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The X-Files: Season One (Topps) #3 – Squeeze (Review)

This May and June, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fifth season of The X-Files and the second season of Millennium.

There is an argument to be made that this is the perfect time to feel all nostalgic. The X-Files is one of the biggest shows on television, sitting just outside the top ten as it entered its fifth season. The climax of the fourth season generated a national conversation, something that very few season-ending cliffhangers can do. The X-Files: Fight the Future was filmed in the summer of 1997 and primed for release in the summer of 1998. If there was ever a time to look backwards and dig into the show’s history, this is it. However, Season One feels like a flawed exercise.

There are a lot of problems here that contribute to the sense that Season One is not everything that it could be; the price is a little too high, there’s no new content to justify the nostalgia, and the show was becoming more easily available on home media as Season One was being released. The relaxed release schedule meant that Season One (and, presumably, any follow-ups) would never keep pace with the show, let alone catch up. At nine issues a year, the comic would fall further behind the show, even allowing for the decision to cherry-pick episodes.

In a tight spot...

In a tight spot…

However, the adaptation of Squeeze demonstrates perhaps the biggest problem with the Season One line. While writer Roy Thomas was working from Glen Morgan and James Wong’s original script for Squeeze, and artist Val Mayerick can reference the finished episode, there is undeniably something missing from this adaptation. There is some part of Squeeze that is not replicable in the classic four-colour design, a vital part of The X-Files that seems lost in translation and seems to identify Season One as an inferior imitation.

Quite simply, Season One does not have access to David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

Closing in to seal your Tooms...

Closing in to seal your Tooms…

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The X-Files – Teliko (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

The very premise of Teliko is something that should probably have big flashing warning lights around it.

Teliko is an episode about an immigrant from Burkina Faso who celebrates his arrival by murdering within the African-American community. As such, it is the kind of story that the production team has to be very careful in handling. It could easily become a horrendously xenophobic anti-immigration story, a warning about the dangers of opening the borders to foreigners from cultures that are different to our own. And that is even before the episode decides to have the monstrous murderers turn his African-American victims white.

Top drawer...

Top drawer…

Writer Howard Gordon has navigated this sort of minefield before. Fresh Bones was a voodoo story set within a Haitian refugee camp. As such, it came with many of the same sorts of latent issues. It would be very easy to put a foot wrong, to turn the story into a collection of unpleasant and reactionary stereotypes that painted the foreign as inherently and undeniably horrific. Gordon’s script for Fresh Bones cleverly side-stepped a lot of these problems, becoming one of the strongest scripts of the second season.

While Teliko makes a conscious effort to avoid these potential hurdles, it isn’t quite as quick on its feet.

It's okay. Everybody gets a little airsick.

It’s okay. Everybody gets a little airsick.

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