Comic Book Review: The X-Files #17
This week, the long run on “The X-Files” of Joe Harris, Matthew Dow Smith and Jordie Bellaire sadly comes to an end. In a story arc that revisited an earlier storyline in the series, the finale does all the things I’ve come to expect from the series. “The X-Files” #17 has closure and the perfect touch of nostalgia to really work as a finale.
“The X-Files” #17 picks up right where the last issue left off. Mulder and Scully are at the precipice of understanding everything about the Old Ones while the Old Ones’ plan becomes much clearer. As this conflict winds down, we find out a big secret about the Old Ones and a book closes on a major ordeal for both Mulder and Scully.
What works about “The X-Files” #17 is that it knows when and where to end things. It doesn’t do what many cliffhangers of the television series did and leave us in the lurch wondering about what happens. Because this series was so focused on Scully and Mulder, this acts as a good place to stop the series, despite my own desire for it to keep going. Harris gets to the point with his villains and gives us a script that moves as fast as the last act of a mythology issue while still putting these two characters at the forefront. The use of the mythology in the final arc may be a debatable point for fans but I think behind this relationship, the mythology is the second most important part of the series. It feels right to close this chapter of the franchise on that. This issue moves very quickly but one of my favorite things about it as a finale are the character moments. We get some sweet moments with Scully and Mulder and we get to see Skinner be an integral part of this. While this does act as a finale, there is always a door open with “The X-Files” and that’s why we love it.’
Matthew Dow Smith and Jordie Bellaire come together one last time to give us beautiful, moody art that has become a hallmark of this series. This issue has all that I’ve come to expect from Smith. There’s so much tension in the panels featuring the North Korean and American ships and a lot of that comes down to the layout and inherent darkness within this art. I am continuously in love with this inking because it brings the kind of visuals to the comic that the show had. These characters are never lost in it and with Bellaire on colors, there’s still a lightness when needed. One of my favorite moments in this issue is actually near the end when Scully and Mulder share a sweet moment. Bellaire’s great eye comes through and she brings this sort of airiness to the moment. Lots of dark things are going on but in this moment, Smith and Bellaire let these two be humans and together once more.
It’s sad to say goodbye to something that has seemingly always been there. As a huge fan of The X-Files, this series from start to finish was something special. It proved that comic book adaptations and continuations of existing properties didn’t have to be watered down. Joe Harris, Matthew Dow Smith, Jordie Bellaire and everyone else at IDW did a wonderful thing here that respected the TV show and the fans. It gave us something new while still delivering creepy stories about the unexplained. It gave us the cute Scully and Mulder moments that TV wouldn’t and let us stay with these characters long before FOX decided to bring it back. like this arc, the entire series modernized itself and made sure to mirror real life events or at least use today’s political landscape as a backdrop. I’ll miss this series and remember it fondly.