The Marvel Universe has always had problems with masked identities. From the Sentinels and the Mutant Registration Act to Jonah Jameson and his tirades against Spider-Man, masked heroes and villains are usually the object of scorn. However, when a group of heroes inadvertently destroy a small town, the scales of tolerance are tipped and the civilians call for the cataloging of the super-hero community. The mini-series, "Civil War: Front Line", deals with what the normal man and woman on the street thing of this turning point in the history of the once merry Marvel universe. Caution: Possible spoilers ahead.
Ben Urich is understandably shaken by the news that Spider-Man is fellow Bugle employee Peter Parker. Others are angry at Parker for keeping a secret, and Jameson has gone so far as to publicly fire Peter Parker. Reports from other papers want to find out what the mood is like inside the Daily Bugle, but Urich pushes past them and claims that he has the exclusive to Spider-Man's unmasking. He makes his way to an elevator and once inside he calls Peter Parker. Urich is shocked when he hears and sees Peter clinging to the elevator's ceiling.
Meanwhile, in a bar, Sally Floyd and the super heroine Firestar sit and drink, discussing what the Registration Act means for Firestar. The super heroine says that the Registration, at least for her, is taking away far more than it would give her. Due to this, she decides to stop being Firestar.
At the Daily Bugle offices, Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson are talking about Urich's meeting with Parker the previous night. Jonah is understandably feeling betrayed at Peter Parker's actions over the past several years (comic book time). Jonah refuses to print anything Urich has written about Parker, and the scene shifts to a drunken Prodigy later that night.
Prodigy is ranting on a rooftop about being a hero, and the only reason they're going to arrest him is because he refuses to register. Ben Urich and Sally Floyd meet up at this point and wonder if anyone will listen. Moments later, the NYPD and Iron Man come flying in. Iron Man tells Prodigy that he has ten seconds to leave peacefully. Instead, Prodigy berates Iron Man for basically being a rich traitor and throws an empty bottle at Stark. The bottle is followed by Prodigy himself, who launches himself at Iron Man and the two being to brawl. Iron Man wins, and Prodigy is arrested.
The highlight and main focus of this issue was the Daily Bugle's reaction to Spider-Man's unmasking. While this was briefly covered in the other books, the fact that Jameson feels so betrayed by Parker that he refuses to run what would surely be a major story says a lot about Jameson's feelings on the subject. Meanwhile, we get one of Spider-Man's amazing friends supposedly hanging up her costume while someone whom Spider-Man had a hand in creating is one of the first unregistered combatants to be arrested. Perhaps the remaining Slingers will make an appearance before this whole thing plays out.
The writing is superb, while the art is quite fitting to the story. A grittier sort of style for a story focusing on the common man and woman trying to make sense of this whole Civil War thing.
It took less than fifteen minutes for Iron Man to take out a drunken Prodigy.