Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Colour: Joana Lafluente
Editor and plot: David Leach
Publisher: Titan Comics
Softcover, 112pp, $16.99, £13.99
On sale: 13th November 2018
The Book: Based on the TV show created by Patrick McGoohan, this all-new adventure written by Peter Milligan sees Breen, codenamed No. 6, trapped in a seemingly bizarre parallel world, unlike anything he has ever experienced before. There he must race to rescue his fellow spy before he loses his very grip on reality. But to save the day, Breen must also confront the arch controller of The Village, a person known only as Number One…
The Review: I’d imagine it unlikely anyone not familiar with The Prisoner TV show is going to pick up this psychological thriller. But if you’re new to the much-praised and often mystifying 1960s show starring Patrick McGoohan that inspired this series by Peter Milligan, then you might be pleasantly surprised. I think The Uncertainty Machine works as a story, not just because it draws on all the elements of the original, but also serves perfectly as a modern take on the whole concept that a newcomer could enjoy as a stand-alone, mind blowing adventure.
Of course, if you are familiar with The Prisoner – and I am very definitely talking here about the original show, not its turgid update, then you’ll enjoy The Uncertainty Machine all the more for its references to it. Between them, Peter Milligan and artist Colin Lorimer deftly weave a thoroughly mind-spinning tale of spies, adventure and mind warfare, a tale with strong internal logic in a crazy setting, where you’re never sure where the real world ends and the weirdscape of The Village, a mysterious monitor of all things secret, begins.
Not only that, but Milligan also leaves you in part satisfied by the confounding conclusion – no spoilers here – and with the same sense of wonder, of what might happen next, as the last episode of the original TV show did.
There have been attempts to bring The Prisoner to comics before of course, by Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Dean Motter and Mark Askwith, Motter and Askwith’s Shattered Visage interpretation regarded as something of a disappointment by many, myself included.
For me, The Uncertainty Machine delivers a wholly welcome and enjoyable new take on The Prisoner concept that I hope not only pleases the show’s fans, but might even attract new readers into the nightmare world of The Village. Recommended.
• The Prisoner – The Uncertainty Machine is available from 13th November 2018 from all good bookshops, comic shops and Amazon
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The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.