In Review: Millennium #3

Frank Black's greatest fear has manifested, with seemingly no salvation. Recommended.

The covers: A beautiful painting of young Jordan Black from the late 1990s by menton3 is the Regular cover. This image looks just like Brittany Tiplady, the actress that portrayed Frank’s daughter on the series. If it weren’t for the disturbingly weathered background and the iconic Millennium sake behind her, this would be sweet. Now it’s an ominous threat to the hero of this series. Lance Henriksen, Frank Black himself, looks great in a casual pose, leaning on a concrete wall and ledge. I love the photocovers for this series. Overall grades: Regular A and Subscription A+

The story: Seattle, Washington. A graveyard during a downpour. A figure bolts over a hill, avoiding graves as a car screeches below him. The figure turns, hearing brakes. It’s Frank Black. He has visions of a car crash and a woman being strangled. His stomach is seeping blood–he’s been shot with a dart. He pulls the projectile from his gut and continues with his escape, leaving a bloody handprint on a tombstone. More cars encircle him. He has a vision of his wife. He screams her name before stumbling before a grave–Catherine’s. “I’m right here…” he says flipping on his back. “It’s the only place…I want to…” A voice comes from his side. “Oh my god–Dad?” Has his daughter Jordan arrived? Joe Harris certainly starts this issue with an incredibly strong opening and he doesn’t ever let up. The story goes back 24 hours to last issue’s ending, with Frank logged on to the Millennium Group’s webpage. Naturally, something happens while online, spurring him to go to Seattle. On Page 10 a surprising, familiar, and welcome trio make an appearance to assist the FBI agent from the previous two issues. I’m always thrilled to see these characters and wish they had their own spin-off comic series. On Page 17 the story is back in the present with the most devastating cliffhanger for Frank. I admit to uttering a quiet “Oh no” on reading the final page. Harris is putting Frank and readers through a devastating emotional journey and I never want this to end. Overall grade: A+

The art: The opening five pages of Frank in the graveyard are an excellent sequence rendered to cinematic perfection by artist Colin Lorimer. Page 2 is my favorite as wounded Frank is shown, intercut with his horrific visions. I really like that Lorimer has given every panel skewed borders to show the skewed state of Black. Also done in super style is the conversation on 8 and 9, with that second panel on 8 fantastic. The crooked panels return when the story catches up to the opening sequence. As much as I’ve enjoyed Lorimer’s work, there were two panels in this issue I felt cheated on: the final panels on Pages 18 and 19. The payoff for this issue is the individual losing his cool and I needed to see that rage clearly to be consumed by it. Sadly, both of these panels have too much shading in the face to hide the character’s full expression. Granted, this is only two panels out of the entire issue, but it hurts the climax. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Continuing her winning streak is colorist Joana Lafuente. Grays of many shades create a gothic feeling in the first five pages. Again, psychotic oranges intrude in Frank’s life as he has visions. I like the pale crimson leaking out of him and the coloring done on Frank’s craggy face, giving each wrinkle a story of untold pain from his past. The final three pages use a nice blue in a person’s jacket to distinguish him from those wearing ebony. Very nice. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, sounds, dialogue, tombstone engravings, a quote, a variety of computer screen fonts, drivers’ placards, and yells come courtesy of Chris Mowry. He does an excellent job with all the computer texts. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Frank Black’s greatest fear has manifested, with seemingly no salvation. What must he do to regain peace of soul? 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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