Silk #1

Marvel Comics

 

by Robbie Thompson & Stacey Lee

Reader Appeal/Publisher Rating: "T" for Teens

Genre: Superhero

 

 

Marvel Comics spins off a new series starring a supporting character from the “Spider-verse.”

 

You really want to like Silk. She is—almost literally—a female rendition of Peter Parker/The Amazing Spider-Man. That said, you’d be hard-pressed to say why Silk needs to exist in the Marvel universe—except that she’s a female version of Spider-Man. That alone gives this new comic series a forced feeling, like some suit from the marketing department visited the Marvel Bullpen one day and said, “Hey, we need to appeal to more high school and college-aged girls. Give us a new Spider-Man and make her a girl. An Asian girl would be great for our demographics. Go!”

 

Well, be careful what you wish for, because that’s often what you get. Here’s how it works out in Silk #1:

 

Cindy Moon is a pretty young woman in her twenties. When she was eighteen, she was (insert eye-roll here) bitten BY THE SAME SPIDER that bit Peter Parker. That heavy-handed storytelling device means Cindy has Spider-strength, powers of adhesion, and a “precognitive awareness” (“Silk Sense” instead of “Spidey-Sense,” but really, what’s the difference?). And she can spin webs out of her fingertips. And she just happens to work for J. Jonah Jameson, who keeps demanding that she give him photos of her spider-hero alter ego...

 

So, yeah, she’s pretty much a Spider-Man literary clone.

 

Still, you say, aren’t most super heroes simply copycats or derivations of ancient mythological heroes anyway? Well, you make a good point, dear reader. So I guess the real question is whether or not female-Spider-Man is a new/old hero worth reading...

 

On the plus side, she’s got a good insecurity-versus-confidence inner monologue going on, and an intriguing backstory about lost family. On the negative side, that inner voice is remarkably close the one Peter Parker trademarked some 50 years ago, and didn’t Spidey already cover “lost family” territory in the death of Uncle Ben?

 

Additionally, Marvel felt a need to wave political banners in Silk #1, shoehorning in a fairly irrelevant “statement” subplot about a lesbian roommate and her dating exploits. It’s one thing if that’s integral to Silk’s story, but in the context here it just feels preachy, and like pandering for progressive street cred. (“Look kids! I’m cool because I think being gay is cool!”)

 

The best part of this comic is Stacy Lee’s confident illustration paired with Ian Herring’s colors. Those two know how to rock a comic book spread! I particularly liked Lee’s facial expressions and sense of movement from panel to panel. Very nice ... but just not enough to make up for the redundancy and political posturing of the rest of this book. Silk #1 should have been great, but in the end (for me at least) the story just fails on too many levels.

 

Parents should be aware that Silk #1 does contain some questionable content, including off-panel dialogue of a lesbian sexual encounter in progress, the occasional profanity, and of course, comic-book violence.

 

--MN

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

 

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