Monday, January 10, 2005

1001 Bullets - Global Frequency

Blast...I already ran through all the "You Decide - 2005" comics that I had readily available. I guess I'll have to wait for the next comic delivery to do entries on the other ones (and remember, you can still take part in "You Decide - 2005"!). So here is the last one, for now.

Global Frequency, a year long mini-series that only took 14 years to finish (okay, it only missed its deadline by nine months...but still, it was annoying).

Glibal Frequency, one of the ultimate "high concept" books (which is why it is still being shopped around as a TV series).

The high concept is as follows. A woman runs an organization that is around the Globe, and has people who are "on the Global Frequency," ready to be called into service at a moment's notice when there is need for their particular brand of skill sets (or if they just happen to be the closest person to the action).

Like 100 Bullets (at least 100 Bullets initially), each story is a self-contained story with a rotating cast of characters, except the two constants in the series.

Miranda Zero - The head of the Global Frequency

Aleph - The woman with a "one in a million mind" who heads up the dispatch center of the Global Frequency, getting into contact with all the 1001 (current) members of the Global Frequency.

The other gimmick with this 12-issue mini-series, beside the rotating cast, is a rotating team of artists, one for each of the 12 issues.

Now, I'll detail what I thought of each issue (along with, in bold, the artist for that particular issue).

#1 - Garry Leach - This was a great introduction into the world of Global Frequency. It demonstrated how these people are just normal human beings who just get called into duty as, well, basically superheroes. This story was a really good adventure yarn, as a former Russian agent, with a deteriorating device in his mind, poses a grave danger to everyone in America. The action goes at a breakneck pace, and the issue really epitomizes how it feels to be called out of nowhere to basically save two huge countries.

#2 - Glenn Fabry - The team is placed into a complex where a cyborg soldier is loose. Ellis has fun here making a "realistic" cyborg, and Fabry goes all out depicting what an actual cyborg would look like. The action goes a lot like an Alien movie, except for the amusing, black comedy ending. Nice issue.

#3 - Steve Dillon - One of those issues where a good 20% of the issue is spent explaining the idea used in the issue. Sorta like a Doug Moench comic, only actually interesting. In this issue, a memetics expert is the only hope of saving a neighborhood before drastic measures are taken, when a meme is loosed like a virus. The only hope? Codify human relationships as an equation. Should be no problem, right? Heh.

#4 - Roy A. Martinez - Probably the least acclaimed of the artists involved, this is just a flat out Die Hard-esque shoot 'em out involving two GF members, a cop and a secret agent against a group of terrorists. Martinez can draw some nice action, and that is what Ellis caters to.

#5 - Jon J. Muth - Another Moench-esque story, as this is a supernatural/scientific issue, to explain what may have been a visiting by an angel in an Icelandic (at least I am pretty sure it was Iceland) town. Muth's art works perfectly for the sort of X-Files feel Ellis was going for in this issue.

#6 - David Lloyd - This was a fun story. The conceit is that the Global Frequency member at work in the issue is a "le parkour" expert. "Le parkour" is basically city running. Sorta like what Tarzan does through the trees, only in a city. The GF member spends the whole issue running the city like an obstacle course. It was a really fun issue, and Lloyd ably assists on pencils.

#7 - Simon Bisley - Another example of playing to the artist's strength. This issue, similar in nature to #4, involves the search for a terrorist in a building. It is SUPER (graphically) violent. But it is a well told story, with a fulfilling ending.

#8 - Chris Sprouse - Miranda Zero is kidnapped, and the GF only have about a little under an hour to save her. This was a really fun, old fashioned detective comic, deciphering the clues on the way to rescuing her. One of my favorites.

#9 - Lee Bermejo - This was a fairly depressing issue, reminscient of Ellis' work on Stormwatch and Orbiter, going into the realm of deformities and freak experimentation. Bermejo knows how to draw dark stuff, so it works...but not a fun time.

#10 - Tomm Coker - I used to be a big Tomm Coker fan, but not so much as of late. In any event, this issue is just pretty much ENTIRELY just hand to hand between a GF member and a bad guy. There is a pretty twisted ending involving should I say...unwanted amputation. But a pretty silly issue, overall.

#11 - Jason Pearson - This was a fun issue spotlighting Aleph, as we see how she joined the Global Frequency, and what happens when the bad guys come for HER. What happens when Aleph has to do something other than dispatch? I really dig Pearson's art.

#12 - Gene Ha - This issue tries to cap it all off, by basically redoing #1 (even some familiar faces from over the 12 issues stop by) in breakneck pace, but also taking the situation to TRULY global proportions (even OUTside the globe, as it were!). This was definitely a fun issue, as, like #1, when it ends - not only are the CHARACTERS exhausted, so is the reader!!!

So what did you guys think of the series?

Which was your favorite issue (mine was #6)?

Who was your favorite artist (mine was Pearson)?


Blogger Stony said...

I liked the le parkour issue and the Iceland issue

In my mind, Global Frequency is like a successful redoing of Mission: Impossible

1/10/2005 06:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the Le Parkour issue- especially when the little girl says "Daddy, Spider-Man is a girl adn she looks just like us!"

The Lee Bermejo issue was very dark, but I loved the art so damn much.

Global Frequency really energized me. It's something I recommend to people all the time. Every issue is self-contained, every issue has great art, every issue has a cool idea. I wish more comics were like this. Decompressed storytelling is all well and good, but it's nice to have a single issue read that leaves you wanting more.


1/10/2005 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. Rice said...

I dunno. What if you haven't liked a single thing Ellis has written since StormWatch? Not a single damn thing. His name is an automatic an indicator to me as Claremont's. Sure, he's a better writer, but I'm just as certain I'm going to find it tedious and unenjoyable.

1/10/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger TCSmith said...

#10 and #11 were my favorites, 10 beign one of my favorites single issues of a comic ever. Yeah, it's one long fight scene, but it's paced so well with a great set up and an awesome climax at the end. Visceral! I loved Coker's art on it too, so I'll say he was my favorite. By the way, does anyone remember the TV show Masquerade? It was the same conept of getting specialized civilians to be part of a task force to complete spy missions. I just vagely remember the show, but I remember one episode they had a construction worker as part of the team. His job was to use a jackhammer to tunnel into a casino. Yeah.

1/10/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Bastarður Víkinga said...

The town in #5 was Norwegian, IIRC, not Icelandic.

But he talks of Iceland a lot in his work, it seems. He writes what he knows, I assume, and he really seems to have a hard-on concerning us Icelanders.

As for the series, it seemed to me it was one of the series you really need to read in the monthly episodic format. As I, mainly a trade reader, found myself, after reading both trades in one sitting, with the disappointing feeling of 'Meh' afterwards.

~ Viking Bastard

1/10/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger obsolete said...

I need to go back and reread Global Frequency. I remember liking a few of the issues, but nothing that really got me excited. In fact, I think we stopped at #10. At that time, I really had the same attitude about Ellis as Joe. It'd been about three years of almost unreadableness from him.

But, lately, he's been firing on all cylinders for me. I loved the latest issue of Planetary, and am REALLY liking Ultimate Fantastic Four and Iron Man. He's writing about subjects I find interesting now, and doing it with severely reduced wankertude. I never imagined that I would ever like "Iron Man." He does the decompression thing at times, but he does it in a satisfying fashion. I find, anyway.

1/10/2005 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"The town in #5 was Norwegian, IIRC, not Icelandic."

Hehe...thanks for the clarification. Now I feel so pleased that I remembered to put the qualifier in there.

1/10/2005 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

The only issue I've read is the second one. I liked it well enough, especially once Fabry's art grew on me. I've been meaning to look for a full set on E-Bay, as I like the concept, and really want to read the Sprouse, Ha, and Bermejo issues.

1/11/2005 03:12:00 AM  
Blogger Paul McEnery said...

Did nobody actually get that Global Frequency is Thunderbirds?

And that the big wrinkle is that it's a distributed network instead of a centralized hierarchy?

And that the hidden agenda of the series is that it's opposed to binary morals and in favour of hard-edged ethical judgement?

Which brings us back to everyone's favourite Thunderbirds character, Parker?

1/11/2005 06:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure those of us not old enough to have watched Thunderbirds have no idea what you're talking about, Paul. :)


1/11/2005 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

"I'm sure those of us not old enough to have watched Thunderbirds have no idea what you're talking about, Paul. :)"

At least we have an excuse this time.

1/11/2005 07:55:00 PM  

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