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Prisoner, The #1

    Ian Jane

  • Prisoner, The #1

    Prisoner, The #1
    Released by: Titan Comics
    Released on: April 25th, 2017.
    Written by: Peter Milligan
    Illustrated by: Colin Lorimer
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    “In the 21st Century, the global currency is no longer oil or gold but information. And he who possesses it possesses the world. There is one place on the planet where the most valuable information is mined, a place that prides itself on 'mental fracking', promising to extract any secret from any individual using any means possible. It is perhaps the intelligence community's darkest secret, aligned to no one political system or state, an autonomous institute, free of state manipulation. The identity of its controller, the mysterious Number One, is unknown. It is a place so secret, some believe it to be a myth. It is The Village.”

    That opening paragraph sets up quite nicely the first issue of this Titan Comics series - written by Peter Milligan, illustrated by Colin Lorimer and colored by Joana Lafluente - that serves as a follow up to the cult classic television series of the same name. When the comic itself begins, a man jumps out the window of his 'Chelsea safe house.' A man in a suit and some of his associates give chase, addressing him as 'Breen.' Thirty minutes later and he's at the train station, trying not to draw attention to himself - probably a good move as his face is on the cover of the newspaper under the headline 'HIGH-RANKING SPY BETRAYS COUNTRY.'

    His internal narration fills us in on parts of his backstory - this might have something to do with 'Pandora,' his life has become a spiral into absurdity, how his work at MI5 has made the strange start to seem commonplace. As he changes his identity by altering his appearance and using fake travel documents he comes out of the stall in the men's room where a man in a checkered coat says 'Rook to Queen's Pawn.' They fight, and the man in the checkered suit - the chess man addressed as Zugzwang - is left tied up in the stall, heavily sedated while our man makes his way to the airport where he once again changes his appearance.

    He lands in Tuscany where he wonders if 'the girl' is still alive and what could The Village want with her? He hides away in his cottage for four days, waiting, and after eating a mushroom pizza, starts to hallucinate - here we flashback to the Middle East where he and a female agent named Carey prepare for a mission while talking about their relationship. Before that talk can finish, a trio of gun men enter their room. Breen and Carey take off, but they get separated and he doesn't know what happened to her. MI5 managed to get Breen back to British soil, and they immediately brief him on an issue: rare artifacts have been stolen around the world, replacements with a 'V' on them left in their place. This, coupled with assassinations, terrorism and 'bizarre art performances' would appear to tie together - The Village wants information, and they seem to have either wanted Breen, or wanted Carey. Breen knows he can get into The Village and feels it is his duty to save the girl he clearly has feelings for - but only one man ever made it out of The Village… and that man went mad. Will Breen be 'the number two?' But 'Section' would rather Breen make it to The Village and simply do what needs to be done in order to assure that its inhabitants aren't able to access what's in Carey's head, information that could be damaging to all of England.

    And then things get weird.

    Who better than Peter Milligan to write a comic based on one of the trippiest, most brilliant television series of all time? He's absolutely the right guy, his knack for the strange, the surreal, the chemically altered gives him the perfect edge to tell a tale based on Patrick McGoohan's late sixties masterpiece, updating it to take place in the modern day while still paying strong tribute to what inspired it. Lots of mystery unfolds in this first issue and the story does a great job of setting up big things to come. Breen's an interesting character, sort of Bond-ish in that he's a dangerous and cunning secret agent, but without the suave arrogance or wry humor. Breen means business, we see this on the first page as he leaps from the window, chased by armed men. We get just enough back story in these pages so that when the big finish hits, we're well onboard. We know why he wants to get Carey back, we know why he wants to do it his way - it's all nicely fleshed out, quite suspenseful, and yes, decidedly strange in the way that a good story based on The Prisoner should be.

    Colin Lorimer, who supplied the artwork on IDW's Millennium series a few years ago, does an excellent job on the illustrations. There's a lot of nice detail here, and plenty of style as well. His style is gritty enough that it makes the Middle Eastern scenes and the scenes that take place around the train station look appropriately pulpy, but when Milligan's takes things into more unusual territory, Lorimer is able to shift gears and keep pace. After Breen starts to hallucinate we get some really interesting panel layouts and design work. The coloring from Joana Lafluente accentuates this really nicely, adding some nice depth to Lorimer's line work.

    What a great first issue - and of course, a beautiful cliffhanger of an ending that is pretty much perfect and that ensures anyone with even an inkling of an interest in the franchise will be seeing this book again when the second issue comes out.

    • Newt Cox
      Newt Cox
      Senior Member
      Newt Cox commented
      Editing a comment
      Looks good. I wonder if it will ignore the sequel comic DC put out years ago.
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