Let f : ℂ_n_ —> ℂ be any polynomial function. By using global polar methods, we introduce models for the fibers of f and we study the monodromy at atypical values of f, including the value infinity. We construct a geometric monodromy with controlled behavior and define global relative monodromy with respect to a general linear form. We prove localization results for the relative monodromy and derive a zeta-function formula for the monodromy around an atypical value. We compute the relative zeta function in several cases and emphasize the differences to the “classical” local situation.