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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 30

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency…


Global Frequency was a year-long mini-series (that almost took two years to complete, but what’s nine months between friends?) by Warren Ellis. It is one of the great “high concept” books out there (which is most likely why you keep hearing it mentioned as a possible TV series).

The high concept is as follows. A woman runs an organization that based all over the world – its operatives are all “on the Global Frequency” and are 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). It’d basically the same set-up as International Rescue on the British series, Thunderbirds, which you would presume Ellis was familiar with from his childhood.

Each issue of the series was 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 (unless you also count a very progressive problem-solving approach as a “gimmick,” in which case that would also be a gimmick with the series) is rotating team of artists to go with the rotating cast, a different notable artist for each of the 12 issues.

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 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. 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?

#4 – Roy A. Martinez – 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 in this story.

#5 – Jon J. Muth – Another story based around a particular idea, as this is a supernatural/scientific issue to explain what may have been a visiting by an angel in an Norwegian 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.

Story continues below

#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, reminiscent 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 – This issue is just pretty much ENTIRELY just hand to hand combat between a GF member and a bad guy. There is a pretty twisted ending involving a…how should I say…unwanted amputation. But a pretty slight 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 enjoyed Pearson’s art on this issue.

#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!!!

Overall, this was a very engaging and fun series, with a ton of impressive artwork.

Which artist was your favorite?

NOTE: This was basically my reaction when the series ended – BC.


Thanks for the summary of this series! If i can find it cheap, i’ll pick it up. Thanks again

i just bought this on Amazon can’t wait till it arrives

Fantastic series, and a great example of one my favorite things about Ellis’ writing, his ability to play to his artist’s strength and often push them to new heights.

was hoping global frequency would make this list.for it showed Ellis at his best. and was a new take and gave what the comic world was lacking

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 31, 2010 at 3:20 pm

This is why I could never understand why a tv pilot failed to show up and why some tv studio is having another “go” at it. As long as they get Michelle Forbes to star as Miranda Zero. I’m sold!

I’m also hoping that the renewed interest in the tv series, will bring Ellis back into doing another series of GF (with loads of artists).

That would definitely renew MY interest in Ellis books again, along with FELL/newuniversal/DESOLATION JONES.

A really grest series. Favourite artist? Im not sure. IL would have to go back and check them out. Issue #11 was my personal favourite though.

As much as I like this series (and I like it alot), I still haven’t been able to figure out the ending to the second issue. It doesn’t make any sense to me…
How is that person/sniper dude at the end still alive?

I love this series. It’s everything I wish superhero books would become- minimal recurring cast, single issue stories, interesting ideas.

The Aleph issue was my personal fave, but the Norway issue is a close second.

Normally, I would say that Chris Sprouse was my favorite of the 12 artists, but I have to say that the art in issue #6 was my favorite.

#9 with Bermejo was just visually stunning and disturbing on a level that few other comics have managed to reach in terms of unsettling me. I’d put it right up there with Black Hole.


January 31, 2010 at 11:20 pm

I think it’s too hard to choose a favourite artist or issue – Ellis did such a good job of catering to his artists, or the editor at assigning artists, and there’s so much variety, that I just can’t put one ahead of the others.
There’s a couple I don’t like as much as the others, but the one’s that work, which is most of them, work so well.

I’d love it if Ellis did more, but I’m also glad he only did 12 so that the series didn’t even come close to getting stale.

Interesting. I’ve never seen any Fabry interiors. I love Ellis and all those artists who I’ve heard of. I’ll have to pick this up sometime.

This was a decent series. I think the problem for me is that a lot of the stories felt like they would have been better told in half the number of pages.

I said it once, and I’ll say it again: this is how you write a team book.

A thousand and one experts in their respective fields just a phone call away from saving the world. Brilliant.

I wish every oversized team would adopt the same model—a new, specialized group chosen for the members’ skills and proximity to danger every arc. Keep the roster changing. Keep the dynamics fresh.

The X-Men especially could benefit from this setup. 200 mutants. Infinite possibilities.

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