotter's previously published works (The Human Bobby, Duck Duck Wally), I have to admit to having great expectations for this issue.

Spoilers ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of The X-Files: Conspiracy #2, IDW marks the end of this year’s crossover event that put us on a very entertaining journey, visiting the realities of The X-Files and Lone Gunmen, The Crow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and Ghostbusters.

The issue released today brings the story that began in January 2014 full circle, to where the Lone Gunmen received information from the future that a deadly virus would be making its way around to wipe out all of mankind. Their search for the truth and a cure not only involved the help of Mulder and Scully, but also scattered clues throughout the realities of the five franchises that crossed the tale.

Conspiracy #2 continues the jovial tone that this event has carried in the previous issues, but feels sturdier than the rest. It mixed effectively both the wrap-up of the story while also giving space to moments that are key to the characters.

 

 

 

Up until now, I’ve been enjoying the bi-weekly releases for The X-Files: Conspiracy without a pressing need to get the story to end. It kept building and building and I was fine with that because I know that some kind of resolution was coming soon. And that moment might soon be approaching.

In the latest edition of this crossover, The Lone Gunmen cross ways with The Crow, and while I’m not a gigantic fan of the lore, it is part of my filmmaking education from back in the day.

Starting my read of this issue made me realize how nothing is gratuitous in this collection; the story comes full circle with one of the scenes that we enjoyed in the first issue and suddenly a lot of things now make more complete sense. As I said, and trying to be the least explicit as I can, resolution is near, or so we are led to believe.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

 

 

This month’s new issue of The X-Files: Season 10 breaks away from the usual narrative style that we’ve enjoyed in the past nine releases. This time around, Joe Harris delivers a look into the life of the enigmatic CGB Spender and some of his pivotal moments in the universe of The X-Files.

“More Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man” presents us with vignettes that are quite illustrative of how this man became the dark and mysterious nemesis to Fox Mulder’s quest. His partnership with William Mulder, the tumultuous relationships with the women in his life, and the nature of the operations that he carried out for the US government and beyond are exposed for our delight, giving us a glimpse into how interesting it would be to have a prequel that delves into the early days of the Syndicate.

Is not a naive narrative, it’s mature and dark at times but well justified.

This tenth issue is a milestone into building the overall story that Harris intends to tell throughout The X-Files: Season 10, cementing what I’m sure will be a useful reference to the many episodes to come in this saga. Refreshing and challenging, “More Musings…” is not only great because of the almost “Auteur Cinema” storytelling, but also because of the breathtaking style that menton3 brought to this edition.

What I appreciate about the risks that this team is taking is that it’s subjecting us to different ways to tell the story. It won’t always be the MOTW format; true to the X-Files fashion, the arc of the conspiracies that made this franchise famous will grow with time, feeding us with important pieces of a master puzzle.

In this case, while it might prove hard for some to get every ounce of information on a simple first read, it seems appropriate to transport us via the conceptual art that illustrated this issue to the mental state that has often been part of the DNA of the character of the Smoking Man. Achieving this, in this media, is a challenge that they’re taking seriously every week, and you should see this collection as a road that keeps on growing and extending before us.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way that American and International history and politics come to be part of the story, as a way to give us reference to the elements that have fed this conspiracy for years, since Chris Carter imagined it. In a time when we have so much turmoil in the world, it is notable how historic moments have reflected our nature as a society. It’s not a simple and done deal; this reality has tendrils that extend and tangle making it palpable for the curious, and quite educational for the younger minds.

The X-Files: Season 10 #10 - “More Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man” - Written by Joe Harris, Art by menton3 with Tony Moy, Letters by Robbie Robbins, Edited by Denton J. Tipton and Executive Produced by Chris Carter.

Regular cover by Francesco Francavilla, RI Cover by menton3 and a Photo Subscription cover.

I’ll confess it. There was a moment, back in 1987 when I realized that my brother had a cooler toy than all of the ones I had. I didn’t care for his sports stuff, or his building blocks, but he had gotten an Optimus Prime for Christmas and I was taken by it. The whole idea that a truck could turn into a talking robot and that it wasn’t only on my TV but in my living room was stunning.

I wanted that truck so bad. I still want that truck so bad. I’ve been sort of a tomboy ever since and I love it. I have an enormous love for Back to the Future and I love every movie that has a car chase in it… so when IDW announced The X-Files: Conspiracy series and that it included Transformers, I was immediately hooked.

Warning - SOME spoilers ahead!

I have to confess, too, that I have yet to read any other Transformers comics, but this issue reminded me of how much I love them. Paul Crilley nailed Bumblebee’s sense of humor and Optimus’ fatherly nature, and explained their universe without thoroughly confusing the readers that might have no clue of what a “Decepticon” is. I also believe that in terms of characterization, the Gunmen felt real and true to the universe that has been developed throughout this series. I especially liked the character development that he allowed for Langley and Bumblebee; it raised the stakes and gave motivation to the characters to respond to the situations they were presented. They stole the show.

The story, which I won’t explain in much detail for a change, is simple and it grabs you from the start, moving forward along the path of the Lone Gunmen’s mission: to save us from a virus that might wipe out the US in just one week. I was very pleased with Dheeraj Verma’s work at the pencils, though I still have problems with how Byers’ portrayal turns out in some of these. Don’t get fooled though, this issue has very creative use of the art, with a style that suits the genre like a glove, presenting us with great visuals that supported the storytelling in a clever way and the especially breathtaking colors by Joana Lafuente. I think in terms of the look of this issue, that is the one thing that I couldn’t get enough of. Amazing job.

As it turns out, Frohike, Langley and Byers manage to make a solid team with the amazing alien vehicles, saving Ratchet from the claws of Skylogic Systems, the sinister organization that seems to be behind the whole pandemic. They also find a way to get a sample that will help Scully and the CDC work on a possible vaccine to fight off the impending catastrophe - that is, if a final threat doesn’t stop them. The last few frames set the cliffhanger for next month’s issue, which features The Crow.

XFiles Consp TF-pr-6The issue features with three great covers; the standard one by Miran Kim, a dark subscription cover with art and colors by Dheeraj Verma and Joana Lafuente, respectively, and a third and last RI cover with art by Joe Corroney and colors by Brian Miller of Hi-Fi Studios.

I continue to enjoy the way Conspiracy is being written, though I can understand why this might not be everyone’s cup of tea if you don’t enjoy the comedic tone that may seep through some of the pages. I am very satisfied by this issue though, the fourth out of six in this series, and I’m really looking forward to the next one.

You know the drill: rush over to your local comic store, shop and pre-order. You can also enjoy these via Comixology. In case you might want to drop IDW a line about these comics you can do so at their twitter or even via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About

Created in 2007, we’re the only fan news website authorized by 20th Century Fox to advertise The X-Files franchise since 2008. Know more here.