X-Files/30 Days of Night #1

After the six-issue mini-series Wildstorm published in late 2008/early 2009, I was wondering if they would do another "X-Files" comic, but the announcement that it would be a crossover series with IDW's "30 Days of Night" was surprising. Despite the initial surprise, the two properties seemed like a good fit once I stopped and thought about it. Mulder and Scully heading for Alaska to investigate the activities of vampires sounds like a pretty solid hook for another six-issue "X-Files" book and the first issue sets the two sides on a collision course well.

Not much happens in this issue aside from some dead bodies turning up in an unusual fashion and the duo of Mulder and Scully being tasked to Alaska to investigate. The issue is framed by narration focusing on a snowplow driver who discovers a mass of wrecked vehicles, a pile of headless bodies, and those heads stuck atop a giant pole. It's got that two-minute teaser feel to it as if it were beginning an episode of the show, taking us to the first commercial break. As with any episode, the first act isn't too exciting, mostly establishing what happened and that our main characters know what's what.

In addition to establishing the case, Steve Niles and Adam Jones also set up a conflict with another pair of FBI agents who think that the culprit of the murders is a serial killer they've been tracking up the west coast. That adds an extra level of tension to the case that should pay off in future issues.

The biggest problem some readers may have is that this issue is written very much like the teaser and first act of an episode of "The X-Files" with very little that makes it stand out as a "30 Days of Night" comic. There are obvious hints at where that property will come into play in this story, but it's clear which of the two properties is the headliner in this series.

Tom Mandrake is an inspired choice for the art since he's got a strong, messy style naturally suited to horror comics, but also has the chops to draw Mulder and Scully so they look like Duchovny and Anderson without either looking like they were copied from photos. The art isn't polished, but that messy quality establishes the mood of a dark, blizzardy Alaskan night. There's a sense of dread throughout the issue, like anything could just pop out of the darkness at any given moment.

Only the introduction to the story, "X-Files/30 Days of Night" #1 sets up the presence of vampires and the reason for Mulder and Scully to be around. With five issues left, both sets of fans should be pleased when the two parties cross paths.

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