After a series of heavier issues X-Files Season 10 takes a turn for the goofy with this newest two-part arc. The only problem is this: I don’t think they really meant to.
Here’s the official word from IDW:
G-23, Part 1 of 2: A government plot leads Mulder to ponder his early days as a cadet at Quantico, including his relationship with Diana Fowley and the fateful day that he found the iconic “I Want to Believe” poster. But the intrigue goes even further back in time, to when Bill Mulder was partnered with the Cigarette Smoking Man.
Partially set in the 1960’s, this newest arc of X-Files Season 10 attempts to mix levity with creepiness as writer Joe Harris crafts a plot that has to do with super-weed and mind control. Back during the early days of the anti-war movement, it seems, the government experimented with a type of pot called G-23. The hope is that it would pacify the protesters but instead it created a high so intense that it turned the users into nutball killers. And, of course, they lost control of it. Flash forward to our current day, where Mulder uncovers a secret invitation to, well, a giant pot party where G-23 will once again be unleashed. The Smoking Man is somehow involved too, but really just to shut things down. Ultimately this issue ends with one of the most improbable visuals we’ve seen to date and it’ll be interesting to see how readers respond to it. “Dumb as hell” or “Hilariously witty” are the two biggest possibilities and I’m still not sure which one I feel. Maybe a little bit of both.
The art, by Tom Mandrake, is strangely off. At points he tries too hard to capture iconic poses of characters like the Smoking Man — there are images that feel like still shots he carefully tried to recreate. And at other moments, Mulder doesn’t look like Mulder at all, but some kid in a suit. It must be terribly difficult to draw a series with characters who have doppelgangers in real life, and if so, Mandrake still need a few more issues to get it right.
Overall, X-Files Season 10 #19 offers a silly break from regular programming. Even if you weren’t looking for one.