Tony Black reviews The X-Files: Origins #4…
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!
SEE ALSO: Check out a preview of the issue here
The final part of Matthew Dow Smith & Jody Houser’s comic book prequel to The X-Files draws to a close with issue four of Origins, and while this may have been a one-shot limited series on the face of it, by the conclusion there’s every suggestion that we may not have seen the last of the teenage adventures of Fox Mulder & Dana Scully, years before they ever come to be partners. In this conclusion, Dow Smith & Houser neatly draw to a close the separate investigations of Mulder in 1974 and Scully in 1977, while tangentially tying their threads together and paving the way for a deeper, ongoing narrative which could well connect to the overarching X-Files mythology in a way nobody would have expected. It’s a strong finish which balances intriguing plot elements with that sense of youthful fun this run has exuded in spades.
For Mulder, we see the burgeoning of his investigative passions which go beyond the normal route, as he & his friends continue trying to understand the mystery of what’s happening in the Martha’s Vineyard woods. Even though Mulder appears to be presented with a rational explanation, he refuses to ignore the questions which suggest a deeper level of conspiracy and Houser in her writing really does start to craft that angle in Fox, even at this tender age. Conversely for Scully, she’s coming to approach the detailed, forensic nature of investigation as she hunts for Mr. Wilson’s murder around the police, with mysterious Mercy in tow.
In true X-Files fashion, the truth about Mercy is made apparent by Dow Smith but not to Scully, who takes her own key steps to becoming the kind of investigator we know – the woman who explores every avenue before giving way to the leaps of logic Mulder is starting to craft. They may not have met yet, but already they’re a perfect fit. Around this, shades of deeper storytelling and conspiracy are weaved, with the consistent element of fathers keeping secrets, from Bill Mulder to indeed William Scully. One may question bringing some shade of gray to Admiral Scully’s past, but thematically it fits the overarching themes being presented across the issue, and indeed across the entire story as a whole.
One hopes The X-Files: Origins may not be a one-time thing, on the basis of how well Dow Smith, Houser and the team at IDW have presented the youthful origins of Mulder & Scully, with some gorgeous artwork which captures that youthful exuberance as well as the show’s dark and sinister tone. While it does close off their original investigations here, enough doors and character beats are left open for the writers to further explore down the road, which hopefully will further connect to established show canon from the series. A great finish to a mini-series which has added a delightful extra shade to the myriad X-Files universe.