By Tim Stevens
Ben Urich has seen his fair share of bad days.
He became the first newsman to discern Daredevil's secret identity and had his notes stolen by a cub reporter. He exposed Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin and watched the revelation maligned and ignored for years. He embedded himself on the pro-registration side of the Civil War and chronicled the super hero community as it tore itself apart. He faced down the wrath of J. Jonah Jameson on several occasions. He has seen his, his wife's and his friends' lives imperiled on multiple occasions by the likes of Kingpin, Elektra, and Kruel.
But none of that could have prepared him for the Skrull assault of New York City.
"Even though Ben's seen a lot of craziness, he's rarely been in the kind of danger we've seen during Secret Invasion," explains SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE writer Brian Reed, who currently chronicles Urich's exploits in that title, issue #4 shipping on October 1. "That goes for the whole city. Galactus walking around is different than an entire alien military landing and seizing control. The CIVIL WAR Times Square battle was between people who were pulling their punches, trying to subdue rather than kill. The battle in Times Square during the Skrull invasion is people fighting for their lives, in a kill or be killed situation."
Still, the reporter perseveres. With time seemingly winding down on humanity, Urich cannot seem to help but find himself in the midst of it. Reed points out, "He's more worried about surviving the day than he is about assembling a proper story. Yet in the middle of the chaos, Ben's still talking in to his tape recorder, and still trying to get the events down."
FRONT LINE #4
Can Urich continue to motivate himself to report when people begin to turn on one another and he has a wife out there in the maelstrom? The next two issues of FRONT LINE probe that matter.
"That exact question gets explored a lot," Reed says. "Ben's relationships with his wife and with his job are a lot of what makes Ben Ben. As issue #5 opens, and the invasion reaches its final stages, we'll really see who Ben is deep down inside."
Fans may not be prepared for where the answers take the normally resilient Urich. As Reed admits, "After the invasion, things get dark."
To see if the axiom, "It is always darkest before the dawn," will prove out or if Urich will falter as a result of what he sees humans do to one another, readers need only check out SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE #4, due out on October 1. You can also explore Ben's past right now on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited with CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE and WORLD WAR HULK: FRONT LINE!