Review: “The X-Files Year Zero” #1

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While hunting a shape-shifting black leopard, Agents Mulder and Scully are assisted by a tip from the mysterious “Mr. Zero”.  Mulder notes some striking similarities to the first on record X-File which happens to involve animals attacks, a disgraced FBI agent teaming up with a disrespected female agent, and an enigmatic “Mr. Xero” in 1946.  Thus begins the cross-generational five issue miniseries “X-Files: Year Zero”.  Fans rejoice.

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WRITTEN BY: Karl Kessel
ART BY: Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra
PUBLISHER: IDW
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: July 16, 2014

Reviewed By Epic Switzer

Two disclosures:  First of all while I love The X-Files tv series I haven’t been reading the season 10 continuation and secondly I tend to stay away from licensed comics. To me they tend to feel both inauthentic and inconsequential (unless they are canonical like the current drool-worthy Serenity series) so I was biased against this book before I started it.  Having said that I did actually enjoy reading it.  Connecting the two time lines is an interesting convention and there is enough mystery in both to create something that feels both fresh and true to the original series.  This is going to be an obvious case of a “If you are a fan, you’ll like it” review but the good news is there is really nothing to dislike about it.  This book is pretty strong from beginning to end.

Despite my personal feelings of licensed comics being a cash in, as a fan I can’t help but feel nostalgia seeing Mulder and Scully investigating cat people together.  Their interplay is true enough, and it is pretty funny to hear them use and discuss modern technology like google and texting, appropriate as the show was always known to have the first fan base to embrace the internet and social media.  I would have loved to see Mulder texting on his infamous giant cellphone, but I digress.

The 1946 team are meant to be parallels of Mulder and Scully but socially appropriate to the time period.  I think this is a really interesting idea and in fact I would really love to see a mid-century X-Files show, so major points for a clever concept.  In the first issue the present day team is used to bookend the 1946 narrative but I hope in future issues there is some flipping back and forth.  I think it will help the pacing a lot, as I felt this book kind of dragged in the middle.

There is nothing wrong with this book, but there also isn’t really anything special.  Creating in an established universe can be difficult as well as rewarding for the creators, but personally like with all licensed comics I found myself not really excited to keep reading.  If you a hungry for more X-Files this series won’t betray you. Otherwise you’re better off reading something new.

Epic Switzer AKA Eric is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles.  His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality.  He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at ericswitzerfilm@gmail.com

Official Score