In Review: Millennium #1

Black is back and the world is just a bit safer. Recommended.

The covers: A trio of covers that create a (welcome) conspiracy for you to spend your money to add them to your cache. Menton3 is the artist of the Regular cover. This front piece features Frank Black next to Fox Mulder in delicious black, white, and brown. Frank looks at something unknown hostilely, while Fox squints at something in the other direction. Behind the pair are series of symbols from the television program. Excellent image. The Subscription cover is a photo cover that is a tight close-up of Lance Henriksen as Frank Black. His look to the reader is open, as if he’s waiting for reassurance that one is ready to travel with him. I would have purchased this if my store had one. The Retailer Incentive cover is by Paul Shipper and it’s almost the exact same image as the Subscription cover, except Shipper has warped Frank. He is completely awash in colors and lines that swirl about him that represent the personal hell this man must endure because of his ability. Fantastic! Overall grade: Regular A, Subscription A+, and RI A+

The story: The outstanding writer for IDW’s The X-Files, Joe Harris, is also the writer for this series. If one has the misfortune to never have seen an episode of Millennium, there is a short summary on the inside front cover to bring one up to speed quickly. This story begins in New York City, December 24, 1999. Two men have been called to work on a firm’s computer system to protect it from the predicated horrors of Y2K. They go about their work without oversight, with one wondering if the woman who let them in is “just another innocent in everything?” His partner responds, “Since Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, there have supposedly been no innocents. Only perpetratorsresistors…and collateral damage.” Their work done, they make a toast and look out the window at the Twin Towers, while behind them a computer screen shows the Millennium Group’s logo. The story then moves to the present with Fox Mulder being questioned at a parole hearing in a federal penitentiary in Indiana. He’s giving testimony to keep an unusual killer behind bars, and someone of particular note is in the back of the room, listening, watching. Yes, it’s Frank, and why he’s there and how he helps Mulder is a terrific return to action for this character. There are two types of tension in this story: one comes from Monte Propps, the killer, and the other from what is going through Frank’s head. He still sees what happened at the scene of the crime, but things have escalated, and become personal. I cannot wait until the next issue! Overall grade: A+

The art: The visuals on this book are by Colin Lorimer. His artwork is very realistic looking, with the familiar faces of Fox and Frank looking very much like David Duchovny and Lance Henriksen. Each line in Frank’s face seems to be holding a story of what he’s done. He’s positively haunted by Propps and his lodgings show this brilliantly. The other characters of this book are also photorealistic, with Monte Propps being frightening. I admit to wondering how the artist on this book would illustrate Frank’s visions, as they are the cornerstone of his character and Lorimer does a good job in showing the nightmare that each victim encounters. The image in the fifth panel on Page 17 is a shocking wake up call to Frank. I was already pleased with what Lorimer was doing, but this absolutely cemented him as the right artist to be on this book. The final four pages are a wonderfully disturbing scene that hints at the horror without being explicit, and that’s the combination I like. I’m looking forward to what Lorimer is going to have Frank do. Overall grade: A

The colors: This book uses color to manipulate a reader’s perception. Joana Lafuente uses dark blues for the opening five pages to mirror the upcoming storm on America, with a wonderfully sickly green for the payoff on the computer monitor’s screen. Within the penitentiary the colors are dead and flat, much like the individual whose future is in question. I loved the coloring used for Frank’s visions. It matched the show’s and was startling, just as it should be. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene setting, sounds, dialogue, a quote from Seneca, newspaper text, and the tease for next issue are done by Shawn Lee. All are great, but it was hard not to focus on the dated BEEP of the computer on Page 5. Overall grade: A

The final line: A welcome return by Frank Black to the world of thrillers. If CSI is too light for you, this is what you want to check out. Black is back and the world is just a bit safer. Recommended. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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