The X-Files Annual 2016 #1

The X-Files Annual 2016 #1: “Illegal Aliens”

Writer: Andrew Aydin
Artist: Greg Scott
Cover Artist: Carlos Valenzuela
Colorist: Wes Daioba
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Publisher: IDW

Review by Anelise Farris

Xfiles CoverI have The X-Files “I Want to Believe” poster framed and hanging in my house. I have a cat named Scully, and I have a dog named Mulder. You might say, I’m a fan of The X-Files. And, from reading The X-Files Annual 2016 #1, it is evident that Andrew Aydin and the team behind the comic are huge fans too.

Although this is a self-contained comic, the story revolves around a case involving a familiar character: Eric Hosteen. Hosteen is a Native American from New Mexico, and he and his family feature in several episodes from seasons 2 and 3 of the television show. Here, however, Aydin spins a new tale: Albert Hosteen, Eric’s son, has gone missing, and Scully and Mulder are the only feds that Eric trusts to help find him. As with any X-files episode, however, Mulder and Scully quickly realize that this is more than just a missing persons case.

First, let’s talk about the gorgeous cover by Carlos Valenzuela. When I first laid my eyes upon it, my immediate thought was that I need this framed. Unfortunately, I just have to settle for it being my desktop background for now. Anyhow, this is an artist that knows Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson)—the details are perfect (just look at the arch of Scully’s eyebrow!), and the coloring is otherworldly in the best way possible. The cover is certainly not where this ends though, as the art throughout the comic is fantastic. Artist Greg Scott and colorist Wes Daioba portray the eerie, magical bareness of the desert, and they manage to effectively capture the personalities of Scully (the stern jawline!) and Mulder (his teasing eyes!) in their expressions and body language. There is also a lot of interesting shadowing and cross-hatching throughout the comic. The work of letterer Dezi Sienty also deserves some praise; the speech balloons are well-placed, and I like the thought Sienty gave to changing the balloon borders to indicate who is talking during phone conversations when we only see one character.

Onto the writing! As I said, this is a team that not only knows The X-files, but also loves it. Aydin’s writing is spot on; I could hear the dialogue throughout the comic, especially the scenes of playful banter between Mulder and Scully. In moments of heightened danger, such as aimlessly wandering through the desert, it should surprise no one familiar with the show that Mulder would be joking about step counts and Uber. This is what we expect of Mulder, and this is why we love him.

The Verdict
Buy it!
Longtime fans of the show will appreciate the love for The X-Files that radiates throughout this comic. And, this is a quick read; the panels flow seamlessly just like a great episode—so, even if you aren’t a fan of comics (yet!) but a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy it. Also, as mentioned above, this is a stand-alone piece, so even if you aren’t familiar with The X-Files, and you are just looking for a good sci-fi comic, this is one to get. Fair warning though: whether you are familiar with Mulder and Scully or completely new to The X-Files, reading this comic will make you want to curl up on the couch, turn on the TV, and hang out with everyone’s favorite feds.

Anelise Farris
farranel@isu.edu
I'm a doctor that specializes in folklore and mythology, speculative fiction, and disability studies. Basically, I'm a professional geek. When not researching or teaching, I read; I write; I yoga; I travel; I play with my fur babies; and, I watch way too many (if that's a thing) horror movies.

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