By Brian Reed (Writer), GG Studios (Art), Marco Castiello (Pencils), Barbara Ciardo (Colors), and Amerigo Pinellio (Asst. Colorist)
Some Thoughts Before The Review: After an extremely promising start, the latest installment in the Front Line series has sort of stumbled to the finish line (sounds like the main Invasion series more than a little bit eh?). And to be honest, I’m not exactly sure why that is, considering that the characters and situations have been compelling enough to hold my interest. I suppose my main complaint is that the story just hasn’t captured the situation as well as I’d hoped it would. With that said, I am still very interested in seeing how Brian Reed and his creative team handles the street level reaction to the main event battle in New York.
The Story: With only a few brief shots of the gigantic Secret Invasion battle, the final chapter of Front Line mostly deals with the aftermath of the event and the personal toll it has taken on the survivors. Journalist Ben Urich finds himself suffering from writer’s block while coping with the loss of his wife and the rise of someone he has written about. Melanie Crane deals with the trauma of losing her father. Officer Bill Dawson takes a desk job and pursues a relationship with fellow survivor Lisa Dobson.
What’s Good: If you can deal with the approach the book uses in regards to the event it is tied to, Front Line #5 proves to be a surprisingly powerful read. With Ben Urich’s emotionally charged narration driving a story about loss and the steps people take to move on after traumatic events, Brian Reed manages to effectively (and realistically) capture an often ignored segment of the Marvel Universe. As such, I find myself extremely satisfied with a comic I really didn’t expect a whole lot from.
What’s Not So Good: While the artwork is more than serviceable, it never really rises above being average. Then again, it doesn’t really need to, considering the story being told. So ultimately it is a very minor complaint. Also, I must mention that I was a little bit irked by how quickly the major battle was glossed over. I understand why the story heads in the direction that it does, but a little bit more time with the heroes might have gone a long way.
Conclusion: While the latest Front Line series is a bit hit-or-miss as a whole, the conclusion is definitely a homerun in this reviewer’s opinion. It hits all the right notes and manages to bring some much needed subtlety and realism to an otherwise bombastic event.