The X Files: Case Files is a 25th anniversary collection of two original short stories/cases within the X Files; Florida Man and Hoot Goes There? Mulder and Scully are back and ready for just about anything the X Files can throw at them.
Florida Man is written by Delilah S. Dawson and illustrated by Elena Casagrande. The story sees Sculder braving the intense heat of Florida for a seemingly simple case, what lies ahead of them however is enough to chill anyone to the core and will leave them with more questions than answers.
Hoot Goes There? is co-written by Joe & Keith Lansdale and illustrated by Silvia Califano. The story sees Mulldy (not as catchy as Sculder) investigate recent disappearances in a small town in Texas. With the nonchalant townsfolk pointing their fingers at a drunken conspiracy theorist, Mulder feels it best to humour him to see what he knows. Turns out the booze brings the truth out.
It should be noted that I say this without a single hint of criticism. Not very much can be said for the art style. If I were to imagine the X Files as a comic book, this is exactly what my mind conjures up; superbly defined details and expressive characterisation while still retaining their realism.
It’s unquestionably a cosmic certainty that Gillian Anderson translates well into different art mediums. The various artists consistently capture her every feature. Duchovny on the other hand, while wholly identifiable on his own, does resemble Alec Baldwin or Mike Myers when compared to a clear as day Gillian Anderson.
Catherine Nodet does the cover art for the collection and while her paintings are visually stunning and realistic, the cover art for Florida Man presents a huge spoiler that mysteriously doesn’t occur within the story…QUEUE THE X FILES THEME! It could be intended as hyperbolic folklore or was perhaps painted prior to the story’s completion but it seems odd to include it in that case.
After a lifetime as partners, the balance of straight and funny between Mulder & Scully is sometimes shifted. Scully is a lot more wisecracking and wittier with Mulder which actually gives him more of a straight and serious character. This is absolutely not a complaint, the chemistry of them both having fun together has a honeymoonesque warmth that the reader is coddled in amongst the tension of the cases.
Dawson’s Florida Man is a uniquely eventful monster of the week storyline with a twist that feels right at home within the X Files lore. The glaring issue unfortunately, is that it is far too short. Given the little spoiler that never was in the cover art, this could’ve had at least another issue attached to it to fill in the gaps.
The Lansdale brothers’ Hoot Goes There? is a similar story to Florida Man which unfortunately falls short on its plot. Spending too much time with characters that aren’t that interesting and in hindsight, don’t add anything to the story. The story itself is tonally all over the place which is impressive for a short story of roughly 40 pages but feels like a rushed effort by two combatting writers.
Off the cuff firstly, the final pages of this collection confused me as they show off cover art for a second issue of Case Files, implying that both stories had a continuation. This isn’t the case as this collection contains the #1-2 issues of both stories. My initial and overall review remains the same but I felt it necessary to convey this confusion as the presentation is a little incoherent in informing the reader.
Florida Man has a typical yet satisfying X Files twist ending but it fails to expand on the grander ideology that it introduces, especially with the inclusion of artwork that alludes to a deeper story. Hoot Goes There? is ultimately lacklustre and forgettable, unlike the first story it appears to bait a sequel (hence my confusion) which I think has as much chance of happening as Shyamalan’s Last Airbender sequel.
In the end, I’m left disappointed. I feel like Mulder; on the verge of uncovering the truth of it all only to have it taken away and wiped from existence by the government, never to be acknowledged again.
Skinner is not gonna be happy about this…
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on The X Files: Case Files collection, your favourite X Files episode and who you’d rather go on a date with; Mulder or Scully? Topless Skinner is also an option.
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