Scully and Mulder travel to New Mexico to help out an old friend in this year’s awesome, extra sized “X-Files” annual. Read on for our review but be warned, there are some slight spoilers in this review.
Written by Andrew Aydin
Illustrated by Greg Scott and Wes Dzioba
Mulder uncovers rumors that the Jade Helm 15 exercises were a smokescreen for a shadow-government group to rendezvous with aliens. Mulder and Scully follow the trail to Mesa Verde in southern Colorado, where they meet skeptical natives and a man who believes he’s an alien, on their way to finding the truth.
As Multiversity’s resident “The X-Files” fanatic, it should come as no shock that I’m back in the saddle again to talk about what’s going on in IDW’s long running continuation of the beloved TV series. “The X-Files” is one of the most consistently good licensed properties going in comic books and this week marks the release of the 2016 annual. Written by Andrew Aydin with art by Greg Scott and colors by Wes Dzioba, “The X-Files” Annual 2016 is a very fun, standalone case that is an homage to the past and really enjoyable for long time fans.
“The X-Files” Annual 2016 sees Mulder and Scully called in on a personal cast. Eric Hosteen, the son of Albert Hosteen (he helped them decipher files that led to a WHOLE thing I don’t have time to go into here) needs helping finding his missing son. Al has gone missing in the desert and when Mulder and Scully arrive, they are aided by a man who claims to be an alien.
From the first couple pages, I found myself all in on this issue. It begins with Mulder getting deep into arguments on message boards about government conspiracies. It’s from here that you know Aydin has a grasp on this character in a meaningful sense. Aydin’s script is so much fun as he gives Mulder and Scully a break from the seriousness of the main series. This isn’t a dig by any means at the core of the book but “The X-Files” needs these breaks because it gives the characters space to develop. Aydin writes a playful Mulder and Scully because in their years together, they’ve become this way with each other. Mulder’s belief is also tested here as he grows a bit disillusioned with modern conspiracies. In helping Eric Hosteen and meeting this man who claims to be more than he is, Mulder and Scully get to visit their past and get their cynicism in check a bit.
Greg Scott, to my knowledge, hasn’t done a full issue of “The X-Files” before and he definitely brings something different to the table compared to regular artist Matthew Dow Smith. Scott’s art is much less moody. He doesn’t bring a darker almost crime noir vibe to the story, instead he takes an almost action/adventure approach. His renderings of stars Gilian Anderson and David Duchovny are in line with what they look like now. He brings the right amount of age and maturity to their looks and keeps them the center of attention even in bigger crowd scenes. What really works about his art are Scully and Mulder’s facial expressions. If you watch even a handful of episodes of the show, you’ll notice how these two look at each other. With the script being full of funny moments, there’s electricity in how they look at each other. Scott nails Scully’s side eye and Mulder’s playful spirit in a really nice way that pairs well with this story.
Scott’s work on the setting doesn’t quite capture the magic of the desert but I really like his use of it. It feels like the characters are existing in this place and it’s not simply a backdrop. Dzioba’s colors also do some different things than what we see in the series usually and that’s it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s isn’t a lot of playing with tone or shadows like Bellaire (but she’s one of the best ever) but Dzioba does a really nice job at establishing a bit more comedic and hopeful spirit.Continued below
The downfall of this annual is that it’s $8. It’s a lot to ask from even regular readers to put out for a story that doesn’t add anything to the bigger story happening. It’s a really fun issue but it’s a tough sell but if you’re longing for something a bit more fun in the “X-Files” universe, then this is what you need.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – Very hefty price tag but very enjoyable regardless.