The X Files: Origins is a comic that tells the origin stories of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in their youth. Contrary to the show, the titular characters conduct their first investigations separately before meeting one another and uniting to become the inharmonious FBI agents we all love and treasure today.
Co-written by Jody Houser & Matthew Dow Smith but predominantly written by Houser, Mulder is nearly a year out of the mysterious disappearance of his sister, Samantha. Taking his first step out isolation, he descends into a world of mystery alongside new friends Tim and Eric (no, not THAT Tim and Eric but it’s fun to imagine it is…PWAAAAH!!!) where he intends to discover the truth about her no matter what, taking him on a journey far grander in secrets.
Vice versa, co-written by Matthew Dow Smith & Jody Houser but predominantly written by Smith, a lost 13-year old Scully finds her teacher murdered on his driveway with no explanation as to why or who killed him. Using her vast knowledge of detective novels and a new friend in Mercy, she decides to take matters into her own hands and piece together the puzzle to catch the killer. However, this young Sherlock Holmes with her new Watsonesque friend has no idea how deep this rabbit hole goes.
Judging the book by its cover, the artwork conjures the concept of an X Files & Scooby Doo crossover which is a concept I would love to see. Upon diving in to the comic, it’s stylistically that and more! The character portrayals are more akin to a cult classic in The Halloween Tree animated film, especially Mulder who resembles Pip and Scully somewhat as Jenny in spirit, which is fitting for both stories.
Importantly, the artistic presentation of the origin tales composed between Fenolgio and Howell is perfectly balanced. Scully’s story has subtle differences from Mulder’s in the form of narrative blocks being replaced by diary notes as well as their respective and opposite locations of a beach ridden California and forested evergreen Massachusetts. Nevertheless, the artwork is otherwise consistent throughout giving the illusion of one big overarching story.
Right off the bat, the comic deems itself worthy of the X Files name with cohesive references to the show, particularly with Scully who daydreams about Moby Dick and ponders over her religion in the form of a very important necklace gifted to her by the murdered teacher. Furthermore, a heartfelt moment of bonding with her dad which refreshed the old waterworks of the Beyond the Sea episode. Well done Smith, you made me cry!
As mentioned before, the art is reminiscent of The Hallowen Tree animated film and in keeping with that comparison, so too is the plot of Mulder’s origin story as he sets off on an adventure with friends to explore the paranormal in hope of finding his sister and Scully bringing her admiration of fictional detective tropes to the forefront of a test in reality.
Differing from the norm of two short stories told one after the other, the writers instead collaborate and combine their works in a back and forth narrative. I’ve personally never seen this type of collaboration before and it’s really well executed here with effective and noteworthy twists and turns that will go un-noted here.
Firstly it should be noted, with the disappearance of Mulder’s sister and Scully’s tough relationship with family and faith being such a prominent plot device throughout the X Files, it’s startling that it took this long for a fully-fledged origin story to come into fruition.
Secondly, Despite an initial presumption of “X Files but for kids” style, it undoubtedly would serve as a fitting two-part storyline within the show, similar to that of the Smoking Man origin storyline. Dark, witty and deep while being wholly unique and memorable.
Thirdly, The stories told only enhance the characters and overarching plot of the X Files. While not essential to the understanding of the show, it does make for an immersive and interesting addition to the lore.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this comic for long-time fans of the X Files.
The case of the anomalous and mysterious origin of the enigmatic and curious Fox Mulder is now closed.
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on the X Files Origins, your favourite episode of the show and if you would also be down for a Scooby Doo crossover!
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