Sunday, June 17, 2012

Global Frequency Vol. 2 Detonation Radio Trade Paperback Review

Global Frequency Vol. 2 Detonation Radio
DC Comics - Wildstorm
Softcover Trade Paperback
144 pages
$14.95 (2004)
ISBN 9781401202910

Contributors: Warren Ellis, Lee Bermejo, Simon Bisley, Tomm Coker, Gene Ha, Jason Pearson, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Mike Heisler, David Baron, Art Lyon, and covers by Brian Wood

Reprints: Global Frequency #7-12 (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.

This is beyond hardboiled detective

  • Detonation - a group of terrorists target a peace talk and Miranda Zero must lead a team of black ops killers to stop them.  Can they get to the bomb in time?  Not everyone gets out alive
  • Miranda Zero has been kidnapped and the Global Frequency must stage a daring rescue before she is killed outright.  Can they find her in time?
  • Aleph reinstates a former Global Frequency member in Japan to investigate a major accident at a nearby hospital.  Takashi has significant reservations, but can't refuse the call to help those in need.  The experiments he finds in the hospital are horrific beyond imagination and he is pushed to the limit of sanity.  Will he be able to stop the perpetrators?
  • Superviolence - the Global Frequency send an assassin to kill an assassin.  Both men are experts at hand-to-hand combat along with utilizing a powerful mind-over-matter technique called biofeedback.  What happens when you throw two combatants at each other that can ignore pain and generate super-strength through sheer force of will?  Superviolence
  • Aleph - we get the secret origin of Aleph joining the Global Frequency as a group of terrorists attempt to infiltrate her secret bunker.  Is this nerd all computer keyboards and memory chips or can she defend herself in the real world?  Let's find out!
  • Harpoon - a doomsday weapon activates after an aging computer brainfarts and the Global Frequency must save the city of Chicago.  Miranda Zero must activate nearly all 1,001 members in this nail-biting thriller

Pros: Phenomenal lineup of artists, Ellis gives us some dark science fiction and conspiracy theory writing, Gene Ha's art is incredible, Lee Bermejo's art is awesome as well

Yeah, that's superviolence
Cons: Multitude of visual styles with new art team on each issue feels jarring and inconsistent, Wood's covers are boring (a little less boring than the first volume, but still boring), one-shot stories with no real plot progression except another crisis to avert

Mike Tells It Straight: Another installment of one-shot stories by Warren Ellis with new artists on each issue.  I get the concept of having a comic series be more like an episodic television show with self-contained stories each issue so new readers pick up any issue without feeling lost, but it's not my preferred story vehicle for the medium.  He also introduces and kills off new, interesting characters without any notice.

Some really great art here by big names and the stories are interesting.  The last issue by Ha alone is almost worth it - Ellis finally has what feels like a progression to the story as all the other Global Frequency members make guest appearances.  He gives the fans two major wins - stories for new readers to pick up and not feel lost plus actually killing off decent characters.  It's something the Big Two (Marvel and DC) are too afraid to do.  I seem to remember this series being heavily marketed in Borders and can see where the lack of coherent plot would appeal to the masses (who possess microthin attention spans).
Warren Ellis and Gene Ha must work together again!
My real complaint on these stories is the singular nature of each story (same gripe with vol. 1) with no real plot between them and having so many new characters we really don't get emotionally attached by the time they get killed off.  This volume felt like fast food black ops pulp (while vol. 1 was fast food sci-fi) and only held up by some killer artwork.  A neat throwaway series, but no lasting impression.

TO BUY and Recommendations: