For writer Joe Harris and artist Michael Walsh, the task of delivering a new “X-Files” comic — an “official” continuation of the series, no less — must have seemed daunting. Although interest in the property is far below its peak, Mulder and Scully remain embedded in the collective psyche. It’d be hard enough to do an “X-Files” comic that lives up to the memory of them at all. No one would criticize a creative team tasked with moving the characters on if they turned the assignment down.
Against those odds, “X-Files Season 10” #1 turns out to be a surprisingly good read. Harris’ introduction to the characters and their situation is on-point, containing only the information necessary to establish the current story, avoiding a lot of needless exposition that would’ve been easy to insert. As a result, readers are quickly brought up to speed with who the characters are, what their current situation is and what they’re doing now, allowing the plot to get rapidly under way.
The plot itself is maybe a little weaker than the general craft, though. Harris and original series showrunner Chris Carter appear to have avoided jumping straight back into the series mythology (a wise decision, if true) but this leaves the threat feeling a little generic. Like the sort of “X-Files” episode you might skip if you were rewatching the series. There are hints that it ties into at least one larger plot point from the TV series, but understandably, it’s not quite ready to dredge all of that up yet and instead focuses on the immediate threat.
Where Harris and Walsh have succeeded is in the series’ general tone. Mulder’s introduction in particular feels straight out of the TV series, and similarly, the threat in the story doesn’t violate the reality established by the TV series by going too overtly supernatural or over the top. With licensed comics there can be a tendency to forget that “no budget” doesn’t mean “no limits,” and “X-Files Season 10” remains comfortably within the boundaries of the “X-Files'” world.
Artistically, Walsh is an interesting choice. Licensed titles often favour artists who can produce a good likeness over strong storytelling, but Walsh’s minimalist style manages to deliver both. His framing of scenes perfectly evokes the tense, claustrophobic feel that the TV series tended to aim for, while the characters are instantly recognisable. It’s easy to love.
There’s definitely room for improvement, but it’s also much better than you’d expect based on the results of similar projects. Harris can particularly be praised for getting straight into a story, rather than spending an entire issue on introduction and scene-setting. As long as he manages to avoid getting dragged too quickly into the convoluted series mythology, this series might just be a winner.