From the publisher: “Cindy Moon exploded into the Marvel Universe when we learned she was bitten by the same radioactive spider that empowered Spider-Man! She then went on to save Peter Parker’s life (more than once!) and traverse the Spider-Verse. Now, as Silk, Cindy is on her own in New York City.”
Sliding our way into the second day of the Week of Spider-Man, we find ourselves facing yet another female hero in the Spider-Family roster. This is by no means a bad thing, and in fact it’s no secret most of my favorite Marvel and DC characters are heroines (I’ll probably get to a retro series on Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel soon). However, unlike Spider-Gwen from yesterday, Silk is not the product of an alternate universe but rather exists alongside the primary Earth’s Spider-Man and the rest of the mainline publications heroes.
Introduced in the pages of Spider-Man’s series before the events of Spider-Verse, Silk was a student who was bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker. This gave her similar proportional strength and wall-crawling abilities, as well as a particularly sensitive spider-sense and the power to spin webbing from her fingertips. After the initial development of her abilities, she was whisked away into an underground bunker for 10 years to hide her from the Inheritors (the baddies for Spider-Verse we’re not covering now). Eventually, Peter Parker found her bunker and accidentally set her free into modern day New York City. Understandably so, upon her initial debut some people complained about her the incredibly convenient retcon that gave her powers, combined with the fact that her abilities are basically “Spider-Man but better”. Luckily, she became a central player in the Spider-Verse event which gave her time to develop into a capable hero, or at least capable enough to carry her own title.
This is where we start off in Silk Volume 0, with Cindy Moon (Silk’s alter ego) starting her new lease on life after Spider-Verse’s conclusion. After landing employment as an intern at Fact Channel News, she begins to use both her job and her powers to search for her missing family (who she last saw right before being locked up a decade prior). The struggle to find those she left behind is a compelling motivation for Cindy, and her concerned panic is written remarkably well. Of course these personal problems have to be mixed in with straight up super-hero antics, and Cindy has those in spades as well. In the first few issues she has confrontations with Dragonclaw (Is Pokemon still a thing? Asking for a friend), a suitably themed small time villain who flies through New York committing theft. Following two battles, there is a small subplot involving Dragonclaw’s potential redemption which is remarkably sweet. As is the nature of her job though, trouble escalates as her escapades land her in the crosshairs of Black Cat (who recently turned villain). However, throughout her crime fighting escapades her personal quest to find her relatives continues to be woven directly into things while somehow managing to not feel forced at all. It’s a perfect example of the kind of storytelling that has always made Spider-Man himself so popular, with lots of heart and genuinely soft moments.
Cindy Moon herself is a surprisingly compelling protagonist that makes it high on my list of favorites. As a person, she is seen to very blunt and introspective as a direct result of being isolated from society for as long as she was. A very large portion of the dialogue in this series is inner monologue, as she is in her own head very often constantly thinking about her parents, brother and the crime fighting around her. She struggles with many regrets from before she was put away, and directly confronts several of them just in these 7 initial issues. Also, while she took part in extensive combat training through the years, she has little experience actually fighting anyone and is unaware of the full extent of her abilities (in some cases hitting villains much harder than intended). It certainly does not help that her powers are on the fritz when the series picks up, which causes Spider-Man to worry about her and attempt several times to help find out what’s wrong. Eventually it is brought up that of all things, she may just be overloaded with anxiety issues, a characterization choice I honestly applaud for its relatability. While she is in fact surrounded by very well written characters, Cindy Moon truly carries her series on her back.
All of this quality storytelling is presented very well for the majority of the volume. Silk’s costume, again much like Spider-Gwen’s, is an absolutely brilliant take on the Spider-Family themed getups. The use of shades of black and grey with lines of red is very pleasing to the eye, which when combined with the face mask gives her a very stealthy appearance (possibly meant to mimic a ninja due to Asiatic heritage). Honestly I will be forever puzzled by how she weaves that entire thing on the spot with her powers (as with most of her clothing) but not everything can be explained so we’ll roll with it. Aside from just her costume, the rest of the art is consistently well defined and presents the story with clarity. Unfortunately, the style of the illustration completely changes twice in these initial 7 issues alone due to the rotation of artists, but this does not detract too much (although it is definitely jarring). I was particularly a fan of the method used for the first couple of issues, though the later portions were definitely up to par. If anything, the only thing negative to say about how Silk looks is that aside from outfit design it doesn’t do anything totally out of the ordinary, but I don’t expect to have my mind blown by every comic I pick up off of the shelves.
All together, we are 2 for 2 in our Week of Spider-Man review marathon. Spider-Gwen was bombastic, and Silk is sincere and relatable in a way that I wish I could see more often. I highly recommend giving the series a shot, and keep a look out for tomorrow’s article!