Tony Black reviews The X-Files: Origins #3…
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!
We close in on the end of The X-Files: Origins with this penultimate issue from Jody Houser & writer/artist Matthew Dow Smith, and like never before they’re reeling in the story threads while focusing on the continued youthful character development of Agents Mulder & Scully in a fun, satisfying way. The issue is bright & colourful without the writing being twee or child-friendly, rather consistently remaining true to these characters while widening the mythos; and if this issue is anything to go by, they’ve got a great finale on the horizon.
After discovering in the previous issue that his friend Eric’s Dad may be involved in the conspiracy to hide whatever’s happening in the woods, young Mulder is galvanized to continue putting the pieces together. Houser does a great job here of connecting to existing tropes and traits in The X-Files, such as Mulder using a tape recorder to soliloquies his inner monologue, try and make those connections (plus ‘aliens and junk’ has to be a nod to Seth Green in ‘Deep Throat’), while having Eric facing the possibility his Dad may not be the man he thinks is excellent foreshadowing for Mulder’s own journey of family self-discovery when he’s older. Not a great deal happens in terms of plot, with the mystery girl cropping up again & the story more about Mulder’s interaction with his friends, but the piece ends on an interesting cliffhanger which entices you for the final part.
A few years later on the other side of the country, young Scully is operating on the flip side of Mulder in more ways than she can possibly know at this stage; Dow Smith enjoys having Scully’s inner monologue emerge through her notebook scribblings while also referencing a multitude of sleuths she looks up to, though admits she’s missing her ‘Sherlock’ to put the pieces together. Overall this issue has had more foreshadowing of the future partnership of these children than anything yet, and as Dow Smith throws in even more winks to the show (one I caught was ‘Manners Ave’ for instance), this time he directly connects Scully’s murder investigation into Mulder’s search for aliens – with Admiral Scully effectively the ‘Mulder’ being given information by a surprising source. It means we’re slightly ahead of Scully at this stage, but it sets up a final issue which may tether together their youthful searching for themselves amongst crime and mystery in a way I didn’t expect this series to do.
This might be favourite X-Files: Origins issue yet, and let’s face it they’ve all been top quality; a real blend of continued development for our teenage Mulder & Scully as events begin shaping who they are as young people, mixed with a light blend of conspiracy and intrigue while fits in the brighter, bolder and more colourful texture of the panels. The only downside, frankly, is that we only have one more issue left before the curtain comes down and, hopefully, secrets are revealed.