The X-Files: Volume 1
by various artists & writers
(Checker Book, 2005)

In vaudeville, the headliner was always the last to take the stage. Someone at Checker Book Publishing must be old enough to remember vaudeville, because the best of The X-Files: Volume 1 is certainly at the back of the book.

Regrettably, someone at Topps Comics was apparently not old enough to remember what made the TV series successful. And someone at Checker Book must not have cared, because they have just released a collection of several less-than-satisfying issues, plus the somewhat satisfying issue #0 originally published by Topps.

Almost everyone remembers The X-Files television show, of course. Its twisting plots and foreboding, dark atmosphere are still being imitated by other TV dramas today. You remember the aliens, flying saucers, mutated human beings and that greatest of mysteries, why someone couldn't come up with a satisfying ending after nine years.

Unlike you, the Topps artists in these issues forgot the dark, ominous setting. In fact, they forgot what Mulder and Scully looked like from panel to panel. In particular, the first two titles that open this show are more than a bit weak on anatomy and other artistic techniques that help to suspend the disbelief of readers.

Writer Roy Thomas and artist John Van Fleet come closest to recapturing the nuances of the TV show in issue #0, an adaptation of the series pilot at the back of the book. One question remains for Mulder and Scully. Will this less than glowing review stop die-hard X-Files fans from buying this collection?

You kidding?!

by Michael Vance
4 February 2006

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