Sunday, June 10, 2012

Global Frequency Vol. 1 Planet Ablaze Trade Paperback Review

Global Frequency Vol. 1 Planet Ablaze
DC Comics - Wildstorm
Softcover Trade Paperback
144 pages
$14.95 (2004)
ISBN 9781401202743

Contributors: Warren Ellis, Garry Leach, Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry, David Lloyd, Roy Martinez, Jon J. Muth, Liam Sharp, David Baron, Michael Heisler, and covers by Brian Wood

Reprints: Global Frequency #1-6 (of 12)

Synopsis: The Global Frequency organization is an independent coalition of 1,001 individuals working together for the greater good.  Headed by former intelligence agent Miranda Zero the group's main focus is stopping catastrophes conventional authorities cannot and attempting to save lives.  Utilizing special modified handhelds and a briefcase full of unique equipment for each agent, the Frequency cleans up dark science landmines left by former governments and twisted black ops programs.  A girl codenamed Aleph acts as their information hub in a secret, underground bunker.

  • 'Bombhead' - a former cold war weapon will be unleashed in San Francisco as a deep cover Soviet spy's head begins surging with energy.  Miranda Zero must uncover the secret in order to save the city
  • 'Big Wheel' - a full body cyborg goes on a killing rampage in the black ops tech facility 'Big Wheel' when a lab tech accidentally shows him a mirror and the cyborg sees exactly what has been done to him (if you can still call him a 'him' after they removed his genitals).  The reality of artificial prosthetics granting superpowers is not as romantic as the comic books make it seem.  Miranda Zero leads a squad to stop the cyborg including a woman with a cybernetic arm
  • 'Invasive' - an extraterrestrial mind-virus invades Manhattan overriding the personality of people it comes in contact with.  Miranda Zero calls in a memetic expert to decode the virus before it spreads across the city
  • 'Hundred' - a group of internet consultants form a cult and are going to blow up a group of hostages to gain hits on their website.  An Aboriginal cop and assassin team up to kill one hundred web geeks
  • 'Big Sky' - in a remote Norwegian town the people begin acting strangely and committing suicide after a group of skinheads burn down a church.  Miranda Zero and a contingency of GF scientists investigate the cause of the mass hysteria.  Among them are a magician who may answer what science cannot
  • 'The Run' - a parkour runner must race across the city to attempt to defuse a bomb carrying a deadly flesh-eating virus

So that's why we're not all running around with bionic arms
Pros: Good lineup of artists, Ellis pushes the envelope on some neat science fiction (future) concepts, Baron's colors on each issue anchor the multiple visual styles a bit

Cons: Inconsistent visuals with different artist each issue, covers by Wood are boring, Ellis' science fiction is fast and loose - he's just trying to jam any new age concept into some type of story

Mike Tells It Straight: Ellis dazzles us with high concept science fiction mixed with a little spy action.  I liked a few of the ideas he chose to expound here, but the one-shots with multiple-artists format killed any story momentum.  It was just another situation with different people being directed by Miranda Zero (a female Nick Fury minus the eyepatch).  The Global Frequency formula sounds good on paper, but completely diffused in reality with no plot points carried to forward issues.
I like to imagine pretty girls are running across city
rooftops doing parkour almost constantly nowadays
The covers by Brian Wood felt incredibly static with vague graphics and nothing really took hold here.  I really liked Ellis' explanation of cyborg technology.  In the end Global Frequency is just fast food sci-fi pulp with a few highlight situations/concepts and an artist jam.  I expect the final volume of the series to be much of the same.

TO BUY and Recommendations: