Comics : Silk #1
This review was first published on: Apr 2015.
I’m not a fan of messing with comic book origins, particularly if it means adding more characters with the same super-powers. (As in, “Cindy Moon was bitten by the same spider that bit Peter Parker,” as the intro page puts it.) It starts to have that Superman, Supergirl, Krypto, Streaky, Beppo feel. Still, Silk was a fairly interesting addition to the whole Spider-Verse story. Now, she gets her own series and it’s fairly interesting too.
Apr 2015 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Silk is battling a villain called Dragonclaw. “Sounds like a Pokemon,” she quips, “Is Pokemon still a thing? Asking for a friend.” When her spider-sense goes on overload, Dragonclaw sends her falling. Spider-Man rescues her but she’s has no time for him. She weaves clothing out of her fingertips (a power that Spider-Man definitely does not have) and heads to work.
Flashback to Cindy, a week from turning eighteen, arguing with her parents. We meet them and her little brother Junior. We also learn that Cindy has been dating someone named Hector Cervantez for six months.
It is now ten years later and Cindy has spent most of that time in a bunker so that the Inheritors wouldn’t find her. Now, she has a job at the Fact Channel where she quickly gets colleagues Lola (with whom she is also rooming) and Rafferty to see that they are attracted to each other and gets on J. Jonah Jameson’s good side because she is unaware of Twitter and uses a pad and paper instead of a tablet. Jameson, who isn’t actually the boss but acts like he is, calls her “Analog” and gets her to pitch a Silk story in which Spider-Man is the bad guy. But the real reason she has taken a journalistic job is to try to track down her family.
As Silk, she again encounters Dragonclaw and punches him into a garbage bin only to find his armor there with no one inside it. “Memo to self: tie up bad guys,” she thinks. “Also: learn own strength. Also: find new place to live,” since Lola and Rafferty have become very serious, using Cindy and Lola’s apartment for their rendezvous.
In another flashback, Hector gives Cincy an anklet with a moon on it. “A moon for my moon,” he says and the two of them attend the Science Exhibit where she will encounter the radioactive spider. Peter Parker is also there.
Having vacated her apartment, Cindy calls Spider-Man to get advice on filtering the static of her “Silk-Sense.” (“Sounds like a shampoo,” says Spidey.) Elsewhere, Dragonclaw, bereft of his armor, reports to the Black Cat who sends Dragonclaw to “the shop,” then requests all the information there is on Silk.
As Silk returns to her bunker, Dragonclaw arrives at “the shop” where “the Repairman,” a sort of low-rent Tinkerer, is instructed to give him a “full makeover.” “How do you feel about being an actual dragon?” asks the Repairman.
In the bunker, Cindy gets to work trying to locate her family, using her webbing to hang pictures and articles on the wall. Somewhere, someone watches her on a monitor. “You were right. She came back to the bunker,” says one unseen observer. “No,” says another, “She came home.”
According to the text page in back, writer Robbie Thompson has been working on the TV show Supernatural for years. I don’t watch that show and I’m not all that hot on TV writers transferring to comics (Ron Zimmerman, anyone?) but I have to give Robbie credit here. He gets us up to speed on Silk’s origin, gives us a glimpse of her missing family and boyfriend, and painlessly takes us back to the bunker. His writing is pithy and brisk and easy on the ear; very readable, just begging to be read out loud. I like Cindy’s character as it comes through in her monologues. Her pseudo-Spidey patter during battle is well-done, too. Cute and clever but hesitant and self-conscious, just like her character. But what do you expect from a woman who spent ten years alone in a bunker? And speaking of Spidey, the two scenes in which he speaks with Silk are gems, demonstrating his sassy self-assurance and her awkwardness.
Stacey Lee’s artwork took a while to grow on me. It is a bit like Darwyn Cooke crossed with Manga. The flashbacks are especially Anime cartoony (such as page 13 panel 1) as if Cindy’s past life was an Astro Boy cartoon. But the composition is solid and there are moments within the cartoonishness, such as the Dragonclaw’s crazed look on page 3 panel 4 or Silk dropping out of panel to end her talk with Spidey on page 4 panel 3 or Cindy standing center-stage but separate from all the people behind her glued to their smartphones on page 10 panel 1 that really shine. I also like the sequence on page 13 panel 5 and page 14 panels 1 & 2, in which we go from the flashback of the Science Exhibit to Silk’s phone conversation with Spider-Man. In the flashback we see a close-up of Cindy and Hector’s clasped hands, apparently seen from behind, while Peter Parker is in the midground on the right in profile. A turn of the page brings us to Silk, on the right as Peter was, with her back to us, as she apparently is in the panel with the clasped hands. She is on the phone with Spidey who is, in the next panel, turned to the right as Peter was in the flashback. Nice transition. Good stuff.
A good start with a strong script and artwork that grows on you. I’m looking forward to what comes next.