A Nuclear Ending

I would like to highlight the scene in “Bombhead” from Global Frequency in the first story when Miranda Zero meets with Mr. Alibek concerning the disk inserted in Janos Voydan’s brain that is triggering destruction throughout the city. As mentioned, the disk inserted in Janos’s brain was put in during the 1970s would allow him to open a wormhole anywhere he is and a nuclear warhead at a separate facility would be transported and eliminate that region. This plan would play a large part in the Cold War and hopefully act as the atomic bomb did as ending World War II. This scene can be closely related to Frank Kermode’s writing, The Sense of an Ending, because as Kermode alluded to, before there was always an idea of an ending, apocalypse, that was somewhere in the future, but was to be determined by a divine being. The idea of the end was naïve, “The great majority of interpretations of Apocalypse assume that the End is pretty near. Consequently the historical allegory is always having to be revised; time discredits it. And this is important. Apocalypse can be disconfirmed without being discredited.” (Kermode 8) Instead though as he argues, at the heart of the Cold War, humanity is now able to write the ending, “No longer imminent, the End is immanent.” (Kermode 25) The chapter “Bombhead” from Global Frequency reinforces the idea of the End being immanent using its graphic novel form.

Global Frequency is an episodic graphic novel that is told crisis-to-crisis. There is a narrative beginning and end to each story and this helps to establish the crisis-to-crisis storylines. More specifically, it is about a global agency that is out to save the world from the perils of evil. It is shown in the chapter “Bombhead” that there is a crisis of nuclear destruction and the good guys must save the world. The narrative end is used not only to end the story, but the idea of the end of the world. Kermode explains how there have always been writings of the End, but to add to that, we are now in an era where a push of a button can be the End. Graphic novels help to express the apocalyptic ideas of the 20th and 21st centuries and show off the technology we currently have and what technology we could possibly have in the future. “Bombhead” shows that a man with a disc in his brain could open wormholes and deliver nuclear warheads to where he is. The graphic pictures of explosions and radioactive waves coming from Janos help to show the magnitude of the technologies and their sure destructiveness. This overall idea is shown through a work of a graphic novel and fiction, but rather that we have made many advances in technology and that we no longer leave fate up to a divine being, and in this case, orders sent to a man with a disc in his brain decide our future. The 20th and 21st centuries have shown that we may be the ones that write the ending to the story of our world. Even though graphic novels present more far-fetched ideas, they give warning to what could be and it is important to see where we stand. We will only continue to produce more advanced technologies and who knows what our future entails. Just another End discredited, but the threat will never disappear for as long as we continue to advance.

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2 Responses to A Nuclear Ending

  1. trafalgarlaw9 says:

    I appreciated your link between Kermode’s concept of an emmanent end and “Bombhead” and wanted to take it a little further with my perspective. I think that the main character, Janos, perfectly represents this sense of a perpetual end. Originally, he was a type of trigger: someone with a button of sorts had the ability to make him into a wormhole and cause a nuclear explosion. However, after this plan fell away, Janos became a timebomb without a precise detonation. At any time, he could have suffered this attack without warning, simply due to the state of decay of the triggering disk. This kind of a crisis is a silent one in that no one was waiting/expecting it to happen; however, that could make it all the more vital in Kermode’s explanation of life pervaded and defined by crisis.

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  2. danwillisdan says:

    One thing I noticed about the visual component of this issue were the occasional cuts to warhead progressing through a tunnel. This sense of an impending doom which interrupts the continuity of the present seems to match up very nicely with what Kermode refers to as a sense of perpetual crisis.

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