X-Files: Year Zero #5 Review

Written by: Karl Kesel

Art by: Greg Scott & Vic Malhotra

Publisher: IDW

This is the fifth and final issue of X-Files: Year Zero, which is telling the story about the very first X-file and tying it in with Mulder and Scully’s newest outing. The series has been equal parts deal with the devil, 50s scifi, werewolves, with a bit of Rumpelstiltskin thrown into the mix. Yep, that sounds a little odd, but it’s allowed for a story that encompasses a lot of different elements from X-Files mythology.

Karl Kesel has been doing a great job of capturing the vibe that we all know from the TV show, especially in the interactions between Mulder and Scully. As someone that’s jumping into the current X-Files comics with this miniseries, it’s surprising to see Scully witness so much of the crazy events first hand. It’s intriguing to see this more current twist on their dynamic, but it still feels like coming home to a pair of old friends. Some of the interactions with other characters have felt a little bit off, however, with a tendency for people to be way more forthcoming with information than seems natural. I know Kesel obviously needs to work within the space constraints of these issues, but it throws off his efforts to carry over the “Scully and Mulder against the world” vibe that the series is known for. In this issue specifically, the book felt like it was relying more on these other interactions rather than Mulder and Scully, which leads to a finale that comes across as slightly diminished from what we’ve had in previous issues. That being said, the segments with agents Ellinson and Ohio (unlike the FBI of the 40s, I’m going to just go ahead and afford Ohio her rightful status) are an awesome addition. Their growing relationship mirrors that of Scully and Mulder without feeling like it’s just a mirror copy. After watching them navigate the time that they lived in as they develop the X-Files department, and seeing where they are at the end of this issue, I’m eager to see them developed further.

The two different time frames being given their own distinct and appropriate art styles works incredibly well. Scott and Malhotra give us a cohesive X-Files world, despite the fact that we have a modern portion that is drawn in a dark manner that looks exactly like you’d expect it to and a portion taking place in the 40s that’s been given a very old school comic strip aesthetic. With any property adapted from a live action source, likenesses of known characters can be a make or break element. For the most part, Scott (I assume that Greg Scott was responsible for the modern segments, based on the other work of the artists. I can’t actually find any specific reference to who penciled what though) does a commendable job with our leads. This does, however, make it very distracting when a panel pops up in which one of them, usually Mulder, looks totally different.

I’m excited to be back in the world of Mulder and Scully. I’ve wanted to see more cases from the x-files ever since the last movie (their last live action adventure), and going back to the very beginning proved to be a great point for re-entry.