Thursday, December 25, 2014

Review - The X-Files X-Mas Special #1


"Why would you want to take a dip anywhere, Scully? It's freezing outside."

What do The X-Files and X-Mas have in common? Well, the X is a dead giveaway, but what about the implications of that X? Implications such as crossover. Implications that IDW Entertainment is more than happy to make in The X-Files X-Mas Special #1. "Season 10 Greetings" is written by Joe Harris, illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith, colored by Jordie Bellaire and lettered by Shawn Lee. "Merry Christmas, Comrade!" is written by Karl Kesel, illustrated by Loston Wallace, colored by Matheus Lopes and lettered by Lee.

The holidays have brought together all the X-Files agents for the very first time. Walter Skinner hosts a get-together for his most special agents, but the festive night turns tense when someone—or something—comes down the chimney. In a second story, the X-Files team of the 1940s—Bing Ellington and Millie Ohio from the Year Zero miniseries—investigate a potential Communist saboteur, but discover an impossible creature—a gremlin.

X-Files thrives on mixing in the unknown with the known and The X-Files X-Mas Special #1 keeps up those appearances in the delightfully charming way that The X-Files can be at times. Both stories don't really delve too deeply into the conspiracy side of things, as Harris' script is more of a family reunion where the sky isn't necessarily falling and Kesel's story does feature the sky falling, but in the familiar X-Files tone. Each story revolves around Christmas and does a great job infusing the holiday with the mythos of the property, relying on established icons in Santa Claus and Krampus to serve as a focal point for their "investigations." The pacing of each feels a little hurried, but to be fair it seems as if each story is almost an entire episode crammed into twenty-two pages.

The art in both "Season 10 Greetings" and "Merry Christmas, Comarade!" bears a newspaper strip finish that enables the stories to feel as if they've always been part of the history of The X-Files. Mulder and Scully are easily recognizable in the first story, as Smith manages to depict them as such despite an abundance of heavy shading by Bellaire. Bellaire does manage to pop in a great mix of contrasting colors to make the book feel bold, even if the colors are a bit starker. Wallace's portrayal of a gremlin in "Merry Christmas, Comrade!" is fierce and savage, offering a character who definitely stands out in comparison to the real people trying to catch him. Lopes' colors feel a bit more washed out when compared to Bellaire's, but they work exceptionally well considering the time frame of the story.

The X-Files X-Mas Special #1 is pretty much what you'd expect it to be: classic Christmas concepts perverted in a way that only The X-Files knows how to do. "Season 10 Greetings" and "Merry Christmas, Comarade!" give readers a great glimpse into the festivities surrounding everyone's favorite characters from the series, even if their holidays are celebrated slightly differently than everyone else's. Harris and Kesel know what makes that universe tick and have really nailed the relationships amongst all the characters (plus, it's great to see The Smoking Man get exactly what he wants for Christmas considering what he "suffers" through earlier in the story). Smith and Wallace illustrate the book in a way that doesn't alienate the reader who's familiar with the appearances of the characters in The X-Files. Overall, The X-Files X-Mas Special #1 is a great nod to fans of the show who want to see Mulder and Scully spread some holiday cheer.

The X-Files X-Mas Special #1 is in stores now with interiors below.





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