ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Millennium: The Girl Who Danced with Death’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Girl Who Danced with Death

Millennium: The Girl Who Danced with Death is published by Hard Case Crimes, an imprint of Titan Comics. The creative team behind it includes writer Sylvain Runberg, artist Bélen Ortega, and it was translated by Rachel Zerner. The Girl Who Danced with Death is an all-new story that follows Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist from the famed Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larson.

Set after the events of the original books, the characters quickly find themselves caught up in a conspiracy awash in government cover-ups and right-wing fascism. What begins as a night out at a concert, attempted kidnapping included, quickly escalates into a cross-country manhunt for Lisbeth, as she sees a friend taken from her side and is forced to reach out to old friends for support.

Meanwhile, Blomkvist’s magazine Millennium is investigating a right-wing leader whose party is threatening the political landscape on a platform of xenophobia, intolerance, and isolation. When Blomkvist refuses to back down from political pressures, radical followers are more than willing to push him through more direct means.

The examples of political spin-doctoring and manipulation in the Blomkvist side of the story wouldn’t be so painful if it wasn’t so real. One of many topics shown within the pages of this story that feel uncomfortably real. How these two separate occurrences connect is something I can’t get into without major spoilers, but I found it to be a fascinating ride from start to finish.

In regards to that realness, Millennium: The Girl Who Danced with Death is hard to read in some places, as it addresses issues of racism, fear, and violence that are very prevalent throughout culture today. It doesn’t shy away from the pain and rage infusing these situations, as is exemplified in the character of Lisbeth. Just like in the original stories, you always feel for Lisbeth and what she has suffered.

In this story, she is put through another blender, but even though she hurts, she always turns that hurt into a self-preserving rage that can be just as intimidating, as the violence perpetrated on her. The commentary about world culture and politics is both provocative and painful but is filled with an honest hurt that needs to be shown and called out, as our world becomes more separated from itself as it becomes more polarized before our eyes.

Writer Sylvain Runberg does a solid job juggling several different threads to the story, keeping the pace high and not letting anyone get forgotten in the shuffle. The only minor problem I had was with so many storylines and individuals involved with the story I did find myself a couple of times needing to pause and sort out who or what the characters had just discussed.

Bélen Ortega’s art vividly captures the emotions being displayed during the hardest sequences in this book. Pain, terror, hate, regret, and compassion are all displayed in due course and done in a masterful fashion. With only a few moments of “same faces” throwing me off of who was talking, the art delivered exactly what I wanted it to.

While The Girl Who Danced with Death is a powerful and painful, story striding to shine a light on the dangers that are permeating modern culture. It is a hard read that might not be for everyone. Like with the original books, it had a moment or two I struggled with, but at the end, I was happy it was an experience I had chosen to engage with. 

Millennium: The Girl Who Danced with Death will be available at comic stores and online retailers everywhere on January 29, 2019. 

Millennium: The Girl Who Danced with Death
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TL;DR

While The Girl Who Danced with Death is a powerful and painful, story striding to shine a light on the dangers that are permeating modern culture. It is a hard read that might not be for everyone. Like with the original books, it had a moment or two I struggled with, but at the end, I was happy it was an experience I had chosen to engage with.