Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Benjamin's Millennial Compendium - Comics 2

Benjamin Billings next review is in for Issue 2 of IDW’s Millennium comic book. Written by Joe Harris, with art by Colin Lorimer, and the cover by menton3 – already the comic seems to be finding it’s voice, which is great to see.

The Time Is Near
The first issue of the new Millennium comic by IDW was a slow boil. It lulled you in, but the laconic pace is shattered in this next edition. Spoilers will abound.

The second volume of the Millennium Comic picks up right were the first one left off. Monte Propps is dead, murdered, and the scene of his death bears a striking resemblance to those of his victims. When Fox Mulder and Frank Black investigate they determine that Propps did not appear to be pushed under the water so much as dragged. Unable to decipher the symbols at the scene, they hope for a witness that may know more.

As if on command, a boy appears at the doorway.  Mulder chases him with Black hot on his heels. This is the exact moment I loved this book.  Delivering a scare in the comic form is tough, but Harris and his team pull it off when Black stops Mulder saying, “You of all people should understand that whatever’s running away from you is also leading you somewhere.” My skin crawled. And I had no idea that it was about to get exponentially better.

Following the boy, they find a dead woman. While Mulder calls it in to the FBI (the local police by now are on the scene), Black finds a moment to talk to the boy. When the boy says, “I made you an offer once.  That offer still stands.” I could not have been more pleased. Black immediately knows who he is talking to and immediately my mind is drawn back to season one of the show with episodes like “The Judge” and “Powers, Principalities, Thrones, and Dominions.”  As a fan, this sort of tie-in reassured me at once that the creative team on this book knows their source material. Drawing from such powerful episodes and tying this book into the main story arc of the first and second season was a huge treat for this fan.

The dialogue with the child is spot on. Full of layer and nuance. He tries to draw similarities between himself and Black and then delivers the third revelation of this book (keep in mind we are only seven pages in), that the Millennium Group is behind Propps death. Given who supplied the information it is suspect, but Black seems to believe the boy.

By now, Black has had enough and grabs the boy.  A policeman intercedes quickly.  As Black releases the boy the boy whispers, “I know where she is, Frank.  Your daughter, I mean.  Let me help you.”  By the next panel, Black is nowhere to be found and the boy is still there so we assume that Black has yet again turned this entity’s offer down.

When we next see Black he is in a cab headed to a home he is unfamiliar with.  He is thinking of the closing scene in The X-Files episode, “Millennium,” where he and Jordan are running down the corridor.  Verifying the address, he leaves the cab and finds a way into the house. He reveals that he was sent here, admitting that he has actually accepted the boy’s help. Immediately I wondered what this will ultimately cost him because help like he received would not have come for free.

Black searches the house which apparently belongs to an FBI agent. He finds a laptop and boots it up. The screen loads with the ouroboros of the Millennium Group. Black has scant seconds to react to this revelation before someone enters the home. The newcomer calls out to Black, realizing there is an intruder in his home and draws a pistol. Among the things he says is, “If it is free now, it’s all but over.”

The actors are set in motion and when they collide they do so ferociously. Black manages to disarm the man but in return suffers a jarring kick to the bag. Black scrambles to get the firearm and points it at the man. The man grabs the weapon and smashes Black in the face with it. Responding to Black’s questions the man calls him by name saying, “I think you know the answers to your own questions, Frank.” He then places his thumb over Blacks finger which is over the trigger. Pulling the gun to his chest he says, “This is who we are” before forcing Black to pull the trigger.

In lesser hands I would wonder what is being shown in the next two panels featuring Black. Because Harris and his team know the source material so well, I can make a safe guess what it is. Black sits on the floor beside the dead man and replays in his head killing the Polaroid Man. Again, actors outside his control threaten his family. Again despite his gift, he is left trying to keep ahead of it all and wishing desperately that this does not end like it did with his wife. He came to the house to find information about Jordan, after all.

This part of the story ends with Mulder asking Scully to cover for him as this is going to take some more time to wrap up. Black is gone and he has taken the laptop with him.  The final scene shows him at a coffee shop.  He attempts to log in to the computer using his old password, “Soylent Green is People” and to his surprise the laptop opens and says, “It has been 5527 days since the new millennium.”  Closing here almost seems cruel, but it is sure way to make sure we are chomping at the bit for the next issue.

Through the book the art and dialogue are very tight.  Coloring is wonderful and atmospheric.  It is hard to find anything to fault this book for. The worst thing I can say is that it is too short.

Reservations that the first book was merely an X-Files book with Frank Black in a supporting role were proven to be undeserved. This is full on Millennium, the fun, the claustrophobia, and the building dread.  Truthfully this is better than we as fans have been hoping for.  I consider this book a must-have for any fan of Millennium.  It is actually better than some of the show’s televised episodes and I cannot wait to see what the next issue holds in store for us.

Special Thanks to XScribe for editorial assistance.

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