What would happen if Fox Mulder was abducted by aliens and Samantha Mulder became an F.B.I. agent? That’s what “The X-Files: Deviations” aims to answer this. Read on for our review but be warned, there will be spoilers.
Written by Amy Chu
Illustrated by Silvia Califano and Elena Casagrande
In a world where young Fox Mulder was abducted by aliens and never returned, another Mulder takes up the crusade against deception! Meet Samantha Mulder, a believer who won’t stop until she finds out the truth about her brother!
As Multiversity’s resident X-Files fanatic, it was basically a given that I would review this one shot. Over the course of The X-Files, Fox Mulder was obsessed with aliens but also the disappearance of his sister Samantha. These two things went hand in hand as he was convinced that Samantha was abducted by aliens. His search was for the truth but for a while, that truth was tied to her and the series explored this and then deconstructed it more times than it probably should have.
But what if it had been flipped? What if Samantha wasn’t abducted and Fox was? What if Mulder and Scully was Samantha and Dana? That’s what Amy Chu, Elena Casagrande and Silvia Califano examine in this one shot. For the next few week IDW’s licensed books are going to look at these properties through a different life. Samantha Mulder works on The X-Files (also called Spooky Mulder) but Dana Scully is still assigned to her in the same sense. Together they investigate the same eyewitness reports from people all over the country. Samantha knows something is going on but she has to deal with the still very skeptical Scully.
This may be my own expectations not being met but I was not thrilled with “The X-Files: Deviations” #1. As a one shot, it kind of fails at being a self contained story. One shots should entice us with the prospect of getting more but this issue felt incomplete. It ends on a cliffhanger that may never be resolved and it doesn’t feature enough of this Mulder and Scully relationship. I would have really liked the focus to be more on what Samantha Mulder and Scully are like as partners and less about simply flipping the quest around. It still felt like a Fox Mulder story cause he was still had so much focus. I would have liked to see Samantha and Dana as partners 2 or 3 years into things to see the difference in their relationship compared to Dana and Fox. I think there is something there to investigate so this left me feeling a little empty in that regard.
What I do like about this is that it did try to cover some iconic moments. It featured the first meeting, their first case and it featured the series big bad in a pretty interesting way. The Cigarette Smoking Man still being there to mess with Samantha by using Fox is an intriguing premise and I want to see more. The contrasting views of Samantha and Dana is well established and Chu really has a nice handle on what Scully’s voice sounds like.
Silvia Califano and Elena Casagrande collaborate on art and presumably Casagrande is the one who does the finishes on the pages. I assume this because at the end of the issue we get a brief look at the process and it shows exactly that breakdown. Califano’s designs are very good. She does a really nice job at capturing the likenesses of the actors at this specific time. Dana Scully looks young and the fashion is absolutely the 90’s. Samantha Mulder gave this art team a little room to play around but I really like that her big curly hair is kept and I especially love that she wears pant suits and not the skirt suits that Scully wears. It visually still conveys the Mulder/Scully silhouette which is such a nice touch.
There is a great deal of scenery change through the investigation and Califano and Casagrande are able to do a seamless job at conveying this. It’s a mini tour of the country with varying kinds of people with very distinct designs. The character expressions and they way they move is all very well done with the right angles being used at the correct moments to add the tension the television series was known for. All of this is finished with very clean and not too bold inks by Casagrande. Arianna Florean does a great job with the coloring. It’s definitely got the crime drama feel that the television series had but she doesn’t go too dark. She balances shadows and light in a very effective way and again, really captures the 90’s feel in the clothing.Continued below
All in all, I wanted to like this more but it may have just been my own imagination going wild with what I wanted to see. It’s far from a disaster but it doesn’t entirely work as a single one shot kind of story. However, this is a concept I’d love to see explored more.
Final Verdict: 6.0 – This is a “what if” tale with a ton of potential that just didn’t come together well.