In Review: The X-Files: JKF Disclosure #2

A disappointing conclusion to a good premise.

The covers: The A cover is a gorgeous frontpiece by interior artist Menton3. A large bust of Mulder is framed by several images done in a white outline. Going clockwise is an open pack of Morley cigarettes, the infamous JFK motorcade, a man in a suit holding a rifle, and across Mulder’s chest is a futuristic pistol. All of these elements play key parts in this concluding issue. The B cover by J.J. Lendl is a faded American flag, featuring a silhouette of a man with the futuristic pistol taking a shot over the blue field of stars, the white stripes containing newspaper headlines of the president’s killing, and in the lower left corner a hand holding a cigarette that’s got a tremendous amount of smoke coming out of it, containing the images of Mulder and Scully. The coloring on the red and white stripes overwhelms everything except the agents, leaving this blurry. Different coloring would have improved this. Overall grades: A A and B C-

The story: This closing chapter of this two part story opens with Mulder continuing to speak with the man who says he knows how JFK was killed and who was responsible, including Fox’s father. Denton J. Tipton story does a good job weaving known character and events with fictional ones, including Cuban freedom fighters, aliens, and the mob. This is the biggest problem with the story: it’s distantly an X-Files tale. The majority of this issue is set in the past with William Mulder drawn into this scheme of assassination and improbabilities. Fox merely provides bookends to this issue and series; I prefer to have one of the two leads be more involved with the plot. When the story is told and returns to the present, the story is wrapped up incredibly quickly. Too quickly. I was surprised by Fox’s silence and the conclusion at whiplash speed. The final page’s dialogue is impotent. Having more tension — any tension — in the present would have made this story more thrilling; this is due to fans of the series, who are the consumers of this book, knowing where all the characters in the past wind up. It’s like the prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy: one is interested, but knows how things must conclude. I was disappointed in this outing. Overall grade: D+

The art: Menton3 creates this book’s visuals, which include the colors. To create a consistent ominous tone, the book is primarily in black and whites. This also effectively ages the story when set in the past. The characters are photorealistic, with several given tight close-ups to make their dialogue intense. Several pages are given the full-page splash treatment to create an atmosphere, such as the double-paged splash on 2 and 3 and 22, though the necessity for such large images seem more designed to fill a page rather than enhance the story. There’s a lot of empty space filled with darkness (20 & 21 and 16 & 17) or a murky gray (6 & 7 and 18 & 19) that will either make the story tense or sparse. With exception to one gunshot early in the story, this is primarily a book filled with characters talking, so Menton3 doesn’t really have too many options on what to do with the characters, though tension has been created in other X-Files books with characters’ silent reactions. I would have preferred that to so much empty space. The visuals and the monotone colors don’t wow. Overall grade: C- 

The letters: Saida Temofonte creates dialogue, scene settings, and a sound. The dialogue is an immediate draw to the reader as the dialogue balloons stand out with their stark whiteness on the dark art. The scene settings are reminiscent of the television show, which smoothly transitions the reader to new locales while recalling the tone of the series. Temofonte’s work is good. Overall grade: B 

The final line: A disappointing conclusion to a good premise. Too much time in the past, makes this a story that could have been told without any tie to The X-Files. Add in the mixed visuals, and this is a lackluster outing. 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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