X-Files: Year Zero #5 Review

Two cases, generations apart, have disturbing similarities and deadly consequences for our favorite feds ….and leads to a mostly satisfying origin story.

The official description from IDW:

Mulder and Scully have finally come face-to-face with “Mr. Zero” and slowly unraveled a mystery stretching nearly 70 years in the past. But more major twists are revealed as this historic case comes to a close! For now…

XFiles_YZ05_cvr1-659x1000At first glance the premise for X-Files: Year Zero seemed ripe for fumbling — writer Karl Kesel promised a script that would offer a quasi origin story of the X-Files by toggling back-and-forth between an unsolved case from the 1940s and a current case plaguing Mulder and Scully today. Adding to the oddity, the 1940s agents were (essentially) doppelgangers our our current heroes — a mismatched pair of agents with nothing to lose and everything to prove. And to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it.  But slowly, over the course of this five issue run, Kesel’s characters stole the show even when the momentum of his story lagged. With issue five, Mr. Zero (or Xero, depending on the decade) is finally reunited with Dorothy Sears — a 1940’s housewife with mystical powers who faked her own death to escape her life and who hasn’t aged a day in the last 70 years. In a tale reminiscent of Rumplestiltskin we learn that Sears has made a deal with Zero that has it’s roots in 1940’s, but it’s fruits in the present day. And if she hopes to save her son’s life, she needs to make a deal again. While Kesel has mostly offered a satisfying read, there are moments where the writing feels too dense. That said, the real joy has come from the introduction of both Zero and Sears into the X-Universe. Sears is a sharp and sassy character with oodles of potential. And Zero is a character so compelling and creepy that reading him on the page offers the same tingling fear as seeing any classic X-Monster on the small screen. My hope is that they come back again, and soon.

The art, by Vic Malhotra and Greg Scott takes an innovative approach. Each artist adopts one era, meaning the reader not only jumps between time but visual styles, too. Given the unique premise of the book, it’s effective and helped each time feel “different” enough to work.

Overall, X-Files: Year Zero will be remembered for the new monsters and heroines it introduced — but not the story.

  • - Iffy Story
  • + But Awesome Characters

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