30th May2018

‘The Prisoner #2’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Peter Milligan | Art by Colin Lorimer | Published by Titan Comics


What a great re-launch of this property issue 1 was. Any doubts there were about The Prisoner, the epitome of late 1960’s quirky TV along with shows like The Avengers (that’s Steed and Mrs. Peel, not Iron Man and Captain America silly), being out of date or simply not relevant were firmly put to bed. Peter Milligan managed to seamlessly combine the elements of what made the original great, with elements from the here and now, and created a whole new beast. Information is power, was then and is even more so now. Just ask Breen.

Breen, of course, is the newest inhabitant of The Village. For those coming in late, Breen is a MI5 agent, and has deliberately got himself captured and made a ‘guest’ of The Village. Why? His partner and lover, Carey, was herself taken by The Village, and Breen wants to rescue her. I should say ‘was’ a MI5 agent because Breen went rogue and quit when he was ordered to assassinate Carey rather than rescue her. Or is that just his cover? Just to put the cherry on that cake, and make The Village notice him for sure, he went and broke into a top secret installation and stole the Pandora project intel, a very juicy bargaining chip. So, that’s the easy part done.

Milligan showed us last issue just how he knows what buttons to press with his writing, and straight away in Issue 2 we launch into another Village classic. The psychological interrogation, the blurring of past and present, of real and imaginary. Number Two is in Breen’s mind, and wants to extract Pandora. Breen’s not giving up that easy. After all, he’s not Number 6, he’s a human, right? Hold that thought, as Number 9 comes in. Or Carey, as we know her. She seems to have thrown in with The Village, and tells Breen to do the same. Is she real? mind controlled? genuine? Milligan has already done a fine job of ramping up the paranoia, as neither Breen nor us, the reader, know who to believe or trust. Breen decides to stand firm.

The one person who actually knows the truth of Breen going rogue, in that he hasn’t really and it’s his cover, is Section, his MI5 head. Which is probably why The Village have kidnapped him too. Not good. What’s a good spy to do? Try and escape of course. Breen manages, after some days of befriending them, to take out his guards, and liberate a gun and a key card. He quickly rounds up Section and Carey, and they make a run for it. The escape vehicle of choice, or at least the only one they can find, is a red London bus, complete with (quickly despatched) an old school conductor. Amazingly, the key card works and they have escaped…

Yeh, right. This is The Prisoner. Manipulation, offering freedom then snatching it back, offering hope then crushing it, is all part of the game. So, time to see the Rovers in action, one of the most iconic characters in Prisoner lore. Remember them, harmless looking big white inflatable balls that patrol the perimeters and kill people who attempt to escape by seemingly absorbing them. Still, they seemingly escape them too. Could the escape be on? Not quite, as lights in the distance seem to show The Village security catching up. Section tells Breen to tell him all about Pandora, and he and Carey will escape and then trade the information for his release. Breen’s no fool. Something about all this seems very wrong, and he does the only thing a wise man can. He shoots himself in the head.

What a great issue. Simply dripping with the atmosphere of the TV show, Milligan fills every page with uncertainty. Who’s real? Who’s on your side? Can you trust anyone? Is resistance your choice, or theirs?. Mind bending stuff. Equally brilliant, and vital for the claustrophobic atmosphere is the art of Colin Lorimer and muted colours of Joana Lafluente. The pacing, and ‘feel’ of the story is very much their area, and is pulled off wonderfully.

A love letter to a show from a creative team that really ‘gets’ it. Brilliant stuff.

***** 5/5


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