I Am Not a Number … The Prisoner #1

In the “I Didn’t Know I Needed This” Department comes a comic book adaptation of a British TV series I doubt many of my readers have watched. Back in 1967, a quirky little show came on the air called The Prisoner. It only lasted 17 episodes but the concepts and execution of the series made it a critical success and definitely put The Prisoner in the iconic “cult classic” category.

Prisoner 1 Cover
Prisoner 1 Cover

I will freely admit that I have yet to watch a single episode. Sure, The Prisoner has been hovering on the edge of my pop culture periphery for almost my entire life. I’ve seen images, clips, the opening title sequence but I’ve never really sat and enjoyed the series. There have been a few comic book adaptations over the years. Infamously, Jack Kirby, Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Gil Kane and Joe Staton have all been involved at one point or another. Eventually, a sequel to the series found print in a four-part series called Shattered Visage by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith from DC Comics.

So why had Titan Comics decided now is an appropriate time to try another Prisoner comic? Maybe it’s the 50th anniversary of the first US broadcast of the series? Or maybe it’s due to the buzz that Ridley Scott is attached to making a movie based on the property? Either way, this week saw the arrival of Titan’s The Prisoner #1.

Prisoner 1 Interior Page
Prisoner 1 Interior Page

MI-5 agent Breen is a member of the secretive Unit. A clandestine spy arm sent all over the world to perform the most dangerous of missions. On one particular mission, Agent Breen loses his partner Agent Carey and his superiors suspect the worst, that Agen Carey has turned and will reveal Top Secret information to the other side. The solution? Find and execute Agent Carey. But Agent Breen has other ideas and in trying to find his ex-partner, Breen finds himself in The Villiage.

Written by comic master writer Peter Milligan, the issue does a great job of bringing the casual reader up-to-date with the central concepts of the old TV series. And while it is obvious Milligan is a fan of the show you don’t have to be to get drawn into the narrative. Colin Lorimer’s art suitably matches the tone of the book with a style that looks a bit more sophisticated than your average super-hero comic but also isn’t too stylistic as seems to be the trend these days. Joana Lafuente’s colouring works really well.

This is a pretty solid first issue. It’s a great concept. And it is obviously not just a regurgitation of the original show. I’m very intrigued and will be looking forward to the next issue. This might also motivate me to finally watch those 17 classic TV episodes.

Issue: Prisoner #1 | Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Peter Milligan | Artists: Colin Lorimer & Joana LaFluente
Lettering: Simon Bowland | Editor: David Leach
Price: $3.99 – 32 pages

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