• Millennium (Trade Paperback)



    Millennium (Trade Paperback)
    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: August 12th, 2015.
    Written by: Joe Harris
    Illustrated by: Colin Lorimer
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    It’s been a while but Frank Black is back. But we’re going to need a refresher, right?

    “Previously on Millennium… With his unique ability to see into the minds of killers, profiler Frank Black left the FBI to join the Millennium Group, a covert team of former law enforcement experts battling the growing forces of evil in the world—or so he thought. The Group actually was bent on bringing about the apocalypse, and to that end became responsible for the death of Frank’s wife, Catherine. Eventually, the Millennium Group dissolved, and Frank and his daughter, Jordan—who shares his gift—became estranged.”

    So there you go. This new series, written by Joe Harris and illustrated by Colin Lorimer, starts in New York City in 1999. It’s Christmas Eve and a woman named Abby lets two men into the room where an office party is going down. These men are here to work on the servers – Abby asks them if this ‘Y2K thing is real.’ She leaves them to their work and goes back to the merry making. The two men talk about the state of the world, the lack of innocence in modern times and how nobody expects anything to really happen. The make a toast, and the device that the put into the computer room? It starts beeping…

    Cut to the present day inside a federal prison facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. Here Agent Mulder is talking about his experiences working a case referred to as the Black Lake Murders back in the late eighties and the subsequent conviction of a Mr. Propps, a serial killer whose methods involved occult practices. He’d keep his victims captive in a well in the remote hills of Oregon and once he released them, they’d been ‘turned’ – conditioned to ‘connect’ and ‘sympathize’ with Monte Propps, not unlike someone afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome. After they were freed, for reason Mulder can’t explain, the victims would drown themselves in a river near Propps’ cabin.

    Propps is up for early release on this day. Mulder protests it but the committee notes how Propps was never convicted of murdering his victims and how he’s been nothing but a model prisoner since his incarceration began. Shortly after, the lights in the room go out. When Mulder leaves, he sees a familiar signature in the register, one belonging to Frank Black. From here we head to a rundown motel where Black is staying. Newspapers are scattered everywhere and he flashes back to the era of the Black Lake Murders. Mulder arrives and they talk. Black has essentially gone off the grid. Black warns Mulder of the dark forces that are at work in the world, forces that Propps has a connection to. He tells him that the Millennium Group is no more but Black, he still has those flashbacks. Mulder tells him that Propps was let out of prison earlier that day…

    In issue two, Frank Black is using his ‘gift’ to see how Monte Propps died – he drowned, just as his victims did, but we learn that he wasn’t pushed under the water but instead he was dragged. Agent Mulder is curious to learn more as Frank explains that the women they saw at Propps’ hearing earlier that day is involved and that she ‘let something free.’ Neither man can decipher what the cryptic symbols painted in blood at the scene of the crime but before they call it a night, Mulder spots a young boy. He gives chase but the kid books it out of there fast.

    They find him sitting atop a dumpster in an alley a few minutes later, a familiar looking female corpse at his feet. Mulder calls in the Feds to deal with the mess and as Black checks out the scene, the boy speaks to him in a demonic voice – it’s Legion. Frank talks to the demon, they know that The Millennium Group killed Propps but Frank doesn’t know why. Legion explains that to those who know, Propps was simply currency. As Frank gets more aggressive with his questioning, a cop sees what looks like a man roughing up a young boy and as he puts a stop to it Legion coyly lets slide that he knows where Black’s estranged daughter is. By the time Mulder can get back to Frank, he’s gone. He takes a cab to a house, lets himself in and discovers evidence that ties his daughter to a newly formed Millennium Group.

    When the third issue begins, Frank is running through a cemetery in Seattle, the rain coming down around him. He’s been shot with a dart of some sort and he’s flashing back to Catherine’s death as he approaches her grave site. Jordan finds him there.

    Twenty-four hours prior, Frank was in a nondescript cafe looking up info on Monte Propps on his computer. He digs deeper into the Millennium Group’s database and looks up info on Jordan only for a complete stranger to approach him to discuss her situation, however vaguely. Meanwhile, Agent Mulder and some very familiar looking computer hacker types are going ‘deep web’ into the Millennium Group’s digital history, but getting in is only the first part – once they’re there, they’re easily lost. What they are able to ascertain, however, is that Frank Black, who vanished quickly from that café, bought a one way ticket home on a plane that just landed in Seattle. We see him land, a driver chauffeurs him to a destination that he won’t reveal but on the way, those visions he’s plagued with… he sees Catherine again. All of this tie into the opening pages, as someone welcomes Frank back to Seattle in a rather unorthodox manner…

    When this fourth issue begins, we flashback to a college party at Washington State circa 2011. A drunken male student gets a little too heavy with a coed and it ends poorly for him. He winds up talking to a woman who appears dressed in a strange cloak. He figures he’s going to get lucky after all, until she speaks to him in Latin and pulls a knife on him. She cuts her own hand as he jumps out the window and after he crashes to the ground, she lets the blood from her open wound drip down from above onto his lifeless body below. A man comes up behind her and congratulates her.

    In present day Seattle, Frank is confronting his daughter Jordan. He’s chastising her for her newfound affiliation with the Millennium Group and she’s telling him that he doesn’t understand. It’s a typical father-daughter argument about a very atypical issue. This ends poorly and after things get way too heated, Jordan’s ‘associate’ Quentin shows up. He speaks to Frank, telling him that she still suffers for her psychic abilities, explaining to him how The Millennium Group looked after her in his absence – not at all what Frank wants to hear.

    Quentin escorts Jordan and Frank into a dark room inhabited by mysterious, shadowy mean congregated around a table with The Millennium Group’s logo on it. Frank makes it very clear that he’s leaving as soon as he can convince Jordan to do the same, he wants nothing to do with these men ever again. Jordan, however, sees things differently – Frank has been brought back because they want his help combating what Jordan describes as ‘a mutual threat.’ Meanwhile, Mulder is still trying to find out where exactly Frank went and why.

    When the last issue begins, Frank has returned to Seattle hoping to get to his daughter, who shares his gift and also has tie to the Millennium Group, before it’s too late. He gets there, but not in time. Mulder, who has been trying to find Frank since he split the case that they were working on together, has arrived at Frank’s old house hoping to find him there but he instead finds ‘Lucy’ – a strange woman who is not what she seems and who claims to be an old friend of Frank’s. She coerces him into waiting for Frank together.

    Frank, meanwhile, is at a rental car place hoping to find out where Mulder has gotten off to. He asks Jordan to use her ability to find Mulder. She tries, but sees something else entirely and can’t trace Fox – but she does see the house. Frank gets in a Jeep and heads off to find him – and he does, but Mulder is not himself. He warns Frank to get out but Lucy reveals her true self…

    Joe Harris brings this series to a pretty satisfying conclusion, one that wraps up the loose ends while still leaving plenty of opportunity for further Frank Black stories in the future. Things don’t play out exactly how you expect them to here, there are a couple of nice twists and an eerie edge to storyline’s finale. Again, bringing Mulder into things makes sense and doesn’t feel like a novelty idea or a cash-in on the popularity of The X-File and Harris writes both Black and Mulder true to character. The resolution of the plot involving Jordan is well played here and the scenes in which Frank and Jordan ‘see’ are put to good use and both further the plot and tie in to Frank Black’s past in nice ways.

    Colin Lorimer, with help on colors by Joana Lafuente, continues to create moody and suspenseful artwork that suits the story perfectly. Frank Black operates in a world of shadows so things are obviously going to be pretty dark here – and they are – but not at the cost of detail in the line art. The old house makes for an appropriately creepy place for all of this to occur in and here Lorimoer and Lafuente do a great job of creating a look and atmosphere of decay, neglect and somber darkness.

    All in all, this was a pretty successful revival of Millennium that fans of the TV series should more than enjoy. Here’s hoping we get these guys back for another run with Frank Black in the not too distant future.

    This TPB collects all five issues of the mini-series as well as the covers (including the variants) and it also shows off a few black and white inked pages that Colin Lorimer did before they were colored.