Current Reviews


Civil War: Frontline #2

Posted: Monday, July 3, 2006
By: Martijn Form

Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artists: Ramon Bachs, Steve Lieber, Leandro Fernandez, Kano

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: Three different ongoing storylines about Marvelís Civil War through the eyes of two journalists.

Comments: The covers of the Civil War saga and all the tie ins arenít very pretty to look at. More that half the cover is done is plain grey, blue or red with white credits. It leaves the page with just a small portion of art work. I think Marvel should have chosen a different format, because I like great covers.
The cover of this issue of Frontline is an unmasked Spider-man not totally confident that he did the right thing, exposing his real identity. J. Jonah Jameson canít believe that the hero he hates has worked for him all this time.

He is lost in his own feelings, if he has any. On the one hand, he wants to expose heroes, but when Spider-Man does just that, he still remains the irrational person we know rather then the professional he should be.

He refuses to publish any story about Peter Parker. Ben Urich had a private conversation with Peter and wrote a story, but all of the sudden, Jonah isnít interested in selling newspapers. "Good people come clean. The bad ones make up lies and get exposed on national TV," says Jonah. And in his mind Spider-Man is the bad guy and not the hero we all like.

Journalist Ben Urich who also works for The Daily Bugle cannot believe it either. All those years working with Spider-Man without knowing it. It happens all the time. Murderers, terrorists and undercover informants do have jobs and family too. And when they are exposed, the people around them are as shocked as the people of The Daily Bugle. Itís hard to imagine some one having a double identity. And the closer it gets in your community, the harder it hits you.

But now matter how hard it hits Ben Urich, he still can maintain his journalistic view on the matter. Sally Floyd, on the other hand, can not keep her own emotions out of her work. When Iron man forces Prodigy to comply with the Registration Act, she can no longer keep her professional perspective. She shouts that Prodigy is a good guy and not the bad one who must be brought in. Sure, her feelings are correct, but doesnít she have an obligation to make her statement in a news article rather then shouting on the street?

In the last issue she came forward as an alcoholic like Tony Stark, so they have a connection here. But this isnít followed up in this issue. She opposes Iron Man and his methods to bring Prodigy in and so ends the second part of "Embedded."

The whole issue of Frontline #2 is a great read. I really like the storyline focused on Speedball in the aftermath of the Stamford devastation. He is treated as the bad guy with no human or super human rights. No lawyer. No nothing. Here is a great parallel to the prisoners on Guantanamo Bay. No rights. And no real accusation of what crimes they have committed. An excellent example of the strange action of humankind. Speedball is locked up in a prison where they can drink his blood for his part in killing 60 children. Reason doesnít live in this prison, and Speedball will face a hard time without his powers.

All the story lines in this book are connected with each other which makes this series so interesting. The last few pages parallel ancient Rome and Iron Man's action. Itís a great parallel and nicely done with the split screen effects. I feel great compassion with Iron Man who makes tough decisions. I donít know if he is making the right ones, even though he thinks he is doing good. Frontline has been a wonderful surprise from Marvel. No ads, and a lot of depth in the overall package.

This is definitely a series that provides different views of the "Civil War," and the combination between the stories does have a nice literary quality. After you put the book down, it forces you to think about war and what it does to people. It makes the other Civil War tie-ins stronger, because it makes you re-read some other books like Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine or New Avengers again trying to discover new views and angles, trying to figure out whatís right and wrong. What is good or evil? Philosophical questions which arenít easy to answer. Paul Jenkins is writing this book with great enthusiasm, making the whole Civil War saga something not to be missed.

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