Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Gene Ha
two years ago, Warren Ellis started up Global Frequency
with two promises: it would end at issue twelve and the
plot of each issue would be totally independent of every
other. Our long journey through Ellis’ experiment
has at last come to an end, and we can definitely rest assured
that the man stuck to his guns (though he could always give
us another volume of it later on), but how do you end a
series that… well… isn’t a series? How
do you tie it all together when there’s nothing to
have a big ol’ crisis, naturally.
story opens with Aleph (Global Frequency central ops’
sole operator) receiving word from an agent that a Pentagon
software program recently hiccupped and activated a satellite
under the “Die-Back Doctrine”, a supposedly
hypothetical plan to reduce the human race to a manageable
Miranda Zero scrambles all Global Frequency agents and learns
that the satellite is a star wars-era weapons platform built
to launch dense, super hard carbon fiber rods (termed “kinetic
harpoons”) at the Earth. The rods superheat but don’t
burn up during atmospheric re-entry and essentially do the
same damage as nuclear warheads without the bother of lingering
problem: Nobody ordered the damn thing to activate, nobody
can shut it down, the military team guarding the uplink
station are under orders to shoot on sight after activation,
and any spacecraft detected near the satellite will cause
it to drop it’s payload.
ya’ gonna call?
go against my normal policy of summarizing up to the staples
(midpoint of most comics, duh) and leave you guys at page
five. Yes, all that info was delivered in roughly five pages
of spacious panels, leaving the rest of the book to a classic
balancing act of problem solving and obstacle dodging. The
surprises are exciting, the laughs are big, and the end
will knock the wind out of you.
yeah, Ellis ended it right.
Frequency has had a slightly bumpy road scattered with
late releases, an inborn lack of character and plot depth
(for a series), and occasionally slack issues. I can’t
say that I’ve ever disliked an issue, but those that
consist almost entirely of one fight scene never grabbed
me the way this month’s entree does.
I really pity the poor schmucks who have to adapt some of
them into episodes for the upcoming TV series. I mean, how
the hell can you make the gratuitous brawl in “Superviolence”
(issue #10) fit the same timeslot you need for a slow deliberate
story like “Big Sky” (Eisner-nominated issue
#6). Then, on the other hand, there’s enough material
in this month’s “Harpoon” for them to
stretch it into a feature, if they dared.
this month’s issue really is one, if not the best,
of the series. Ellis brought in a couple of characters from
previous stories and gave us a touch more character development
with Miranda Zero, but the strategy here was more of a climax
in both theme and scope of the series.
has no qualms about pointing out how corrupt, small minded,
and thoroughly undependable our governments are. His vision
of what strong, courageous, imaginative people can do when
they shake free the shackles of The System is inspiring
beyond all reason, and this culmination of tackling a global-scale
threat merely bolsters your appreciation for the restraint
he exercised in so many prior stories.
Ha’s artwork is phenomenal, blending a slightly rough
pencil-touch with photo-realism so effectively it just angers
me all the more that he wastes any time doing covers. His
turn here was easily one of the top ranking of the twelve
different artists the series has gone through.
Lyon’s stylized water-color paint scheme fleshed the
whole thing out nicely but grated slightly against the photo-manipulation
work and some of the layering. Not a lot, mind you, but
it was noticeable. I guess the software still isn’t
as far along as we want it to be, but at least we’ve
gotten past the blatant failures from the early days of
thus, I guess it’s time to finally close the book
on Ellis’ first complete maxi-series. Not that it’s
really a series. Anyways- Ellis got it right. His one-shots
haven’t often wowed me, but Global Frequency
ended in a blaze of glory that will give readers new hunger
pangs and leave producers of the TV adaptation quaking in
their boots. A fine end, indeed.
when’s volume two coming out?