The specific moment I will be focusing on occurs in the opening panels of the “unnamed” chapter involving Takashi Sato. When thinking about the form used throughout this comic, I immediately remembered this chapter because of the fact that it is unnamed. Also, it is the only chapter that did not begin the chapter by asking the question, “Are you on the global frequency?” These distinct changes in form, that had been constant up until this point, were striking and seemed to signal disjointedness in the Global Frequency. The opening panels with Takashi and Aleph further show this disconnect; Takashi panels are illustrated in orange while Aleph panels are illustrated with green and purple colors. This was significant to me because these colors greatly contrast each other. Aleph and Miranda are portrayed sinisterly and somewhat evil in a sense; seeing Aleph illustrated like this reminded me of something like Frankenstein or the Hulk, some type of monster. This contradicted the idea of the global frequency being this global rescue organization depicted throughout the earlier chapters. Also, panels of Takashi and Aleph are surrounded with a fragmented white border, creating distinct separation between the two. This mirrors Takashi’s current attitude toward the Global Frequency. He no longer wants to be a part of it, stating that Aleph has “one thousand other people on the global frequency, just waiting for the call to mount a rescue operation” (Ellis). His tattoo of the Global Frequency symbol has an “X” through it and is shown in multiple panels in the first three pages. The shadows in a few of his panels almost resemble that of a jail cell, as if he is “stuck” in the Global Frequency against his will, forced to go on a rescue operation. Takashi is connected through this network that is the Global Frequency, yet disconnected in the sense that he no longer wants to be in it. Joining the Global Frequency is as permanent as a tattoo; quitting the frequency is as difficult as removing or altering a tattoo.
This type of connect and disconnect that technology creates parallels Martin Heidegger’s idea of enframing nature and people as a standing reserve. The old wooden bridge over the Rhine connects us with nature; it allows us to cross over the river without impeding the flow of the river, without affect its course. Modern technology like the hydroelectric plant disconnects us from nature, obstructing the natural path of the river and exploiting it as a standing reserve, a resource to be stored and used solely for something else. Takashi is connected on the Global Frequency through technology, this global rescue network that saves the world from crises, but disconnected at the same time. The Global Frequency itself is a standing reserve; a standing reserve of people, waiting “for the call,” reified like a soldier in a war, thrown at other soldiers. Takashi wants to quit this reserve, which is represented through the form described through the opening panels.
This chapter of the narrative signals a disconnect of a sort, from depicting the Global Frequency as an altruistic rescue organization where every agent is willing to help out for the greater good, to an organization where an agent feels like standing reserve, as just another agent waiting for the call. This network is connected through technology but disconnected at the same time. In life, technology can connect us in beneficial ways but also separate or isolate us at the same time. Technology must be used in the way of the old wooden bridge over the Rhine, connecting us without disrupting the essence of the connection.