I know this series isn’t without its issues or its detractors, but for my own part I’m always happy to see another issue of Silk published. With all of the “Secret Wars” craziness going on — and to be fair, some of it is really good — it’s nevertheless nice to come back to a slice of the Marvel universe that’s a little more personal, and a little more familiar. While some may find the novelty of a female Spider-hero who’s literally created from the same spider that gave the world Spider-Man wearing thin, I can’t help but be pleased with Cindy’s journey of self-discovery as a superhero.
After her fight with Black Cat went sideways in the last issue, Cindy finds herself on top of an operating table, a man threatening to cut into her while gloating that he has information about her family. While the whole issue of where her family is, as well as who has them and is watching her, is starting to feel drawn out and stale (seriously, let’s move this plotline along!), this scene at least gives it a little nudge. Moving quickly from helplessness to chatty distraction to anger, she manages to free herself in a believable manner and gives readers the hope that we can finally get some solid information about where her folks are.
And then, a few pages later Black Cat takes even that moment of hope away from Cindy. This would be where my biggest problem with this installment lies right now: this arc about Cindy’s lost family keeps getting brought up, and then yanked away without any real development or progress. I get that this is supposed to be a big part of Cindy’s quest to be a superhero, and that these things inevitably involve complications, but it’s starting to feel like nothing is moving forward. Hopefully it’s something that can be taken care of soon, as the annoyance with this tease is finally starting to pull me out of the narrative.
With all that said, there’s still plenty to enjoy about this issue. The pacing is good, the action sequences are tight, and Cindy is appropriately quippy, angry, and vulnerable at various points. My issues with the use of Black Cat as a straight-up villain notwithstanding, it’s both believable and interesting to see these two really starting to grate on each other’s nerves, and clearly we’re starting to get into personal territory here. Even Spider-Man, who I would argue has mostly been unfairly used as a whipping boy in this title, gets a moment of tenderness and genuine reconciliation from Cindy, and that’s very heartening to see.
As always, Stacey Lee’s artwork does an excellent job of carrying the narrative. It’s a clean, simple call-back to older comic art styles, and she manages to use it to infuse Robbie Thompson’s already decent script with warmth, humor, and dynamism whenever they’re called for. I’m particularly a fan of the way Cindy’s pupils are reduced to small little circles whenever she gets really angry. It’s an effective means of conveying that our heroine has had enough, while also being just cartoonish enough to be amusing.
As far as Spider-titles go right now, Silk is one of the few that aren’t currently in flux, even if that is set to change soon. I may not care for the arch-villain Black Cat is shaping up to be for Cindy, and I’m still a little miffed with the ongoing-but-never-developed lost family arc, but even those feel like minor nitpicks when held up against the overall tone of this title. With a likeable main character, plot development that is mostly solid, and artwork that is a delight to behold, this is an easy recommendation to Spider-fans.