Comics

The X-Files – ‘JFK Disclosure Pt 1’ – Comic Review

October 26th, 2017, could end up quite the historic day for conspiracy theorists. It’s the day in which, after many decades, all known files regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy will be released to the American public, and the world. Either the most pervasive conspiracy theory in twenty-century history will be debunked, proven or more fuel will be added to the fire.

Chances are, the latter will be true. Would President Trump have made such a song and dance about being the ‘hero’ who released them if they were incendiary? Almost certainly not. The truth about JFK may never, honestly, be known, but IDW timing a two-part comic book event for The X-Files around the reveal is a pretty damn genius stroke.

The X-Files, in the comic world, is ripe for such an event issue. The long-running ongoing tie-in series by Joe Harris (and largely Matthew Dow Smith on artistic duties) has recently finished, as has Dow Smith & Jody Houser’s The X-Files: Origins prequel series, ending so it appears the relationship with the franchise the two have enjoyed for almost five years, since Harris (in tandem with Chris Carter) revived the series as an ongoing comic, before the series was revived on TV.

Chances are a new ongoing series will emerge in 2018 once the much anticipated Season 11 airs early in the year, but ‘JFK Disclosure’ looks to be an enjoyably separate little peek by Denton J. Tipton—the editor of most of the aforementioned projects—into a key piece of TXF mythology.

You see, in the series, JFK is widely believed to have been assassinated by CGB Spender, aka the Cigarette-Smoking Man, as posited by fourth season episode ‘Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man’. The episode has long been considered to not necessarily be canonical, given its essentially conspiracy theory as told by the Lone Gunmen, which means Tipton has the opportunity to have Fox Mulder, in the present, face a deathbed confession by an ancient, long-silent conspirator within the Syndicate who plotted the alien colonisation of Earth, to claim the soon-to-be-released files expose Mulder’s father, William, as the real assassin of JFK.

Why? That’s suggested by the conclusion (and it will come as no surprise to any X-Files fan) but honestly, Tipton’s issue here is much more about mood and concept than story, much of it being told to Mulder in flashbacks which immerse you into an early-60’s world of Las Vegas glamour, Mobsters, sinister government agents and insider plots which link to Cuba and attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, much of which was later connected to the JFK conspiracy, especially following the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The artwork by Menton3 is just sublime; a soaked-in, shadowed yet eerily colourful haze of panels, with stunning representations of David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and young Smoking Man performer Chris Owens particularly.

Ending on a cliffhanger, one which may tie JFK’s assassination more deeply into established series mythology, we’re treated following the issue to a description of the real-life findings of the investigative Warren Commission as well as a 1979 revived investigation which, for the first time, suggested a conspiracy may have been at work. A quick but enjoyable read, dripping in The X-Files lore, ‘JFK Disclosure’ sets up a second part which may be even more interesting once we know the real-world JFK secrets. For once, the truth really does look like its out there.

The X-Files: JFK Disclosure is now available from IDW Publishing.

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