In chapter 8 of Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency, we find a kidnapping in progress where Miranda Zero must be quickly rescued from her captor. The members of the global frequency jump into action and are using the available technology to track down where Ms. Zero was taken to. The members seem to run into trouble, however when they are tracking the getaway vehicle. Viewing the security footage, Alice April says to Aleph “There. It turned left. But I don’t see what good that does you”, speaking of the captor’s vehicle. Aleph goes on to explain that “There are CCTVs everywhere. There are webcams everywhere. This isn’t a private world anymore.” This scene is followed by a collection of frequency members finding and utilizing these CCTVs (Closed Circuit Television) and webcams to follow the vehicle.
The observed scene displays one of Martin Heidegger’s main topics when discussing technology in his essay The Question Concerning Technology, enframing. The concept of enframing is seen through these cameras. The cameras act as a technological lens that allows the user to view and “be” almost anywhere in the world at any time. This is far removed from the singular personal realities of the past. The reader can also be intimidated by these cameras as they are not a fictional concept, but a reality of today’s world. As the characters in these few scenes make light of the monitoring devices, I find them to be quite disturbing. While global frequency is using the cameras for a good cause, I have some concerns about how these seemingly easily accessible cameras are used by others, such as criminals and even our government. This possibility delves into Heidegger other main topic in his essay, standing reserve. The standing reserve is Heidegger’s term for describing the abnormal control of something for means of using it for an unnatural purpose. I see the CCTVs and webcams as a means by which a government could monitor its citizens and begin to understand patterns of activity. This comic reveals the scary nature of the twenty-first century that we are never truly alone. This is one of the messages I believe Ellis is trying to deliver to his readers. I, personally, see this in my everyday life. I have noticed that there is seldom a day that I find myself not browsing the internet or using my cell phone to explore social media.
The comic book is a clever way with which to portray these messages. Ellis’ mention of CCTVs and webcams ends almost as quickly as it begins and if the reader does not take pay close attention then they might not even notice the message. The use of images to convey major ideas of a story allows for small comments such as this to be less poignant, whereas in a traditional narrative this message would be conveyed and explained through several more pointed sentences. Ellis uses an episodic, comic structure throughout Global Frequency in order to convey his feelings about technology. This allows him to repeat his messages against the overuse of technology in many diverse ways.