The final concurrent miniseries for World War Hulk wrapped up this week. Was it worthwhile? (The complete series wrap up article will probably come next week, along with the review of the Aftersmash one shot that leads into two new miniseries come January.)
Title: World War Hulk: Frontline
Author: Paul Jenkins
Illustrator(s): The main “Embedded” plotline was pencilled and inked by Ramon Bachs. The “Costume Division” murder investigation was pencilled and inked by Shawn Martinbrough. Both were coloured by Matt Milla. The “War Is Heck” two page comedy backups had art by Chris Moreno.
Original Publication Date: Cover dates range from August to December, 2007.
Cover Price: All issues cover priced $2.99 US. The first five were cover priced $3.75 Can, and the last $3.05 Can.
Past comic reviews can be found here.
In “Embedded,” Ben Urich and Sally Floyd work their newspaper through the World War Hulk event. Meanwhile, in “Costume Division,” Sally’s boyfriend assists Korg in an investigation into Arch-E 5912’s death. The Chris Moreno sections were two page “comedy” sections that don’t always relate to World War Hulk and aren’t always all that funny.
J. Jonah Jameson doing what he’s best at.
The story structure was very similar to the Civil War: Frontline series, particularly in terms of the ulimate end of the series. They’re reporting on the events, but it would be nice if the stories they report actually impacted the main story for one. Without an external impact, the format gets tiresome.
This doesn’t feel original. The “Embedded” arc feels a lot like the Civil War version, and the “Costume Division” basically swipes its plotline from a source it cites right in the dialogue. The “War Is Heck” sections feel like a failed attempt to recreate the tone of the “Bullpen Bits” segments that used to run each week. I give it 2 out of 6.
The artwork is consistently good throughout. Some of the mob scenes were irritatingly coloured, blending everyone into a uniform mass of red, but otherwise the work was strong. I give it 5 out of 6.
The story is effective, with two mysteries that were properly assembled. Unfortunately, the underlying similarities to the previous series held it back, as well as some character details with Korg. Korg was one of the stone men from Saturn that Thor faced back in Journey Into Mystery #83. He was kidnapped and enslaved by the natives on Sakaar. Now, we are to expect that he laments the loss of Sakaar with no mention of his now nearby homeworld? Still, if you haven’t read Civil War: Frontline or Planet Hulk, you’re unlikely to have major complaints. I give it 4 out of 6.
The characterization of Sally and Jonah are very well done. Sadly, these are the only two who get any significant work. Even Ben Urich is pushed to the sidelines. This is mainly Sally’s story, and the only reason Jonah rates a mention is that his limited appearances are all so very effective in this regard. I give it 4 out of 6.
The emotional response was mediocre. It’s bland, creating mild interest, and rarely producing emotional effects the creators weren’t looking for. I give it 4 out of 6.
The flow is fairly smooth, considering this is an anthology title. The “Embedded” and “Costume Division” stories are more strongly connected than the multiple threads in the original Frontline, which helps things. The “War Is Heck” sections are disjointed, and almost feel as though they are here to fill out the page count. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, it’s a decent appendix to the World War Hulk event, but it’s certainly not incredible. This much mediocrity adds up to less than the sum of its parts. I give it 3 out of 6.
In total, World War Hulk: Frontline receives 26 out of 42.
World War Hulk Review Checklist
- World War Hulk Prologue: World
- World War Hulk 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, complete
- Incredible Hulk #106-110, 111
- World War Hulk: X-Men #1-3
- World War Hulk: Frontline #1-6
- Iron Man #19-20
- Avengers: The Initiative #4-5
- The Irredeemable Ant-Man #10
- Heroes For Hire #11-15
- World War Hulk: Gamma Corps #1-4
- Ghost Rider #12-13
- Punisher War Journal #12
- World War Hulk: Aftersmash
- WWH Aftersmash: Warbound
- WWH Aftersmash: Damage Control