Monday, 7 April 2014

Global Frequency, Volume 1: Planet Ablaze Review (Warren Ellis, Glenn Fabry)


The Global Frequency is a secret network of 1001 agents led by the mysterious Miranda Zero who take out apocalyptic threats to the planet. Terrorists with ebola virus bombs, angelic reckonings of remote villages, cyborg experiments turned mass murderers, computer programs that turn people into zombies, and so forth. 

Each chapter is drawn by a different artist and features a new catastrophe and a new group of agents, the only constants in the cast being Miranda Zero and Aleph (think Barbara Gordon/ Oracle). And that’s part of the problem why this book doesn’t work - there’s no time to develop characters or plot, you’re just presented with a scenario, usually involving people shouting at one another “We gotta go! Time’s running out! RUN RUN RUN!!!”, and told that there are life or death stakes, end of the world stuff, and that’s it. 

We know nothing about the Global Frequency itself, it’s just there, the characters are just there and have been part of the group for years, the villains are just there to serve the purpose of being the villains - everything about the comic is so contrived. It’s the laziest type of storytelling that seems to only serve as a medium for Warren Ellis to throw out some vague ideas and work them out quickly as hypotheticals before moving on to the next shallow “story”. 

I understand now where he got the approach for his Secret Avengers run at Marvel with the Global Frequency series - done in one team stories featuring singular art and “exciting” plots - but, like Secret Avengers, Global Frequency feels too rushed and superficial to fully engage me. 

It does feature some excellent art from artists like Garry Leach, Glenn Fabry, Steve Dillon, David Lloyd, and Jon Muth though, so there’s that. But Global Frequency is just mindless, nonstop action - if that sounds good, then you’ll love this book, but I couldn’t care about anything that happened in it. “Half of London’s about to be wiped out!!!”, uh, whatever. “We did it, we saved half of London!!!” - was there ever any doubt? “Now half of Los Angeles is about to be wiped out!!!” etc. etc. Yawn.

Oh and that repeated line - “You’re on the Global Frequency” - is just cheeseballs!

Global Frequency: Planet Ablaze

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