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"Good morning, Earth. You're on the Global Frequency."

Global Frequency is a twelve issue science fiction comic series created and written by Warren Ellis, and illustrated by a different artist every issue. It has been drawn by Gary Leach, and will also be illustrated by Glenn Fabry, Steve Dillon, Roy Allan Martinez, John J. Muth, and David Lloyd. The covers are done by Brian Wood. The series began in October 2002, and is released by Wildstorm/DC Comics.

The Global Frequency is an open conspiracy group. Created and run by the enigma Miranda Zero, they go around cleaning up end-of-the-world problems for the governments. They have a thousand and one agents around the world, each with their own special uses. Anyone could be an agent: your neighbor, your loved one, or your best friend. At anytime they could be called through their special cellphone, and dash out pulling on their Global Frequency badge or jacket.

From the description one might think of Warren Ellis's series Planetary. From my reading it has a similar concept, but we shall see how close it is after a few more issues come out. Also, like the first few issues of Planetary, Global Frequency is supposed to be a stand-alone series. This means that each issue will have enough merit to be picked up and read by itself and still be enjoyable.

Issue List:
  1. Bombhead
  2. Invasive
  3. Big Wheel
  4. Hundred
  5. Big Sky
"Are you on the Global Frequency?"

Bad Signal - Internet Mailing List
Warren Ellis Website - http://www.warrenellis.com.
Having just read two issues of Global Frequency, I have to say I find the premise very satisfying. A worldwide non-military group which discreetly recruits people with skills or knowledge and "activates" them when their special abilities are needed to solve ugly and complex problems certainly sounds appealing. That it is basically the creation of a very well-funded charismatic individual is prehaps a dramatic neccessity - a true grassroots organization would have severe funding and supply issues, and probably difficulty securing cooperation from the authorities when it was needed.

The art is very well done, definitely up to the modern standard of comic book illustration. Each book is done by a different team of artists so the styles differ from story to story. Issue 3's depiction of a horribly twisted biomechanical being is probably one of the creepiest things I've seen in the genre.

That said... I found the two books I read, "Invasive" (#2)and "Big Wheel" (#3) to be extremely under-written, even for comic books. They both deal with dramatically rich science fiction ideas, the first a memetic virus from space which has taken over peoples' brains, and the second a radically enhanced military cyborg who has succumbed to the stress of his transformation and run amuck. But the stories themselves are barely there - a page or two of setup, the team goes in, encounters the threat, a few tiny dabs of character and insight appear, and then the threat is neutralized by clever means and/or personal sacrifice on the part of a team member. Basically, they just weren't interesting to read. I know the modern comic book has much more to offer than this, and I can't help but wonder if the positive reviews I have read about this series on the internet are just the result of leftover good feelings about Warren Ellis' other book "Transmetropolitan"...

"Mr. Gerrard. My name is Miranda Zero, and you're on the Global Frequency."

Science fiction/espionage comic book series written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by a number of different artists. The 12 issues of the series were published by Wildstorm Productions from 2002-2004. 

Each issue of the series had a different artist or artistic team. They included some of the best artists in the comics biz -- Chris Sprouse, Steve Dillon, Simon Bisley, Glenn Fabry, David Lloyd, Lee Bermejo, Gene Ha, and plenty of others. Writer/artist Brian Wood created each of the covers. 

Each issue of the series is a single self-contained story, focusing on the Global Frequency, a proactive, independent, international intelligence agency. There are 1,001 people on the Global Frequency, ranging from computer hackers, scientists, astronauts, and military specialists to burglars, memetic researchers, stage magicians, and parkour athletes. Every member of the Frequency has a special high-tech cell phone, and if it rings, they know they may be the only person on the planet who can save the world. The leader of the Global Frequency is Miranda Zero, a mysterious, hard-headed espionage op, and the dispatcher is a mohawked tech expert called Aleph.

Global Frequency has to deal with a number of crises, ranging from the mundane -- terrorists, kidnappings, bombs -- to the science fictional -- rogue cyborgs, black hole brain-bombs, alien brain-rewiring memes, city-destroying space weapons. Personally, I usually prefer the realism of the mundane threats, but Ellis writes the science fiction plots with entertaining and mind-melting audacity. The cyborgs here don't look like normal people with some chrome limbs -- you can't give someone a robot arm without also enhancing the shoulders, spine, torso, or really, the entire rest of their body. They've given up their human appearance, motivations, and psyches. This is science fiction with all the ugliness of reality fused in, and it makes the cinematic action of the plots even more thrilling.

And the series even got a television pilot a few years back -- a pilot that proved the power of the Internet as well as some of the web's serious limitations. The pilot was directed by Nelson McCormick and produced by Mark Burnett and Warren Ellis, with writer John Rogers serving as the showrunner. Josh Hopkins starred as Sean Flynn, an ex-cop and newcomer to Global Frequency, along with Jenni Baird as Dr. Katrina Finch, a scientific jack-of-all-trades. They were designed as the primary recurring characters to provide the audience viewpoint. The other stars included Aimee Garcia as Aleph, and Michelle Forbes as Miranda Zero. Of all of them, Forbes was the real standout -- I don't know that any actor has ever more perfectly embodied a comic character. 

The pilot was intended for the WB, but someone leaked the unaired pilot onto the Internet in the summer of 2005. It got downloaded a lot, and it was extremely popular. But Warner Brothers was so annoyed by the leak that they refused to approve the series. This wasn't just distressing to fans of the comic series -- many of the actors and crew on the pilot felt that the show had the potential to be something really phenomenal, and they were just as upset about it as anyone. 

You can still find the pilot on various file-sharing sites, and occasionally, someone uploads it to YouTube. If you can find it, it's worth watching. 

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