The X-Files: Origins #1 ComicWow! Review

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The X-Files is one of the longest-running sci-fi shows in TV history. In it, FBI agents explore and investigate unexplained cases known as “X-Files.” Conspiracy theorist, Fox Mulder, and realist, Dana Scully, join forces to prove that “THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.” But how did it all start? How did they get into this line of work? How did they meet? What made them want to explain the unexplainable? This series, The X-Files: Origins, shows us just that.

The first half of the issue focuses on Fox Mulder’s childhood. When he was 12, staying home with his little sister, Samantha (8 years old), she disappeared. Despite many attempts to remember what happened, Fox simply couldn’t. While looking for UFOs one night with his friends, they see two men in black going into the woods. The kids don’t want to miss out on the action, so they follow the men. As Fox is running through the woods, he comes across a mega bright light.

The second half of the story is about Dana. She is 13 and has just moved to San Diego, CA from Annapolis, MD. Her Sunday school teacher has just been murdered. No one seems to care but her. When some shady business is going on at her dad’s naval base, Dana is in trouble—as in almost run over by a car trouble. But someone yells to Dana to “look out” as the car comes towards her.

Both stories leave us with cliffhangers, keeping us on the edge of our seats. There is some amazing characterization going on in this issue. With Fox’s character, we can tell that he feels a ton of guilt about his sister’s disappearance (or abduction). Ever since then, he hasn’t been able to let it go. He is a rather reserved kid, keeping busy with books more than any sort of social life he may have. This boy is plagued by remorse and the unknown. To him, any answers—or even hints—would mean the world.

Dana is a pretty straitlaced kid. She doesn’t spend much time on schoolwork, though. She goes to the beach, does what her parents tell her to (she doesn’t have friends), and goes to church. She is a tad oblivious, which may lead to some unsavory events and people taking advantage of her—who knows? Dana is a curious teenager who, at this point, is looking for comfort because of the loss of her teacher. She might stumble on to more than just that, though.

Both Houser and Smith use caption boxes to narrate their stories. Fox’s caption boxes are his thoughts, while Dana’s are her diary entries. Both offer insight into the protagonists’ reactions, feelings, and intentions. This is a great way to share both characters’ personalities.

I’m itching to see how their paths cross. From MA to CA is a long way. I’m curious as to how two different people, in different states, with different problems, will end up being such great partners. I’m not sure if Houser and Smith are going to tell us in this series, but here’s hoping!

Fenoglio’s artwork (Fox’s story) has really clean lines and a very cartoonish feel to it. Even so, he is able to portray the solemn tone and sadness in Samantha’s disappearance. Fox has a very unique look to him, so he’d stand out pretty much anywhere. It only reinforces the idea of him being an outsider. The lack of realism doesn’t take much away from the story, but does make it seem more fantastical than what The X-Files aims for.

Howell’s illustrations (Dana’s story) are animated, just like Fenoglio’s, but the line work is a bit looser. It doesn’t have the same precision as Fox’s story, but it pairs well with Smith’s script. There isn’t much background detail at all; the artwork is simplistic and clever.

This issue is a great read for any The X-Files fan. Serving as a prequel to the series, this series doesn’t require much prior knowledge of the concept to understand it. This series should be really fun to keep up with. Let’s find out just how Mulder and Scully became the unbeatable duo they are!

Written by: Jody Houser & Matthew Dow Smith

Illustrated by: Chris Fenoglio & Corin Howell

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