When he learns the real reason behind President Kennedy’s assassination, Mulder also discovers his father was involved in the conspiracy. This revelation forces him to decide between the two things he holds most sacred: his family and the truth. It’s bombshell after bombshell in The X-Files: JFK Disclosure!
We are less than a month away from a brand new season of The X-Files, that bastion of 1990’s popular culture that simply refuses to go quietly into the night, and the concluding part to IDW’s two-part tie-in with the release of the classified JFK files in October, ‘JFK Disclosure’, continues a great many of the themes and ideas proposed by writer Denton J. Tipton in the first issue, themes which you sense the show even twenty-five years old may play with to a degree in its upcoming new season. Tipton’s story cuts right to the core of what The X-Files has always been about – American post-WW2 history, the secrets it holds, and the inherent guilt of a country built on, as the Cigarette-Smoking Man once said in the show, ‘beautiful lies’.
The first issue of ‘JFK Disclosure’ drew to a close with the pretty jaw-dropping revelation to Agent Fox Mulder in the present day that President Kennedy was assassinated because he knew about the conspiracy at the heart of the show to conceal the truth about extra-terrestrial life. This was no real surprise; Season 4 episode ‘Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man’ strongly suggested the same thing, while also proposing the Smoking Man—arch villain of the show, represented here once again thanks to some stunning rendering by Menton3 of a young Chris Owens—being the second man on the grassy knoll. ‘JFK Disclosure’ concludes by hammering home this point – that Mulder’s two fathers, the Smoking Man & Bill Mulder, established the circumstances that led to Dallas.
Everything, much like the first issue, comes to Mulder through the guilt-laden testimony of a dying man, on the eve of the files being released, which means the majority of the action is thrown through flashback and recounting. While Tipton’s writing feels very Chris Carter, a measure of revelation mixed in with pop-culture symbolism, it’s Menton3’s truly stunning artwork which make this entire project one to remember. He uses some incredible portraiture of the actors playing these characters we know alongside a mixture of stark, etched, stone-like panels infused with a range of colours to convey mood and place; dark revolutionary greens for Communist Cuba, or sparkling purple for Jack Ruby’s Las Vegas club. The artwork is like a polished jewel – rarely have we seen better than this from IDW.
Much like the actual revelations in real life, the end of ‘JFK Disclosure’ doesn’t leave Mulder festooned with any kind of truth he can actively do anything with, but we’re all taken on a journey in which Tipton explores the power and scope of a military-industrial complex Kennedy in real life certainly had issues with, blending historical fact and supposition with the (assumed) science-fiction of aliens and occult military history (even down to guns with alien technology). The best mythology tales of The X-Files weaved in this combination of secret real world lore with fascinating storytelling, and Tipton pulls this off in a manner Carter surely would be proud of here.
Beautifully drawn, well written, and as timely as The X-Files can be, do yourself a favour and pick up this sumptuous comic. The truth may well be in here.
The X-Files: JFK Disclosure #2 is now available from IDW Publishing.