In Review: The X-Files: JFK Disclosure #1

I'm enough of an X-Files fan to continue to read, but I'm hoping things improve.

The covers: A threesome to pick up for those who need their files to be complete. The A cover is by interior artist Menton3. Mulder is the main figure, slightly to the right. His hair is being blown backwards by an unseen force, though his visage is undisturbed. To his immediate left is a figure of Jackie Kennedy, in her infamous pink dress and hat. Her face is engulfed in white light, so her emotions cannot be read, though the blood on her dress, hand, and legs will be enough to telegraph to a reader what she’s feeling. Behind Fox, and bleeding through his semi-transparent body, is a roulette wheel. Bleeding through that image are the colorful lights of Las Vegas, though they are so blurred that no recognizable landmarks stand out. A decent suggestive image, though the lighting effects are eating up too much of the figures. Toning them down would have made this cover stand out more on the racks. The B cover is by J.J. Lendl and it’s a shattered image in orange. A window has been cracked from a gunshot. The images include, going clockwise, Mulder, an unknown man, a newspaper headline on a plot to kill Castro, the Cigarette Smoking Man, another unknown man, Scully, aliens, and a newspaper banner proclaiming JFK slain on a Dallas street. I really like this, but why all orange? For Halloween? All black and white would have been better. The third cover I happened upon accidentally online. Mulder and Scully have flashlights out as they’re investigating an alley. In the foreground, wearing a jacket and tie and looking concerned at something to his left, is Stan Lee. This is great cover, done very realistically and without any humor. I really like this, but I can’t read who the artist is for this Stan Lee Box Exclusive. I say, try and track this one down! Overall grades: A B-, B B, Stan Lee Box Exclusive A

The story: Jack Colquitt takes the last drag on his cigarette in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. A narrator states that’s he’s killed several dangerous men “But today was different.” Colquitt is shown getting a gun, noticing that several agents were in place. “Multiple cover stories and false flags established.” He then kills JFK. This dramatic opening from Denton J. Tipton begins this twistly tale. For those not in the know, Jack Colquitt is the name of the protagonist from the novel Take a Chance: A Jack Colquitt Novel, written by the Cigarette Smoking Man from the episode “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man.” Knowing this, a reader must ask did this event really happen or was this just part of the novel?  Denton then moves the story to the present with Mulder and Scully eating lunch at FBI Headquarters. He’s called by an unknown man who says that Fox should meet with him, “After all, I helped William Mulder assassinate JFK…” With the possibility of his father involved in the most infamous assassination in US history, how could Mulder refuse? The remainder of the issue focuses on a flashback tale of Vegas and how this agent and Mulder’s father were entangled with some nefarious individuals. This is interesting, but not thrilling. Denton could be frontloading what the rest of the series will reveal, but on its own this was a detour from the X-Files. When returning to the present, another touchstone from the series is suggested as being involved with the assassination, but it came across as comedic. It was really off the deep end, even for this franchise. Overall grade: C+

The art: Menton3’s art is incredibly photorealistic. The panels also contain a wonderful sense of action. Take a look at the first page for examples of this: four vertical panels — the first is a cigarette burning down; the second a close-up of Colquitt; the third has him flicking the death stick; the fourth is a reversed image of the first panel, with a lot of ash on that cigarette, which is still burning. This sets a tone of suspense quickly. The double-paged splash of 4 and 5 shows the president’s car as JFK is hit. It’s very powerful. When Mulder and Scully appear they resemble Duchovny and Anderson completely, as if this is comprised of still images from a lost episode of the previous mini-season. The scenes of Vegas are appropriately bright and garish, but don’t warrant double-page splashes. The colors are also done by Menton3 and they are well done in the flashbacks, with black and whites dominating to make them perfectly aged and Vegas has some garish glaring work done to make Sin City come to life. I’m liking the art, but with all the artful empty space, more story could have been told. Overall grade: B

The letters: Narration, dialogue, a phone conversation, and three sounds are done by Saida Temofonte. The opening narration is really well done, giving those pages a classic pulp detective feel. The dialogue and the phone conversation are easily read, never stepping on key elements of the artwork. There are only a few sounds, which look okay, but surprisingly the assassination is mute. Overall grade: A-

Extras: There are also three pages of redacted pages from 1979’s Findings and Recommendations on Assassinations. Neat, but necessary? They don’t add to this story. Overall grade: C-

The final line: I’m enough of an X-Files fan to continue to read, no matter what, but I’m hoping things improve. Not enough Mulder and Scully so far, and the Vegas flashback seems unnecessary. My opinion, hopefully, could change with the next issue, but this is feeling lacking. Overall grade: C+ 

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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