I heard a rumor that there was a new X-Files spin off series, and that in the spirit of conspiracy itself, there would be a hidden message with 'series altering implications' hidden within the pages. After hours of careful analysis and detailed research, I have deciphered the secret message: "HELP. Family kidnapped. IDW demands ransom. Forced to write terrible comics. Save yourself.” Huh… that’s weird.
I want to be painfully clear on this point; I do not blame the creative teams, who have obviously done their best to fulfill contractual obligations. I blame the leadership at IDW for bravely emulating the big two by running an incomprehensibly stupid, universe spanning crossover event. Wait, what universe is getting spanned exactly? Part of the original appeal of the X-Files was precisely its grounded feel; that we could believe Mulder and Scully lived in an America nearly indistinguishable from ours, where Ghostbusters was a movie that Mulder watched in college. Since when do our beloved FBI agents reside in the same world as the Ghostbusters, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Transformers, and the Crow?! The only possible redemption for this event would be an ultimate reveal that something supernatural spontaneously merged parallel universes or whatever, and that this universe sharing is new and temporary.
So what is actually going on here? I’m going to err on the side of plot detail here because I don’t want anyone to think that this book sucking is, like, my opinion. This book is just objectively bad and fundamentally ignores everything that makes the participating properties special.
First of all, it’s not clear what connection the Conspiracy event is intended to have with the Season 10 stories told by Joe Harris. With the conspicuous exception of alluding to CERN and the discovery of the Higgs boson, there is no indication that this book doesn’t take place in the 90s version of the show.
The Lone Gunmen have received an email from CERN, with encoded files containing headlines like “Manphibians From the Deep or Aliens From the Sky” but with dates from the near future. After some insipid discussion about whether the phrase “Skylogic Systems” should turn up any Bing search results (shudder), the Lone Gunmen bring the matter to Agent Mulder’s attention. Mulder starts out uncharacteristically skeptical, but when one of the future headlines corresponds to a crime scene he was investigating minutes earlier, he quickly agrees that he should continue to hang out at home with Scully while the rest of the team investigate the details.
After surviving an attack along the Jersey Turnpike by Men in Black types claiming to work for Skylogic Systems, the Lone Gunmen arrive at the offices of the Ghostbusters:
- Janine is on the phone, being sassy with a customer. Check.
- Frohike hits on her because he likes redheads. Check.
- The Long Gunmen go all Three Stooges and start touching things labeled ‘Do Not Touch.’ Check.
- Slimer is there. Check.
- Venkman calls Langly a hippie. Check.
- Ray was a fan of the Lone Gunmen’s newspaper in the 90s. Check.
- Egon says that the Containment Unit is only dangerous if you try to turn it off. Check.
- Winston is a stone cold bad ass. Check.
Not bad for one issue, huh? I take it all back. I think that editorially, a good amount of restraint has been shown here. I’m surprised that the media package from the future didn’t include comics...
“Whoa,” Langly mutters, “Did you guys know that IDW published X-Files comic books, but how could they know about us?!”
Mulder stands in the doorway, backlit dramatically. “That sounds like …” his eyes narrow, “… a conspiracy. You Lone Gunmen better escort Agent Scully down to IDW headquarters. I can’t send her alone because everyone who works there is notoriously handsome and she will become distracted.”
“Sure thing!” Frohike pumps his fist, like Tiger Woods after sinking a putt. There are high fives all around before the team leaves. The Ghostbusters theme song plays in the background.
That was easy! I wonder if IDW is looking for new writers.