With IDW currently getting it so right with their X-Files series, they’ve also taken to reprinting older stories from the Topps Comics run from the mid-90s. While not truly bad comics, they show how far we’ve came and how lucky we are that someone is finally getting it right.
Covering issues 20-29 of the original series, these stories just don’t feel or look like X-Files. Instead, they could be any generic horror shorts. A demonic, soul-stealing camera, a ghostly stranger and other entities are investigated by Mulder and Scully, but it could be anyone in the trench coats.
Neither Kevin J. Anderson not John Rozum have a particularly good grasp on the lead’s voices or personalities, with the dialogue coming across as bland chat most of the time. The art fares little better, with Gordon Purcell’s run of the mill layouts and character designs really letting the side down. Rarely do Mulder or Scully look anything like themselves, save for the occasional shoehorned-in photo reference, which jars and only serves to make the other panels stand out all the worse.
Things improve with the addition of a young Charles Adlard, years before The Walking Dead. His art is a marked improvement, nailing the likenesses more often and bringing at least a sense of menace and horror that Purcell couldn’t manage.
Typically for it’s time, it’s the colouring that really kills this collection. Bright, flat colours abound, drenching every panel in a four-colour atmosphere killer. It was fine back in the EC days, but for a show that relied on washed-out tones and shadows so often, The X-Files wasn’t well-served by Topps’ colouring department.
If these weren’t X-Files comics, they’d get a slightly higher mark, but they are and as such they fail in their reason for being. Stick to Season 10.
INTERIOR ARTWORK PREVIEW
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The writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle