Graphic Novel/Comics Review

Global Frequency: Planet Ablaze

(2004) Warren Ellis, Titan Books, 12.99, trdpbk, 142pp, ISBN 1-840-23849-6

The Global Frequency has 1001 members, each with a particular talent placed at the discretionary use of Miranda Zero as a worldwide rescue service - sort of Thunderbirds but without the neat craft. The members might be bio-weapons experts or 'merely' a champion of Le Parkour Running (running across buildings and suchlike), but each are on the Global Frequency and kept in constant communication with Aleph, Miranda's co-ordinator, via mobile vid-phones. This book is a collection of the first six issues of the Wildstorm comic. The first tale, "Bombhead" illustrated by Garry (Marvelman) Leach, concerns a foreign 'sleeper' agent who is an apport (able to teleport objects) who inadvertantly threatens to bring a nuclear device into the heart of San Francisco. "Big Wheel" with Glen (Preacher) Fabry follows a team as they try to take out a 'bionic man' before he can threaten Los Angeles. "Invasive", drawn by Steve (Hellblazer) Dillon, is about an alien memetic invasion ( a 'viral' idea). Roy Allan Martinez illustrates "Hundred" in which a cult take hostages and threaten to blow them up unless Australian authorities hand over control to space-gods. In "Big Sky", with artist Jon J Muth, a Norwegian village becomes catatonic when they experience a consensual mass hallucination of an angel. And in "The Run" London is threatened by an aerosol bomb containing Ebola Zaire, illustrated by David (V for Vendetta) Lloyd.

All of which is very well; the tales exciting, the artwork intriguing, the writing crisp and intelligent, but.. Well, there's little (other than the mere fact of the characters Miranda Zero and Aleph) to link the tales, or provide any backstory, or to explore the origins of the Global Frequency network or, indeed, to lift the idea beyond a few 'race against time' thrillers. Now there's nothing really wrong with that, but I can't help feeling that readers expect a little more, especially from Warren Ellis. Maybe I'm wrong. I await further developments.

Tony Chester

Other of Warren Ellis' work reviewed on this site include: Stormwatch: Final Orbit, Transmetropolitan: Spider's Thrash, Transmetropolitan: Year of the Bastard.

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