By guest writer David Leninhawk.
The 14th issue of this line of IDW “The X-Files” titles takes place sometime after the recent limited run revival of the television series. The revival was met with mixed reviews, with critiques ranging from the increasing absurdity of the conspiracy throughline to the portrayal of a transgender prostitute in one of the stronger, stand-alone episodes from the return. Most of the critiques centered on one man, “X-Files” creator Chris Carter. It has been noted, in numerous forums, that perhaps the one thing that could vastly improve the franchise would be to divorce it from its creator.
It is with that in mind that I approached the first issue of a four issue arc entitled “Resistance”. Aside from a token credit of “Executive Producer”, comics are an area of the “X-Files” universe that Carter does not touch, so it stands to reason that measuring the strength of the “X-Files” minus Carter could greatly be helped by seeing how the universe moves and feels when the man is not around.
“Resistance: Part One” begins with Scully meeting a man named Firas Ben-Brahim, who in some panels feels modeled after actor Mads Mikkelsen. Ben-Brahim is an Elon Musk-type bougeois philanthropist who apparently has crossed paths with Scully and Mulder before in the comics, though not in the televison series. The basic crux of the plot appears to be that Ben-Brahim knows of some secret government conspiracy that involves the next stage in alien weaponry after the well-known Black Oil from the television program and first “X-Files” feature film, and is willing to let Scully and Mulder know everything that he knows in order to stop it…and with the promise of immunity, of course.
This issue sets itself firmly in the present, with explicit jabs at Donald Trump, to the extent that the bulk of the issue is set inside a hotel room in Trump Hotel’s D.C. location. Mulder makes a funny quip upon entering the building that I won’t spoil here, but considering “The X-Files” was created in and fed off of the era of hopped-up right-wing conspiracies, and of right-wing extremism like Waco, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the rallying behind the incidents of Ruby Ridge, it’s interesting to see the series, both in comics and to a lesser extent on TV, skewing to the Left.
While this individual issue itself is somewhat dry, with the lengthiest sequence being exposition and the story doing little more than setting up the players and the stakes, it does set up for story arc that has potential, and I would be interested to see how it plays out. Whether you want to invest in the individual issue or wait it out until the arc is collected in trade paperback form is up to you, but at the very least it does feel like, without the influence of Carter, the X-Files is stronger and less of a self-parody.
Guest writer David Leninhawk sees a LOT of movies. Check out his site for all his reviews.