Down the Ballot

Friday, April 11, 2014

X-Files Conspiracy IDW Crossovers (1-3)

Fun Scooby Doo spoof cover
First, I better start right off the bat and say that IDW did an amazing job at getting me back into buying monthly comics. I haven't been a monthly buyer for over a decade. Not even my beloved Star Trek got me to buy comics after high school. I would pick up older comics from second hand stores when I saw them if they were Star Trek, but nothing new. I'm not a traditional comic book lover. Like most, I love a good story. My problem with comics, and especially the more established comic franchises is it is incredibly hard to get into the story, when you're 50 issues behind. Let alone, when the company that is currently producing the comics loses the license to the franchise you like and it starts all over with a new company or a reboot of some kind in order to allow more people to break into the comics.

When I heard X-Files Season 10 was in development I kept my search engine warm looking for updates and waiting for the first issue to be released. I made the trek to my nearest seller of comics and bought the first two issues. I appreciated the fact that Chris Carter was involved and helping keep the scripts in line with the show and also making sure they don't delve too much into anything that might possibly be in the works for a third X-Files film. The comics pick up after the events of the second film. (From this point on, I start talking about story. You can't talk about stories without dropping some spoilers. Hey, if you haven't heard about Season 10 by now, go check out a few issues)

I won't write too much more about Season 10 in general; if you are a fan of the X-Files, you will appreciate what the writers have done at bringing back what you loved about the series. They resurrect the Lone Gunman! What's not to like about that?

You can get away with a lot of stuff on paper; stuff that would be overly expensive on screens big and small. At the same time, just because it is easier doesn't necessarily mean you should do it. That's what I feel about most crossovers. On television, a crossover of shows like Wings and Cheers makes sense.

Wings and Cheers were both set in Massachusetts, they shared the same time period (the then and now of the 1980s-90s) People shared similar world views. It is believable that Cliff and Norm would take a trip out to Nantucket for fishing and end up staying at the local bar the whole trip.

I had put off writing about these until all six issues were published, now that they are all out here are my thoughts on the first three. 

#1 Ghostbusters 

The X-Files Conspiracy arc shares crossovers with The Ghostbusters, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Crow.  There are two X-Files only issues, so with the four crossovers that makes six issues. Six issues that also seem to keep as stand alone stories. They just didn't click with me.

The X-Files are surrounded in secrecy, and with the number of trips Mulder and Scully had made to New York over the years you'd think they would have run into the Ghostbusters. I mean, they had commercials and everything!

This story just wasn't up to the bar set by the main story arcs from X-Files Season 10. I thought it was great to make the Lone Gunman (TLG) the leg men for these adventures, but the fact that Ghostbusters don't seem to be a widely known group outside of New York City, evidenced by the TLG's skepticism regarding their claims about the paranormal seem unbelievable. Perhaps Mulder would have been more likely to have an open mind about this sorta stuff.

Still, the larger point remains that the two worlds (X-Files & Ghostbusters) just don't mesh well with each other. The X-Files is all about trying to study the paranormal and keep the rest of the world in the dark about it. They work so hard to keep the general public from knowing anything about the X-Files, that it lends a lot mystery and intrigue.

The busters come from a completely different world. Every day people encounter specters and 'spooky' beings all the time and don't seem all that phased about it. The government apparently doesn't care all that much, because they let a private corporation handle it. That just doesn't jive with the world of the X-Files.

The story just didn't work for me. My internal nerd alarms were going off left and right.

#2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

In the second installment of Conspiracy arc, TLG have search out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They do some traditional TLG sleuthing and discover rumors of these creatures that roam the city streets at night. This could so be an X-Files episode! Then you start to think, if IDW and friends are telling us that Ghostbusters, X-Files and now TMNT all occupy the same reality for storytelling purposes...well um how is it there haven't been more sightings of these creatures over the years? Making New York City ground zero for the spooky and strange hurts the overall story. At this rate, Fox Mulder should just be working out of the New York field office for the X-Files.

If it is a one time thing, I'll let it slide. Again, my disdain for crossovers of such different universes is a bias I take with me whenever I read such things and the story has to be pretty good to make me go 'well that's worth a crossover'. This was still better than issue #1, but still doubt it is truly crossover worthy.

#3 Transformers

Autobots? Decepticons? and the Lone Gunman? Where could this go wrong you wonder? It went wrong in all sorts of places. They did a good job at linking some of the fine points of the previous issues back into the story to give the boys an excuse to keep searching for information. Was Langley on drugs in this issue?

With a few exceptions, the X-Files didn't do all intelligent machines much. There was one where an operating system took over a building and another where humans transferred their minds into the internet. Now we're taking the huge leap and trying to believe that huge giant machines have been on Earth for years disguising themselves as cars and other automobiles bent on protecting the human race. Again, where were Mulder and Scully when the Autobots had their fights that destroyed city block after city block in, you guessed it New York City.

Still better than the Ghostbusters issue, but not as good as the TMNT one.

Next time, we'll take a look at the two X-Files issues and the Crow issue.

You know what would make for a great X-Files crossover comic? Millennium
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