X-Files Conspiracy – Transformers
I’ve loved the Lone Gunmen since their first appearance on the X-Files. When their spin-off series was canceled after a single season in 2001, I went into a period of mourning that was only eased by the Lone Gunmen special Dark Horse put out that year. I’ve had to be satisfied with only fleeting mentions of Frohike, Byers, and Langly for a long time, but January saw their return as main characters in X-Files Conspiracy, a series featuring old friends Mulder and Scully as well as some new acquaintances in one-shot crossovers.
The story so far: the Gunmen receive a tip about a lethal virus outbreak, apparently from the future, only to find out from Mulder and Scully that the outbreak has just occurred. Journalists that they are, the Gunmen set out to investigate and along the way cross paths with the Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and the Crow in their quest for the truth. While the discovery that each new urban legend is actually true is a bit of a jaw-dropper for the trio at first, the Gunmen adapt quickly to the idea that ghosts, mutant turtles, and giant alien robots exist in the world. They also understand just how mind-bending their experiences are and acknowledge that the truths they have uncovered might be unbelievable even for their usual audience of conspiracy enthusiasts. This week brings us X-Files: Conspiracy: Transformers (the fourth installment of the six-issue arc) hot on the heels of last week’s X-Files: Conspiracy: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
I love everything this series has offered so far, and the Transformers crossover is no exception. It features the Lone Gunmen I know and love: a trio of bumbling, well-meaning, bickering colleagues in the middle of an epic conspiracy investigation. Langly is particularly awesome in this issue; he and Bumblebee form a bond as self-proclaimed “ninja buddies” that leads to some of the funniest and most touching moments in the story. One of the things that I’m really digging about the series is that the artwork changes with every issue to reflect the crossovers. We’ve seen how the Gunmen look in Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtle style, and now we get to see them in the Transformers’ world. It’s a dark look—the panels are almost universally shadowy with indirect lighting that barely illuminates our heroes. The boys have found that the conspiracy is reaching ever higher and farther, and the artwork is a striking reflection of that.
The beauty of the way the individual issues are structured is that each storyline works as a one-shot as well as part of the bigger picture, so you don’t need to have read the whole arc to enjoy them. It also does a great job of exposing readers of various comics to new fandoms, as all good crossovers do. I hadn’t read any Transformers before this (although I was of course familiar with them from the 80s cartoon and the movies), but this issue sucked me in and I would definitely pick up some Transformers after reading this. I could nitpick and say I wish Byers had more of a role in this issue, but that’s relatively minor. On the whole an excellent addition to an awesome series, and I can’t wait to see where we’re going next. How will the Crow tie into this? And how will it all end up? We’ll get the answers in March—do yourself a favor and catch up with the back issues before then!
X-Files: Conspiracy: Transformers—4.5 out of 5 lightning bolts
X-Files: Conspiracy series thus far—5 out of 5 lightning bolts
X-files Conspiracy Transformers #1
Writer: Crilley, Paul
Artist: Verma, Dheeraj
Cover Artist: Kim, Miran
The Lone Gunmen’s trail of secrets leads them to evidence of extraterrestrial life – mechanical extraterrestrial life! Will OPTIMUS PRIME and his allies trust these human interlopers – and what secret conspiracy could involve CYBERTRON, anyway?!
On Sale February 26, 2014
Diamond Id: DEC130375