Subway Shorts – September 3, 2016

Just one book telling two stories this week as we head back to the 1970s to see how a couple of iconic sci-fi TV characters got their starts, in IDW’s X-Files: Origins.

X-Files: Origins 1
Written by Jody Houser and Matthew Dow Smith
Art by Chris Fenoglio and Corin Howell

With the popularity of the new Netflix series “Stranger Things,” which harkens back to a lot of what made the X-Files popular back in the 1990s, crafting a story about young Fox Mulder and Dana Scully really is a no-brainer.

No, we don’t have some sort of alternate reality where Mulder and Scully are grade school friends and classmates. The book is presented in a flipbook format, with half the book following Mulder getting caught up in a mystery with his friends on Cape Cod while Scully is over in California, where her Sunday School teacher has been murdered.

Fenoglio and Howell’s art might not be what one would expect from an X-Files comic. It’s not moody and atmospheric. I think it can be described, in fact, as the Saturday morning cartoon versions of the X-Files, especially on Mulder’s side of the issue.

With the different art style, Houser and Smith needed to establish that we are in fact inside the world of the X-Files, and they do so masterfully in the opening sequence, as a young Mulder goes over the police report from the night of his sister’s abduction, a seminal moment from the TV series. Doing that was a brilliant move, as it instantly evoked the character and put David Duchovny’s voice in my head as I was reading the issue.

Scully’s side of things felt a bit more formulaic, but the stakes are higher right off the bat. Whatever Mulder and his friends happened upon on that Cape Cod beach, as far as we know, no one is dead and government agents don’t seem to be after Mulder and his family specifically, as they are for Scully on the naval base where her dad just became a rear admiral.

So now, I’m mostly curious to see if the shady conspiracies on either side of the country have anything to do with each other. Also, I may need to binge watch X-Files on Netflix.