After the aimless feeling readers were left with in the third issue of Silk, I was more than a little skeptical of how things would turn out, both for our erstwhile heroine and the creative team pushing her narrative along. I’m glad to see that Robbie Thompson appears to have broken free from the inertia into which he’d seemed to have fallen, and has pushed one of Cindy’s subplots into potentially interesting territory.
With this issue of the second volume of Silk, readers are finally given a little more explanation of the Goblin Nation’s agenda, and we get to see Cindy deal with them in depth, as opposed to endlessly bouncing from subplot to subplot. Bouncing instead from fight to sneaking around to fight to Goblin King-led tour, Cindy’s characterization comes through clearly during the action, as she tries to keep her calm and complete her missions as things quickly escalate around her. It’s nice to see some concentration given to one aspect of her life, and as she dives into it we see how it impacts other areas.
It’s also good to see Cindy doing what she can to affect events, rather than just reacting, as we’ve seen too much of in some Spider-titles lately. Sure, she’s not in control of her current combat situation, and her timely assist from her mysterious phasing ally isn’t something she planned, but she makes the most of the circumstances that develop. She could have turned tail and ran for safety after the Goblin Nation got distracted, but instead she knocks one out, puts on his “uniform,” and marches back into their records room to find out how her brother got involved with them. That’s a gutsy move, and not even necessarily a smart one, but it puts her squarely in the driver’s seat–a welcome development that will hopefully pay off soon.
Thompson continues to remind readers, briefly, that other events continue to affect Cindy, whether she knows it or not. We learn–in one single panel, on a page where it’s shown that Cindy’s other sub-plots are still around for her to deal with later–that Shrike had simply left her for dead, to make himself look better to Black Cat. Black Cat, for her part, seems genuinely miffed that Silk hasn’t returned with Killer Shrike, making me wonder just how his treachery against Cindy last issue will end up playing out.
I’ve still got some issues with this story, which at this point mostly center around the Goblin Nation. Their introduction in Superior Spider-Man notwithstanding, I have a hard time accepting an army of cannon fodder goblin kids as a genuine threat to the organized crime scene. There’s no real explanation for how they’ve become such an allegedly formidable organization, though I suppose by the time she confronts the Goblin King, we’ll get something of an answer.
Presumably, the Goblin King is still Phil Urich, which is disappointing when I keep hoping it’s actually David Bowie. I can’t deny, though, that that particular Goblin King probably wouldn’t resort to forcefully drugging someone to win them over to his side–something that’s easy for me to believe a scumbag like the younger Urich would do. When Cindy is injected with the Goblin Serum and suddenly is overcome with Goblin Nation goonery, it’s a moment that’s meant to cement the Goblin King as a real bad guy, stripping people of their agency to conscript them. Even if we don’t know enough about him for it to be completely believable, it nevertheless leaves an effective final splash page that at least makes you curious to know what happens next.
I’m afraid that every artist on this title is going to have to suffer being compared to Stacey Lee (for at least a little while), whose art style so successfully worked for this character, and whose absence is notable. Veronica Fish, I will say, has a noticeably similar style, utilizing simple, clean lines and cartoonish eyes and facial expressions to convey emotions effectively. She also does action scenes well–every fight scene in which Cindy features is dynamic and a joy to behold. She has three full-page splashes, all towards the middle and end of the issue, and does a nice job with each of them, displaying the action of a battle, the sinister majesty of the Goblin King, and the shock of Cindy’s sudden and total transformation at the end of the issue. It’s easy to agree that her artwork does a good job of supporting Thompson’s narrative.
Overall, this issue is a little more interesting than the previous installment. It remains to be seen if Robbie Thompson can course correct things enough to save the narrative, but I like what’s going on so far. It’s leaps and bounds ahead of the repetition of the last issue, and actually changes things up in a way that makes the reader interested in what happens next. Veronica Fish’s artwork helps, and hopefully this issue signals a turning point that bring this title back to the joyfulness it had during its initial run.
Thompson focuses on the Goblin Nation subplot, pushing the narrative along and improving things serviceably. Promising artwork by Veronica Fish helps things visually, hopefully setting this title up for a more exciting arc. It still needs to improve, but it's definitely started to do so.