Review: The X-Files Xmas Special 2015

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Author: Joe Harris

Illustrator: Matthew Dow Smith

Colours: Jordie Bellaire

Letters: Shawn Lee

Editor: Denton J. Tipton

Executive Producer: Chris Carter

Publisher: IDW


The X-Files makes its highly anticipated return, after years of being in absentia, via The X-Files Xmas Special 2015 , welcome news to many hardcore fans worldwide – but much change has taken place since the last sighting of Mulder and Scully.

Christmas Eve may seem like a strange time to return, but as seen here, and many times before, strange events don’t have a schedule. The first in a new series – more coming soon – The X-Files Xmas Special opens on an unidentified voice, presumably alien, narrating a strange event in the lead-up to Christmas, with an unexpected gift being left outside the caravan of a group of hideaways, one of them a Santa for whom Christmas spirit is somewhat lacking.

The gift, they conclude, is a device which was originally an innocuous toy which was withdrawn by the government due to its hacking abilities; they try to draw out the code contained within but two of them are suddenly abducted. Cut to the return of Mulder – from space – who was the only survivor aboard the shuttle and swiftly whisked away, just before Scully shows up to investigate the mystery. Mulder reckons it’s something to do with the “alien rebels” who now pose as much of a threat (if not more) as the human conspiracies which Mulder spent so much time fighting. Whatever it is, we won’t find out anytime soon…

Originally being a TV show, the illustration is best kept true to life, and to the show, which it is here. The characters are recognisable as their TV counterparts, making it easier for the reader to enter the flow of the story. One thing which has not been done before, and which is introduced here, is the alien narrator, who describes the human race as being in denial, and unwilling to comprehend the obvious, but cites Scully as an exception, “naturally skeptic with a scientist’s poise” and also “intrinsically aware”, yet even Scully cannot fully fathom the mysteries which drove Mulder into hiding and which are about to unfold soon, which is implied strongly by the narrative voice. It is also telling that a seemingly innocuous toy – the “commander crunch whistle” – has come to be the key to unlocking the mystery, because it would have been rendered obsolete in its ability to hack into phone communication anyway with the rise of the digital age, but it is still clearly seen as a threat by someone. In any case, it is clear that time has formed a gulf between Mulder and Scully, which makes their eventual reunion all the more significant, even if we are informed that more trials and tribulations are soon to come.

The X-Files always thrived on mystery and the unknown, so in this sense the first comic of the new series remains in familiar territory, only serving to make the reader guess what is to come. Certainly the forthcoming revived TV show will draw in many left in suspense as to the fate of both agents, and as yet it’s unclear to what extent the comic and the TV show will tie in. The story re-opens on a much-changed world – politically, socially and technologically – so it will be interesting to see how Mulder and Scully operate, and collaborate, in this unknown era. The challenges they will soon face are sure to be as strange (if not more) as ever before.