Graphic Novel/Comics Review

Global Frequency: Detonation Radio

(2005) Warren Ellis, Titan Books, 10.99, trdpbk, 136pp, ISBN 1-840-23858-5

This second volume of Global Frequency collects issues 7-12 of the current title. Miranda Zero's 'rescue' organisation utilises 1001 agents, each an expert in a particular field, to tackle crises from nukes to rogue memes infecting the population. The first story features a nuke, lots of violent humour, and is drawn by the talented Simon Bisley (looking a bit like Geof Darrow on this occasion). In the second, someone is stupid enough to kidnap Miranda and we see how her organisation deals with that, courtesy of Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. Lee Bermejo illustrates the third tale (beautifully coloured by David Baron, by the way), in which a mind altering drug infects some surgeons with horrific effects. 'Superviolence' is the weakest tale in the book, drawn by Tomm Coker, not because of the artwork, which is fine, but because the story is self-indulgent and pointless - basically it's one long fight (almost as boring as the fistfight in John Carpenter's They Live). In 'Aleph' Global Frequency's headquarters (and the eponymous character) are in danger from an infiltration unit. Aleph proves she's not just a pretty telephone voice and the bad guys learn that you just don't mess with GF. Jason Pearson's art on this is a bit pedestrian, but that's probably just because of the company he's keeping in this volume. The final tale, 'Harpoon', featuring the excellent artwork of Gene Ha, concerns an armed satellite which is accidentally primed to drop a kinetic harpoon on the US, which will trigger an automatic all out retaliatory strike if it's not stopped. All in a day's work then...

This is quite a quirky title but, on the whole, I'd have to say it hits more often than it misses. It's not really Ellis's best work (in my opinion that would be Transmetropolitan), but it's well worth a read, especially if you can see the funny side to extreme violence! Probably not a title for the kiddies. You might be surprised to learn that there has been a TV pilot produced and that negotiations are underway for a full series. We can only hope it's a late night/HBO kinda thing. There'd just be no point in doing it if it's a watered down, early evening gig. Anyway, recommended to those of a twisted disposition, but you should probably stay away if ultraviolence isn't your bag.

Tony Chester

See also: Orbiter, Planetary: Crossing Worlds, Stormwatch: Final Orbit, Transmetropolitan: Spider's Thrash, and Transmetropolitan: Year of the Bastard.

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