Returning To The Village For Issue 3 Of The Prisoner

by Richard Bruton

It’s not just a visually striking cover, it’s also a perfect image of what’s been happening in Peter Milligan and Colin Lorimer’s version of The Prisoner. The lone agent, Breen, is struggling to maintain his identity even as those in charge of The Village are attempting every trick they have to rip him to shreds, to uncover why he resigned, what secrets he’s hiding; it’s all there in one fabulous cover image.

And as we venture inside, the first thing to address is the climactic end to issue 2. In the review of that, I said this…

On which note…the turn of the page to the final, climactic moment of the issue is a shocker. No spoilers, obviously, but it’s going to be fascinating seeing Milligan write his way out of it with anything other than “he woke up and it was all a dream”. But, I’ll be waiting to see just how he does it. Because, just as issue 1 was a great opener, issue 2 keeps it all going, layering on the paranoia, the intrigue just wonderfully.

Well, again without giving too much away, here’s the first page of issue 3, which has already been released by Titan as a preview and covered right here by our Oliver.

So, yes, he does sort of wake up. But it’s hardly a dream, more the continuing stuff of nightmares, as The Village still attempting to infiltrate his brain, just as he’s infiltrated The Village. And this issue is full of the psychological torture of Breen, strapped to the machine, reminiscent of the times Patrick McGoohan’s Prisoner was similarly interrogated.

And just like McGoohan’s Number 6, Breen is shown to be just as mentally strong, capable of seeing through at least some of the manipulative techniques The Village throws at him, even down to figuring out just why his escape at the previous issue’s end was all wrong…

It’s something that’s been here all along, the similarities to McGoohan’s Prisoner. Obviously, any comic that tackles The Prisoner is going to have similarities like the setting, the dress, the interrogation, the ideas of The Village extracting information. But, it’s more than that, it’s the idea of Breen (and his fellow agent Carey) repeating events, unwittingly succumbing to the manipulations of The Village and its masters.

Thankfully Milligan, working from the original plot by David Leach (and wouldn’t it be fascinating to see just how Milligan’s finished work fleshes out the plot?) is more than capable of delivering something that cycles through these ideas to produce a story that echoes the past, but also delivers a tale all its own.

It’s a tale that sees Breen, once more, escape his captors and uncover more secrets of The Village, possibly finding some familiar old faces, and certainly coming across a very familiar phrase more than once. In the midst of all this, he’s putting things together in his head, connecting the dots, just as we can with Milligan’s clues from all three issues so far.

And once more, Colin Lorimer’s art is ably supporting the writing, whether it’s the simple spycraft scenes or the wild psychedelic-ish dream/interrogation scenes. He’s doing that classic thing of supporting the writing, making the images tell their half of the story with clarity, pace, and style, without overwhelming it, essential for this sort of twisting tale.

It was pretty surprising coming to the end of this issue to discover that we get a conclusion in issue 4. I was expecting 6 issues for some reason (should really read those solicitations more carefully!) and I can’t help but think that just 4 issues really isn’t giving the series the room it needs for everyone involved to come up with something satisfyingly conclusive.

Although, seeing as the original finished with a massively open to interpretation ending, I imagine it would be fitting for Milligan, Lorimer, Leach et al. to deliver something very similar.

The Prisoner Issue #3 is out right now from Titan Comics. Written by Peter Milligan, art by Colin Lorimer, colors by Joana LaFuente, letters by Simon Bowland, and editing plus original plot by David Leach.

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