There was a part of me that was genuinely worried that Silk wouldn’t survive the post-Secret Wars relaunch. Marvel’s been throwing a lot of things from the Spider-Man franchise out in the market in the last 12 months and seeing what sticks (as it were, damn spider jokes) and with three different female solo-spider books on top of team-books, crossovers, events and more, I was worried that Cindy Moon’s story would get lost in the shuffle.
Lacking the longevity (/ atrocious pregnancy concept) of Spider-Woman or the brand awareness of Spider-Gwen, Silk’s story has always been more intimate, personal and considered in its approach. Luckily these are the things that make it (for me, at least) the best Spider-family title Marvel are currently producing and it’s so wonderful to see it return for a new series.
Finally getting a foothold on adult life, this new series of Silk begins by showing Cindy’s progress in both sorting out her life and coming to terms with her imprisonment in a bunker for ten years. None of these developments are necessarily as exhilarating or flashy as the issue’s acrobatic fight sequences (once again panoramically portrayed by returning artist, Stacey Lee) but each shows Cindy making steps towards normality and representing strong character development.
Writer Robbie Thompson even intercuts them with Cindy’s heroics seamlessly – Silk disabling a low-level foe while musing about the satisfaction in finally paying rent would feel out of place for a lot of books but for Cindy it’s completely consistent. Being a hero and being a person are both brand new experiences for Cindy and she’s approaching both with the same resilience. That passion for small details undeniably spills over into Lee’s artwork, filling the issue’s background with nods to Pokémon and Sailor Moon that make me grin like an idiot every time I spot one.
A big part of Cindy’s progress seems to stem from finding her brother at the end of the previous volume. (A Last Days issue that compacted the emotional scope of Ms. Marvel’s tie-in arc into a single, tender issue.) While the search for her parents continues in vain, tracking down her troubled brother has given Cindy a new sense of responsibility and stability. With him found, Cindy is no longer the focus of her own attention as Albert is in much worse circumstances and requires her support in a way that allows her to gain a healthier perspective on her struggles and even joke about them a bit.
It’s obviously a temporary distraction from Cindy’s own lingering PTSD from her imprisonment – a subject beautifully explored in the previous volume and touched on again in a promising encounter with Mockingbird – but it’s genuinely heartwarming to see Cindy progressing, complete with actual job for J Jonah Jameson. (Kieron Gillen has taught me not to get emotionally attached to comic book characters but I feel safe with Silk. This is almost certainly a bad idea.)
While the main creative team (Thompson on writing, the flawless Lee on pencils and inks and Herring on colours) have all returned for this new volume, former cover artist Dave Johnson has left the title and been replaced by (Mingjue) Helen Chen. Chen has done amazing work on Gotham Academy and brings her gorgeous paintbrush style to this issue’s cover, giving Cindy a sense of fluidity in her pose against a rigid background scene that utilises light really imaginatively. Additionally it’s wonderful to see a second WOC artist getting the chance to portray Silk, a key minority heroine, especially after the sexualised, awkward and downright unattractive covers that Dave Johnson produced for the series.
There’s so much to love in this issue and with this character, I can only implore you to give it a shot and pick it up. This new volume of Silk is taking new chances on a character that already feels like a well-established favourite after just a year, never afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve or be passionate about the little details that are often overlooked. Silk is your new favourite superhero, if she isn’t already.
Writer – Robbie Thompson
Artist – Stacey Lee
Colourist – Ian Herring
Cover Artist – Helen Chen
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Adam Sorice is a literate graduate turned grown-up who writes about comics when he’s not describing himself in the third person. He wrote his dissertation on Lady Gaga; he’s quite proud of this.