In the late 1990s, Chris Carter (creator of “The X-Files”) produced a short-lived television series that is still one of my all-time favorites: “Millennium.” It was about a retired criminal profiler named Frank Black who becomes involved with a group that investigates cases that seem to be related to human evil and end-of-the-world prophesies. The series was dark, thoughtful, and brimming with rich symbolism. It is the only television series for which I purchased all seasons on DVD (three box sets) so I could rewatch them whenever I felt inspired. This book is a collection of essays about the series, as well as interviews with the cast and creative team.
Because the network suddenly cancelled the show (ironically, right before the millennium), there has been a strong movement among the fan base to attempt to influence the network to back a film or limited series that would bring satisfactory closure to this complex program. As one of the essays states, this was part of the impetus for compiling and publishing this book.
We felt that a book might serve as a testament to Millennium, the campaign, and the fans of the show. I won’t harp on too much about the book given I’m sure you’ll have found time to, at the very least, read this page of it, but suffice to say what we envisaged is very much what it became. In some respects, you could say it became all it could be: an intelligent compendium of responses to a mature and well-crafted television series.
There is some interesting information in this book and I enjoyed reading it, but it is definitely intended for fans of the show and assumes that the reader is versed in the mythology and story arcs that are part of the series. I’ll conclude by sharing that I am currently working through the Season 3 box set of “Millennium,” and it is a little eerie to watch this 20+ years later. Almost makes me wonder if the biblical millennium did creep up on us while we were expecting Y2K computer failures and planes falling out of the sky. Maybe the end is more of a fizzle instead of a cataclysmic explosion.
I’ve had this comic for a few weeks now, but waited until I had finished Watchmen before reading it. I was on the fence about getting this, but some people that I know said good things about it, so I figured I would give it a shot. Glad I did!
First off, the artwork in this book is stunning. The detail in each panel demonstrates the amount of effort that went in to illustrating this story. While I am no artist, I can appreciate the attention to detail that a great illustrator puts into his or her work. I suspect that anyone reading this will be impressed with the drawings.
But of course, the key to any good story for me is the quality of the writing, which is outstanding. The story picks up where Watchmen left off, after the cataclysmic event that was supposed to unify humanity. But humans being what we are, conflicts again arise and humanity finds itself on the brink of extinction.
While this story is set in the early 1990’s, the creative team draws on current events and weaves the references and symbolism into the text and artwork. There are images of protesters carrying signs demanding that we “Make America Safe Again.” But the clearest example of the connection to current affairs is a series of panels depicting clips from various news sources.
“The President scored a hole in one earlier today, beating his previous record…”
“Less than two weeks into the collapse of the European Union, Russia has amassed its military in Belarus, and is threatening to enter Poland…”
“World leaders have proclaimed they will not stand by if blood is shed…”
“… North Korea now capable of reaching as far inland as Texas.”
“Hundreds have broken through the wall and flooded into Mexico. Thousands more are expected to follow…”
I had a discussion with a friend at a party recently about whether there is a higher level of anxiety about the “end of days” now as opposed to the mid-90’s at the height of the Y2K/millennium fears. I said that I think the anxiety is higher, but it is different. There is almost a sense of resignation associates with these fears, which make it the perfect climate for a story such as this.
I have been waiting for this issue to come out since I first heard about it. Often, when you are anticipating something, you can be disappointed. Not the case with this initial release. It was as good as I’d hoped it would be. My understanding is that this is slated as a five-issue miniseries. If you were a fan of the television series, I encourage you to give this a read. If you have never seen the show, then you will probably not find this comic interesting and should probably skip it.
The issue begins with a flashback to December 1999, the dawn of the new millennium. Two computer technicians are upgrading a system and discussing Y2K issues.
It’s almost the year 2000 and we’ve all gotten soft and fat and lazy. Meanwhile, sectarian unrest, governmental malfeasance, financial meltdowns, and wars for both resources and hegemony are always just over the horizon. Everyone thinks the good times are gonna last forever.
The issue then flashes to the present where Agent Mulder (yes, that Mulder from the X-Files) is at an early release hearing for a convict who supposedly used strange runes and deprivation to brainwash individuals into taking their own lives. Upon signing out, Mulder notices Frank Black’s signature on the visitor log and then locates him at a nearby motel.
I don’t want to give away too much, since I hate spoilers. Suffice to say that the tale gets very dark and mysterious. The writing is excellent; the artwork is very, very good; and the storyline connects well with both the Millennium and the X-Files television series.
I will share one other quote in closing: I encourage you to give this a read if you were a fan of the television series. If you have never seen the series, then you will probably not find this comic interesting and should probably skip it.
Frank Black: There are forces at work in this world, Agent Mulder. Patient, deliberate, and dark forces. They’ve been around since long before you and I, and they’re certainly going to be here after we’ve gone.
Agent Mulder: Which forces are we talking about, Frank? The monsters under the bed, or those who seek them out?
Frank Black: In my experience, if one doesn’t get you, the other will.
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