Silk‘s previous outing as a solo series proved to be a pleasant surprise among Marvel’s Spider-titles, taking a character who’d gotten a less than stellar introduction in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, and making her into a charming, flawed, and believable hero. When the writing staff decided to have her strike out on her own under the able pen of Robbie Thompson, readers were treated to a Cindy Moon who has had to come to grips with learning to be a superhero while trying to solve the mystery of her missing family. The 7-issue series proved to be one of the stronger titles coming out of the Spider-Man offices, helped along greatly by Stacey Lee’s expressive line work and Ian Herring’s soft color palette. Then Secret Wars came along, killed the universe, and ended things in a blinding flash of light so we could get primed for (another) relaunch.
Despite my general distaste for Marvel’s relaunches, I can’t help but be happy to get my hands on this title again. That same creative team has thankfully returned, and we get a new (double-) twist on Cindy’s adventures.
As with the other post-Secret Wars titles, a considerable amount of time has passed between the end of the previous series and the relaunch, and we’re seeing a Cindy Moon who is in many ways the same character she was before, but with one important change: she’s trying to make the world think she’s gone villainess. Though there is clearly more to this setup than meets the eye, Silk has apparently made amends with Black Cat and has come to work for her organization. Despite Black Cat’s reservations about Cindy’s motivations, she seems happy to let Silk continue to be a thorn in the side of the Goblin Nation, as long as she keeps them from interfering with her criminal empire.
There is a lot going on in this issue, from the exposition of events in Cindy’s civilian life over the past few months to the ins and outs of her current activities in costume. While I hope this large swath of lost time will eventually be accounted for, the current setup serviceably brings readers up to speed and helps establish the basic premise of the title. Cindy’s dialog (both internal and external), while a little stilted in places, is still believable, and perfectly timed to deliver the mid-story reveal in a way that surprises unsuspecting readers.
I’m most pleased with the fact that Thompson has decided not to change Cindy too much in the time that’s passed. She’s in many ways still the developing hero she was in the previous iteration of her title: uncertain, introspective, alternately angry and cocky, and given to making dated pop-culture references. That she’s gone in this new direction doesn’t really change that, particularly when you consider her motivation for doing so, though it does set up the possibility of some riveting storytelling. If she’s already having a hard time keeping her stories straight at work with J. Jonah Jameson, you know things will only get more complex from here on out; check out Mockingbird’s appearances in this issue if you’re not sure what I mean.
Speaking of motivation, I think it’s important to point out Cindy’s brother, Albert, as the main reason for her going after the Goblin Nation. Albert was literally the last person Cindy saw, as the Marvel universe came crashing down upon everyone and everything to lead into Secret Wars. We don’t get much of his story, then or here, but it is both heartening to see them reunited as well as slightly disappointing that we don’t yet have more than the vaguest notion of how his story has propelled Cindy into the actions she’s taking at present. Hopefully his part will be expanded on over time.
My overall biggest complaint with the narrative revolves around the question of why we had to relaunch this title at all in the first place. I know that Secret Wars is the go-to reason, but it seems a pretty arbitrary one at this point–especially when you consider the fact that it still hasn’t wrapped up yet. Despite its universe-ending premise, it seems like it was another event story, and titles like Silk and Spider-Gwen needlessly suffered significant disruptions to their respective narratives in servicing its narrative and marketing needs.
Stacey Lee’s artwork continues to be a visual joy for this title. Whether she’s illustrating a high-flying fight scene, intense one-on-one conversations, or simply giving readers an idea of what’s going through Cindy’s head as she tries to figure out her next move, her clean, cartoonish style is both expressive and dynamic while deftly maintaining the narrative focus of Thompson’s script. Played in concert with Ian Herring’s colors, the artwork in this title alone makes it worth a look, even if you manage to have issues with the writing.
Perhaps Silk’s biggest issue right now is that it has a lot of competition from other Spider-titles, particularly Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen, both of which feature excellent female leads and top-notch creative teams. Amazing Spider-Man, the flagship title, currently has a premise that has readers intrigued, and developments in the many other such titles make it a tight field from which to compete for reader dollars. For my part, I think Silk is worth sticking with–the creative team is great, the character has come to a noteworthy point in her development as a hero, and things only promise to get more exciting going forward. If you’ve read and enjoyed Silk’s previous series, or you’re looking for a Spider-title that features an intriguing female lead, you’ll want to give this iteration a try.
Silk gets a second strong first issue in 2015, with the same creative team that made her memorable in February. Good artwork, developing narrative that builds on the character from the previous series, and a promising setup make this title one worth checking out.