Tony Black reviews The X-Files: Origins #2…
Before the FBI, before the X-Files, they were just two teenagers in search of the truth. On Martha’s Vineyard, a young Fox Mulder investigates something strange happening on the island, while in San Diego, 13-year-old Dana Scully looks into the shocking murder of her teacher. Two kids, two mysteries, one conspiracy that threatens the future of humanity.
The second part of this mini-series exploring the youthful adventures of future FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, sees the intrepid duo in different lives across different years both beginning to grow more immersed in the mysterious cases they face in The X-Files: Origins. Matthew Dow Smith and Jody Houser continue to craft very distinct journeys for Mulder and Scully which fit both of their characters and natures, and here begin to thicken the plot; as Mulder begins to corrupt his best friends in his search for answers involving spooky woods and hidden lights in the sky, Scully must balance her understanding of faith with honouring the meaning of her Sunday school teacher’s death. It’s already a journey befitting them both.
If you buy the print editions of these comics, you’ll see IDW have taken the fun tactic of flipping the two issues in one, so you have to turn to the back, flip the book around, and start again to read either Mulder or Scully’s adventure – it’s not just a gimmick, it actually allows you to see the separation at this point; these two are never going to cross paths (or so it appears), and this gives Dow Smith & Houser the freedom to let them become immersed in their own personalised stories. For Scully, it’s all about doing the right thing – the San Diego detectives, circa 1977, appear to not be interested in the murder of Mr Wilson, and at the behest of a rather mysterious new best friend called Mercy, young Dana takes up the investigative charge herself and seems to start unravelling a deeper mystery. Along the way, we get nice moments written well by Dow Smith, such as Scully seeking her father William’s counsel, which add flesh to her early years.
For Scully, it’s all about doing the right thing – the San Diego detectives, circa 1977, appear to not be interested in the murder of Mr Wilson, and at the behest of a rather mysterious new best friend called Mercy, young Dana takes up the investigative charge herself and seems to start unravelling a deeper mystery. Along the way, we get nice moments written well by Dow Smith, such as Scully seeking her father William’s counsel, which add flesh to her early years, not to mention introducing her journaling which carries through nicely into the series as a whole.
Three years earlier, in 1974 over in Martha’s Vineyard, Mulder is becoming increasingly obsessed with the mysterious amphibian men who popped out of the water after a possible UFO sighting, and incurs the wrath of father Bill who doesn’t want him getting up to no good with his friends. Mulder, in typical fashion, can’t leave it alone however, especially when a mysterious girl in the woods (who looks awfully like Scully’s friend Mercy, come to think about it…) leads him to a piece of evidence which seems to tie in with the alien mythology he will later expose – UFO pieces, green alien slime. Houser nods to some lovely X-Files elements there as Mulder has no idea, like Scully, there are forces behind the scenes unhappy at what this meddling kid is getting involved in.
Much like the first issue, The X-Files: Origins continues to impress as a piece of history in the lives of the iconic Mulder & Scully which fits tonally, coupled with some bright and expressive artwork from Dow Smith, while telling an interesting and mysterious story that, in proper X-Files tradition, is throwing up a range of intriguing questions it’ll be fun exploring the answers to. It’s still in the set up phase, moving pieces on the board, but it balances great character work while immersing us into the mystery our duo look set to uncover.