Within the past few weeks, I have witnessed two Spider-endings. One for a book that I heaped countless praise upon; the other, for a title I’ve dissed on more than one occasion. If you’ve read any of my reviews, I’m sure you can guess that Spider-Woman was my baby, while Silk was the book I judged a bit harshly. Yet, when Spider-Woman was canceled, I picked Silk up, blissfully unaware that it would soon be on the chopping block too. I agreed to give it another go and review it for this site.
I’d love to say that this ending made me fall in love with Silk and long for a relaunch of her solo series. However, I would be lying. There is too much time devoted to a villain whose name I forgot within an hour of finishing Silk #19, and too little time spent on character. That being said, the final pages strive to deliver a message of familial love and self-acceptance. It’s the tender moments that make this book shine, and this is where I finally found myself warming up to this comic a bit too late.
Robbie Thompson, the puppet master behind this title, starts off the issue with a rather lengthy battle scene. It’s not just that Silk and Fang trade punches for far too long, they also talk about it way too much. Fang is forgettable. As she insists that she deserves Spider-powers and that Silk is worthless, it’s like every trite TV villain explanation that does nothing for the plot and little to make the character interesting. She is a two-dimensional bad girl whose motives we never really delve into. I felt the urge to fast track this somehow. If it were a podcast, I would increase the speed to 1.5x and zoom through the needless exposition that rehashes how Cindy does not deserve her gift. After the third time hearing the same thing phrased another way, I was over it.
While his depiction of the battle left me cold, there are some good things about this final issue. When Silk accepts herself and her family accepts her as she is, it’s like we’re getting somewhere. Mr. Moon, as he crushes the needle that spells out Silk’s end, conveys his love with that action. There is emotion, character, and a sense of togetherness. A family around a table is where the heart of this book is, and it gives more depth to the rather tedious beginning. We get a glimpse at what Cindy’s craved since she went into the bunker. As I haven’t followed the book for long, I want to hear more about her family and her love life, as well as how she’s managing to balance it all in addition to S.H.I.E.L.D. This ending had me craving for a more significant start. I might not be a cheerleader for Silk, but I like her a touch more at the end of this finale, particularly when she hangs up on Mr. Peter Parker, CEO.
As I’m sure most of you comic fans know by now, there is no comic without the art. Where Tana Ford’s strengths lie is in scenery. The dreary wreckage behind Cindy as she stares down a defeated Fang is the most compelling panel. Aside from the backgrounds, Ford does struggle with faces. Whereas some panels, like the one where Silk declares that she is free, are bold and confident, others, such as when Cindy confronts her dad about his secrets, feel off. In those panels, I want to close one eye and tilt my head, almost as if that movement will edit the art into something a bit stronger.
Though the living people in Silk are often drawn in odd ways, Ford totally gets Spectro. She manages to capture his ghostly essence while also highlighting his strength. As he zaps his way through Fang’s systems, his energy makes the pages pop and appear extraordinary. He seems as plausible as Hawkeye. If Marvel ever decides to give Spectro his own series, something I could foresee happening in Earth-8311, Tana Ford needs to be on it. So, while I have mixed feelings on her art overall, it is undeniable that Ford puts effort into each page and will continue to grow as she puts pen to paper. That seems promising to me.
Silk was not a book to which I was kind. I picked on the character, I didn’t see any growth between “Spider-Verse” and “Spider-Women”, and I rolled my eyes every time I saw her make out with Peter Parker. Still, the final few pages of this issue give me hope. Maybe what Cindy Moon needs is less time devoted to villains and more of a balance between both her personal and professional lives. Could that be where she starts to shine? At this point, we may never know.
Although Silk #19 has a rather shaky start, it is a tender end to this series. Robbie Thompson and Tana Ford come together to create a final issue that demonstrates Cindy Moon's strength as well as the importance of her family in her life. The heartwarming moments balance out the rougher ones while also leaving an opening for another future solo series for this Spider-Woman.