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Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine (Science Fiction) (Graphic Novel)

by Peter Milligan (writer) & Colin Lorimer (illustrator)  

Publisher: Titan Books (November 13, 2018). 

Softcover, 112 pages

Amazon Listing  

“In the 21st Century, the global currency is no longer oil or gold but information. And he who possess it, possess the world. There is one place on the planet where the most valuable information is mind, a place that prides itself on ‘mental fracking’, promising to extract any secret from any individual using any means possible.
“It is perhaps the intelligence community’s darkest secret, aligned to no one political system or state, an autonomous institute, free of state manipulation. The identity of its controller, the mysterious Number One, is unknown. It is a place so secret, some believe it to be a myth. It is the Village…”
This book is what you might call a soft reboot of the The Prisoner series. It is ostensibly in the same universe as the TV series, but doesn’t mention the original series at all, except for some vague references. “Only one man managed to escape The Village, and he went mad.” Luckily, it is only a four-issue limited series, because (as with all other media connected to the 1960s series) it will be of interest only to those who liked the original.

Despite that, there were some things which the series did right. The redefinition of the Village and its aims, at least those aims on the surface, is very timely and feels correct. Certainly most of their activities revolved around extracting information. And they reveal the identity of Number One, the mysterious leader of the Village organization. In this version, it is something very different  from what we see in the final episode, Fall Out, of the 60s series, but perhaps that is what the book meant by the original protagonist going mad. What they came up with was a little clich├ęd, but still interesting in its presentation.
Essentially the plot is The Spy Who Came in from the Cold meets the Village. A spy attempts to be snatched up by the Village and succeeds. He wakes up in the odd surroundings of the Village, as the new Number 6. The rest is your standard Prisoner fare of oddity, double takes, take backs, back-stabs and retreads where everything in the protagonist’s life is tossed into question. Where it is different is that this Number 6 is not made of as stern stuff as is the original, which leads to an incredibly satisfying ending.
 For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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