Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Classics - The Prisoner

   I loved the TV show known as The Prisoner.

   It's a beloved 17-episode "mini-series" from 1967 starring Patrick McGoohan - and it almost defies description.

   It mixes a spy story with science fiction and psychedelia, all mashed together into a prison story - sorta.

   The story follows a British secret agent (we presume) who argues with his superiors (what about, we don't know). He is hit with knockout gas and awakens in an idyllic setting known as The Village.

   He is referred to only as "Number Six," though he argues "I am not a number! I am a free man!" In each episode he tries to escape the village, only to be captured and returned by an invincible, inescapable guard that looks like a... giant ball. (Honest!)
   He wages a battle of wits with the man who runs the village - Number Two. But is he working for the British government - or an enemy agency?

   Ah, and that last episode - a real mind-bender! (Whose ending I will not reveal.)

   Publishing companies have tried to adapt the series into comics (including attempts by Jack Kirby and Gil Kane, no less) - but this mini-series from DC is the only success story.

   Writer / artist Dean Motter, with co-writer Mark Askwith and colorist David Hornung, created this gem in 1988. It's a four-issue Prestige Format series that introduces some new characters (specifically a woman who is sailing solo around the world - but finds herself lost in a storm and wakes up on the beach by The Village.

   Like the TV show, the series is deep and convoluted, evoking images from the series and bringing back familiar characters and phrases.

   The art is stylish and wonderful, with stunning environments and layouts, and terrific character designs - and some sharp caricatures, too.

   Like the show, the story can be a bit of  challenge, and rewards re-reading to pick up some of the twists you might have missed.

   I love, too, the fact that the books are labeled with letters: a, b, c and d. They do not (have) a number!

Grade: A


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember it well! Good stuff!