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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

The Prisoner #3


Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Colourist: Joana Lafuente
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.65, US $3.99
Age: 17+
32 pages
Publication Date: 27 June 2018

Number Six is dead. Long live Number Six. Tasked with infiltrating the mysterious Village, MI5 agent Breen has achieved his objective. He is now a prisoner of the isolated community and has been renamed Number Six. However, to his horror he discovered that his boss, Section, had also been abducted, forcing Number Six to lead a daring escape, along with Section and his fellow agent and ex-lover Carey. Together they escaped the Village in a hijacked London double-decker bus. Then, while eating a sandwich and staring up at the stars, Number Six took out his gun, and with no warning shot himself in the head. Now read on…

The first issue of this miniseries didn’t feel much like The Prisoner of old, whereas the second boasted a number of recognisable ingredients. Issue #3 of The Uncertainty Machine changes tack again, finding a third way, as it were, by remaining true to the spirit of the original while also expanding upon its established universe.

The psychodrama element of the show remains intact, though it has been updated technologically with the use of virtual reality. It seems obvious in retrospect that this would be the get-out clause for last issue’s cliffhanger, that the whole thing had been an illusion, but writer Peter Milligan managed to pull the wool over my eyes by making some scenes seem a lot more real than others. If anything, the hallucinations in this instalment become even more bizarre, including nightmarish visions of giant spiders and other monsters.

The Village’s resident beasts, the Rovers, also benefit from some development. Here Breen discovers where the deadly balloons are housed – in an underwater chamber that looks horrifyingly biological. Encased in what appear to be blood-red tendrils or sinews, one gets the impression that the Rovers could be eggs or, even more disturbingly, tumours.

There are also more familiar images to keep nostalgic fans happy, such as another fistfight between Number Six and a guard, and a couple of shots of a Rover smothering the face of its latest victim. One or two of the elderly residents of a psychiatric ward visited by Breen might also stir intriguing feelings of recognition. Who do I mean? That would be telling!

As my appreciation for this story continues to grow, you can be certain that I’ll be seeing the next and final part of The Uncertainty Machine.


Richard McGinlay

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