Reviewing SILK #1 by Robbie Thompson, Stacy Lee & Ian Herring.

Well, I wanted to like this book. I really did.

When the character of Cindy Moon/Silk first appeared in the rebooted Amazing Spider-Man #4 I actually kind of developed a bit of a soft spot for her.

Despite her origin story that came off the back of another shambolic Spidey retcon in the ‘Original Sin’ storyline, I felt Marvel might actually have something here.

I was prepared to forgive Marvel for their continued abuse of an iconic character that has never really recovered from the spectacular disaster that was The Clone Saga back in the 90s, I was even willing to go as far as to forgive J. Michael Straczynski and Dan Slott's bastardization of Spider-Man’s origin story that both directly and indirectly leads to where the character is today, a guest star in his own book flanked by some of the worst creations in comic book history (Spider-Ham…take a bow) and one that seems as directionless as he ever was.

Or maybe, I just favour the underdog (let’s call it the Spider-G**n factor)

So, yes, I really did want to like this book.

But I just didn’t.

To be honest, I don’t really know what’s going on with Silk here, and I’m not really sure Marvel do either, because having trawled through a year of the Dan Slott penned Amazing Spider-Man and the terminally dull Spider-Verse ‘event’ in which she was practically front and centre, the Cindy Moon in Silk #1 is not the Cindy Moon that graced those aforementioned titles.

Sure, it’s a first issue, but there’s no spark here. Even Slott managed to make Silk vibrant, fun…sexy even, and, even though it’s hard to give credit to someone who is guilty of tarnishing his fair share of comic book characters (Felicia Hardy/Black Cat for example, who turns up here simply to reinforce the fact that she is now a villain and out to get Silk) at least he put the groundwork in so the character was already established with a back story and origin which makes it all the more puzzling as to why this issue spends so much time going over it all again.

The much touted diversity aspect of the title characters Asian-American background never really comes to the fore, visually or verbally, and what should have been something of a refreshing read develops quickly into a pastiche of Spider-Man’s early days, but done with a female protagonist, even J. Jonah Jameson has secured a spot in this strange parallel world as Cindy Moon juggles crime fighting, work, and her own inner insecurities complete with first person narration and inner dialogue (ring any bells Stan Lee? Steve Ditko?)

The major failing here though, and this may just be a personal thing, is that I could not help but compare this book to the recently revamped ‘Batgirl’ title from DC Comics. Both creatively and in content, there are glaring similarities, the most blatantly obvious of which is tagging Cindy Moon with the same photographic memory trait as Barbara Gordon.

Writer Robbie Thompson (no stranger to Spider stories, check out his Steam-Punk Spider-Lady short in Edge of Spider-Verse #1) tries a little too hard at the hipster/ modern style dialogue that Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher consistently nail in ‘Batgirl’, in Thompson’s hands, it all seems a little too forced for my liking.

Likewise, the art by Stacy Lee left me a little disappointed too, in particular, the action scenes that seemed at odds with the rest of the artwork in the book. This isn’t to say the book is badly drawn, on the contrary, some of the panels, most notably the flashback scenes with Cindy Moon's family, are among some of the best art I’ve seen so far this year and beautifully coloured by Ian Herring. Stacy Lee is some talent as the work on her website proves and there is enough on display in this issue to suggest that, if given time, she can make this book her own.

Plot wise, there are no real surprises, without giving any details away it’s not hard to work out whom the upcoming villains are going to be and who is going to show up pretty soon. There are a couple of new characters introduced who could turn out to be interesting but on the whole I found this premiere issue very bland and uninspiring. Maybe it was the hype and maybe I expected too much, but there are still currently only two really well written female characters in comics at the moment, Ms Marvel and Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, and that isn’t good enough.

It’s already evident that this book is going to sell and sell very well, but in order make it sell and be relevant, future issues need to improve.


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