If I told you that my favorite holiday themed television event of all time is the X-Files episode titled, “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas,” would you promise not to laugh at me uncontrollably? (At least keep it to a giggle, will ya?) Yes, indeed. The sixth show of the sixth season, which guest starred Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin, is far and away my most cherished TV holiday viewing pleasure. Those that have read some of my past Fanboy Comics reviews of IDW’s X-Files comic series may have seen this admission coming like a freight train, seeing as I have espoused my love of the FBI’s most infamous sci-fi duo on countless occasions via this site.
Thus, you’ll all be able to appreciate why my eyes lit up like a 5 year old on Christmas morning at Bill Gates’ house as I was presented the opportunity to review IDW’s first ever X-Files Comic Book Christmas Special. (I’m fairly certain it’s the first one ever produced even outside of IDW’s tenure, but don’t quote me on that.)
For starters, let’s talk content since this is no average monthly release. IDW has decided to chalk this book with two full stories for your reading pleasure. The first story follows the familiar FBI faces of Mulder and Scully as both are trying to complete some very last-minute holiday shopping for Director Skinner’s big holiday shindig taking place at his house. (I guess the government is finally tightening the purse strings when it comes to office parties.) Without spoiling too much, the crux of the story revolves around Mulder and what may have actually happened to his sister. I really found the exploration into Mulder’s sister’s backstory intriguing, seeing as we never truly got a clear answer via the film, thanks to Mr. Carter. The way Joe Harris ties this into the holidays is actually quite ingenious.
Mathew Dow Smith continues to do excellent work in bringing not only Mulder and Scully to life on the page, but the likenesses of the rest of the X-Files crew, as well. Speaking of, it seems like every major X-Files player makes a cameo during the movie, and not all of them are on the nice list. If I had to take any issue with this holiday special, it’s that Skinner is made out to be some sort of a bit of a bumbling drunk. If there was an episode of the show where the FBI Assistant Director couldn’t hold his liquor, I can’t remember it. Nonetheless, even if he did have his moments on television, the comic seems to overplay the whole Skinner-is-drunk concept in a failed attempt at humor. As an X-Files fan, it felt flat, because it just felt so out of character for the shiny domed A.D.
Once the holiday adventures of real-time Mulder and Scully are done, readers are treated to a flashback story involving the original X-Files team of the 1940s. The full-fledged bonus story is a tale straight from the timeline of IDW’s X-Files origin series titled “Year Zero.” In some ways, I enjoyed this tale even more so than the first, due to the faster pacing and actions scenes.
With the holidays upon them, Agent Bing Ellison and “Special Employee” Millie Ohio find themselves in the middle of an odd case of inexplicable sabotage within the military ranks. The plot plays major homage (quite literally) to another little, holiday horror classic a few people might have heard of that goes by the name of Gremlins.
If two stories weren’t enough, IDW even throws in a step-by-step visual demonstration of how original draft artwork transforms into the final product we all absorb on the other end of the process.
As much as I loved the X-Files holiday themed special, it was still no match for the season 6 holiday haunted house, specifically the final scene (which always brings a few tears out of the ol’ ducts). To be fair, though, it never was going to be nor was I expecting it to be. That’s also outside the obvious fact I’m comparing apples to microwaves. Despite all of that, IDW’s X-Files X-Mas Special managed to recapture the spirit of the relationship between Mulder and Scully during the most wonderful time of year. For that reason alone, I’ll be taping an “X” on my stocking this year in hopes of receiving a hard copy of this issue of my very own.