Here we go, kids, the last part of our epic road trip with the Lone Gunmen in their VW van. When we last saw them, they had found several key components of the genetically engineered virus poised to destroy humanity and were headed toward the CDC with blood samples from the Transformers and the Ninja Turtles. Fortunately, Agent Scully is on hand to help create a vaccine for the outbreak, but the Gunmen and Mulder still have some hurdles to jump before the day is saved. Would you expect anything less?
The good news is that they do so in a way that neatly ties up the loose ends from the first five issues. Note that when I say “neatly,” I don’t mean in a contrived way. This is not a Hollywood ending, but it is a well-written conclusion that answers my lingering questions. Our heroes don’t die (because someone finally realized that “Jump the Shark” was just cruelty to Gunfen), humanity is saved, and we even find out who sent the mysterious messages from the future and how they managed it. I am completely satisfied with this.
What I’m not totally happy with is how much this has been a “boys club” series, particularly this issue. Yes, I know the Gunmen’s ineptitude around women is legendary, but we also know that they’ve shared screen time with strong female leads before (Scully, Yves, Suzanne). Yet in this final issue, Scully is basically relegated to the role of lab monkey. Seriously, she’s saving humanity with the vaccine she’s working to create, but that plot aspect means she’s on the sidelines the entire time while Mulder and the Gunmen take out the last few obstacles in the case. It’s a little irritating.
This isn’t to say I don’t I enjoy the camaraderie the Gunmen have. Their relationship has always been one of my favorite things about the trio, and the little in-jokes sprinkled throughout the series made me feel like I was one of the gang. In this issue, the digs on how Redditors would deal with a bomb are hysterical to anyone who has spent some time on that site, and there’s even a “Jimmy Bond” reference for those of us still mourning the premature cancellation of The Lone Gunmen TV series. These geek references have been a one of my favorite things about these comics, and I want to stop here to personally thank whomever came up with the idea of using the vampires from the fifth season episode “Bad Blood” in X-Files: Conspiracy: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “Bad Blood” is still my all-time favorite episode of X-Files and if the memory of Mulder singing the theme song from Shaft doesn’t make you laugh out loud, you’re dead to me.
The individual issues of this series have been great, but I’ve felt right along that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That means that I’m giving X-Files: Conspiracy #2 4 out of 5 Lightning Bolts (I’m still irritated about Scully being relegated to a supporting role), but I’m giving the entire X-Files: Conspiracy series a 4.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts. The series was so great that I’m hoping this isn’t the end for Byers, Frohike, and Langly. It has been a fantastic setup for future stories with the Lone Gunmen, and I’m really hoping that IDW takes this very broad hint and gives the Gunfen what we’ve been missing for the past thirteen years: more adventures with our favorite trio.
The X-Files: Conspiracy #2
Writer: Paul Crilley
Artist: John Stanisci
Cover Artist: Miran Kim
The event of the year concludes here! The Lone Gunmen have finished investigating several urban legends-a group of ghost-hunters, mutant turtles that live in the sewers, shape-changing alien robots, and a vengeful spirit from beyond the grave-after receiving Internet files from future that foretell a plague that wipes out most of humanity. Now it’s a race against the clock as the Gunmen, with Agents Mulder and Scully, attempt to save the world!
Format: LIMITED SERIES
On Sale: March 26, 2014
Diamond ID: JAN140444