If it takes a while to find your footing in Titan Comics’ return to the Village, that’s right. Collaborators Peter Milligan and Colin Lorimer have done what AMC should have when they reimagined The Prisoner. Acknowledge the past, move into the future, and accept that it doesn’t make a difference to the great chess game played in the Village.
In Milligan’s update, the original series clearly (or unclearly) happened. In addition to an oblique reference to only one agent ever escaping the Village, the man who will be the new Number 6 hallucinates images of that agent — a Number 6 looking like actor Patrick McGoohan, and a Number 2 resembling actor Leo McCarey. These two were used in DC’s comic book sequel, which continued on in confusion assuming that the Village would be destroyed by the escape. No, no, no — the Village is much more stable than that.
For those unfamiliar with the show, Milligan and Lorimer dive right in to a more straightforward spy thriller. Agent Breen has been publicly branded a traitor, and is trying to dodge fellow MI5 agents in the streets. He’s stolen England’s most important secret — of course it’s called Pandora — but his motivations are uncertain.
The pace of the book is brisk, with Lorimer smoothly delineating both action and hallucination. As the story jumps back and forth in time to reveal pieces of answers, you hardly notice that it transitioned into being weirder than the beginning promised. Breen wants to go the Village, thinking he can do it on his terms. But the Village never makes it that easy.
For such a brief television series, The Prisoner built up a lot of mythos (mostly unexplained). Milligan barely touches on it, though he gives Lorimer the opportunity to show the Village layout as cinematically as the original show did. The catch phrases, the numbers, the penny-farthings — they’re not yet there, but they will be. Or maybe not. It’s a strong enough first issue on its own, understanding what made the original work while building something new upon it. It’s a perfect match of writer and artist, and accessible enough for new fans of The Prisoner without boring the old. For you all, be seeing you … at Number Two.