Review: Millennium #1
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: 21 January 2015
Quote: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” –Seneca the Younger
Review: The time is now. Frank Black is back. This long-awaited return of Chris Carter’s Millennium won’t be seen on the Fox network, however, or on any IMAX screen. It’s happening at your local comic book shop. Seeing this dark and experimental drama series resurrected in the shadowy panels of a comic book from IDW Publishing is somehow apt. Millennium was a television series distinguished by its dramatic storytelling and striking imagery, the very elements that are essential in great sequential art. In this five-part limited series, IDW has the potential to distill the very essence of a celebrated cult masterpiece.
As the man behind IDW’s The X-Files, writer Joe Harris has refined a formula that delivers readers a satisfying blend of the old and the new, seizing upon forgotten threads from the television mythology and spinning them into ambitious new plots. Millennium #1 begins with a reminder that it was a monograph on serial killers and the occult written by none other than FBI Agent Fox Mulder that led to the capture of notorious killer Monte Propps. With Propps due to be released from a federal prison, Fox Mulder finds himself face-to-face with the legendary Frank Black once more. A clear effort is being made to unify two fandoms in celebration of Millennium’s return.
As characters, Mulder and Black share a great deal in common. They make for a fine team, joining forces to investigate the unsolved mysteries surrounding Propps’s crimes, and the ensuing tale is infinitely more satisfying than the misjudged crossover between the two series that unfolded on television. Nevertheless, this opening chapter certainly leaves us wanting more—more action, more answers, and more of Frank Black. Undoubtedly, the hero will be allowed to take a stand at center stage as the drama unfolds in subsequent issues.
Otherwise, the balance is pitch-perfect. Beginning with a chilling prologue in which a pair of Millennium Group operatives toast to the impending destruction of the World Trade Center, the first issue of this bold miniseries offers an exciting blend of familiar characters, ominous mysteries, and arresting visuals. Though Millennium was a series that explored versatile themes through versatile perspectives, Harris has seemingly blended three season’s worth of intrigue and horror into a single coherent storyline. The art by Colin Lorimer is both clear and nuanced, capturing the lines in Frank Black’s familiar face and also, at times, adopting familiar camera angles. Even the colors by Joana Lafeuente capture that trademark oscillation between the bleak grays and blues of our hero’s world and the vivid, dangerous color to be witnessed in his prophetic visions. This comic tale is, in every way, recognizably Millennium.
It’s clear from the start, IDW’s Millennium is required reading for all those who have waited and worried in the years since the series left the air. While there is no doubt that a cinematic event would prove more satisfying, the comic book series delivers what so many viewers have demanded. Through the saga of his struggle against the evils and injustices of our world, Frank Black has served as an inspiration for millions. The millennium did not bring the end. At long last, that epic saga continues here.
Further Reading: Chris Carter and Lance Henriksen join the cast and crew of Millennium in reflecting on the making of the television series as well as discussing the need for its return in Back to Frank Black, available in hardcover, paperback, and electronic editions from Fourth Horseman Press.