Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Tomm Coker
Lionel Wellfare has taken control of a biotech research installation in Texas. His employers want him to release some of the nasty stuff being worked on there, and the Global Frequency sends in a man called "the Frenchman" to stop him.
Warren Ellis follows up the last fantastic issue of Global Frequency with a book that barely has a pulse. What I mean by that is, in place of the strong stories I've come to expect from this series is a long, rather drawn out fight between two men with unrealistic thresholds for pain. The set up for the fight is paper thin, but I get the feeling Ellis wasn't too concerned about that aspect of the story.
I know what you're thinking: If all there is to the fight, it'd better be good. Well, the fight lives up to the issue's title, but unfortunately it's so hard to follow that I found myself worrying over who did what to whom instead of how cool it is to see someone get their eyeball ripped out and eaten as a snack. Considering the characters are never called by name until they're beating on each other it was hard to relate to either one of them. In the end, I had to rely on identifying Wellfare by his gloves and Frenchie by his hat.
There appears to be some kind of previous relationship between Wellfare and Frenchie, but the readers are left in the dark. Ellis leaves out pretty much every detail that would be useful, and that effects how I as the audience felt about them. I get that Wellfare is supposed to be evil and therefore hated, but I'm not sure why the Frenchman was willing to go to such extremes to fight him. Some back story would've helped me invest more in the plot rather than walking away from the book with a mixture of disgust and awe.
Ellis's script calls for some disgusting and disturbing visuals, and Tomm Coker is more than up to the task. While his art isn't pretty, it did have me cringing at time and I think that's what the team had in mind. Once again, David Baron colors the book, and once again he avoids using the bright reds. Like the last issue there's a lot of blood on panel, but the effect is muted by the absence of its natural color. The palette he's working with here is meant to desensitize the audience to the "superviolence" on display, and I think it worked.
I'm not sure I buy that these combatants could withstand that much pain even with the idea of "biofeedback." If you can get past that, you'll enjoy the issue, but only those with strong stomachs need check it out.
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