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The X-Files (Topps) #3 – A Little Dream of Me/The Return (Review)

This August (and a little of September), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the second season of The X-Files. In November, we’ll be looking at the third season. And maybe more.

There are inevitable challenges in working on a licensed property. You are effectively playing with somebody else’s toys. Since these tie-ins cannot drive a narrative currently unfolding in another medium, it’s often a challenge to maintain the illusion of forward momentum while existing at the behest of a story that can change from week-to-week. While The X-Files was a massive coup for Topps comics, and while Stefan Petrucha and Charles Adlard did a wonderful job, the comic had to face these constraints.

A Dismembrance of Things Past had brushed up against those limitations in trying to tell a U.F.O. story without meddling in the television show’s continuity. Petrucha used some fiendishly clever sleight of hand there, suggesting that the story would be about an alien visitation and possible cover-up, only to reveal that the story was actually an intimate meditation on the ideas of truth and memory. It was a rather ingenious bait-and-switch, resulting in a wonderful little story.

Pictures in his head...

Pictures in his head…

A Little Dream of Me is not quite as efficient in dealing with the external limitations imposed on a tie-in comic book. The unfortunate realities of comic book scheduling meant that A Little Dream of Me had the misfortune to hit the stands very shortly after the broadcast of Colony and End Game. Of course, the script for A Little Dream of Me would have been written long before the episodes aired (about six months), but the scheduling causes the comic to suffer.

After all, Colony and End Game had made it abundantly clear that Samantha Mulder was unlikely to be returning to her family any time soon. And that was in the television show. The third issue of the comic book teasing the return of Samantha Mulder seems like a rather cynical cheat.

The "X" file...

The “X” file…

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