cover image GLOBAL FREQUENCY: Planet Ablaze


Warren Ellis, et al. . Wildstorm/DC Comics, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4012-0274-3

Acclaimed comics writer Ellis (The Authority ; Transmetropolitan ) here creates a Mission: Impossible –style force for the 21st century. The Global Frequency is a worldwide organization comprising 1,001 members, each with a specialized talent, which combats unconventional threats to public safety. Some of these menaces are the stuff of science fiction, like a cyborg warrior gone mad. Others are potentially quite real, such as an attempt to release lethal viruses in London. This first volume collects the first six issues, each illustrated by a different artist: Leach, Fabry, Steve Dillon, Roy A. Martinez, Jon J Muth and David Lloyd. Although each artist has a different style, they all impart a grimly realistic look to Ellis's world. The Global Frequency bills itself as a rescue operation, but in practice, violence is their stock-in-trade, and it's sometimes graphically explicit. Ellis occasionally makes political and even satirical points, but for the most part these tales are dismayingly superficial. Characterizations are minimal or nonexistent. For example, the most prominent character, Miranda Zero, the Frequency's head, comes off as little more than severely businesslike. The protagonists don't seem to be conflicted over their lives of violence and danger, and the antagonists don't have multidimensional personalities. Nor is there much suspense, since few of the plot twists and turns that one expects from the genre are present. Ellis and his collaborators achieve little here, and the endings are merely unsurprising, foregone conclusions. (Feb.)