Silk #1 Review
I don’t like Silk. I find her annoying. She came out of Original Sin and I expected her to be some side character to add complications to Peter’s already weird relationship with Anna Maria. But then she started swinging around city, telling Spider-Man to fuck off to Houston or something, and making everything worse for everyone in Spider-Verse. But apparently I’m in the minority in not liking her because she got popular enough to get her own solo book (but not so popular that Dan Slott didn’t feel the need to defend the new book on various online forums). Anyway, can this new book do what Alpha: Big Time did for Alpha and make me like a character from Spider-Man that I really didn’t? Kinda.
The issue starts out with Silk fighting some jobber supervillain called Dragonclaw. Her “silk-sense” (which Spider-Man points out sounds like shampoo, because it kind of does) starts freaking out and Spider-Man has to save her. After Dragonclaw flies off, she heads to work at the news station thing where we learn that she has actually been looking for her family using the station’s resources and connections. From there, it’s just her getting used to life outside of the bunker she was living in for a decade, as well as flashbacks to what happened to her the day she got bit by the spider.
The flashbacks are one of the best parts of the issue. When she was first introduced, she jumped straight into action. We didn’t really see any scenes of her being out of place or confused by anything in the present, and she was only worried or interested in her family for a hot second before right back to punching things and sex. In this issue we get to see some of the isolation and stress that comes with being locked up in a big metal box underground for 10 years and not knowing what happened to your family or friends. The flashbacks show us her relationship with her parents, her little brother, and her boyfriend. While it is all standard teenage stuff, it does something to help her feel like more of a character.
And those 10 missing years also help her at work, with J. Jonah Jameson taking a liking to her since she doesn’t know what that damned Twitbook is and uses a notepad instead of a smartphone or tablet. Plus, Jameson likes Silk. This is a bit of a double-edged sword for me, though, with it being a flip on the professional relationship between JJJ and a Spider-Person. On the one hand, it does make Silk not feel like a copypaste of Peter and helps her feel like her own character, but on the other it swings too far and goes into the territory of people’s problem with her when she first showed up: That she’s a better version of Peter Parker. This is compounded when Jameson runs a story saying that Silk is a hero while Spider-Man is still a menace.
Speaking of a better Parker, Silk’s spider-sense (I’m just gonna keep calling it spider-sense) seems to be acting up in a weird way. When she was introduced and all throughout Spider-Verse, her spider-sense was so much better than everyone else’s, with her being able to sense danger coming before anybody. Now it seems like it’s amping itself up, going off for even the tiniest little thing. In the issue she says her spider-sense went because a college student was sad a friend had ditched them. It feels almost like backpedaling, trying to give one of her better spider powers a handicap to make her not so OP.
As I mentioned above, Spider-Man is in this himself, and the relationship between the two of them has changed a bit since we last saw them together. At the ending of Spider-Verse, he was in her arms and they joking about whether or not they should pork, but now she’s almost distancing herself from him. Maybe something happened in the intervening time between Spider-Verse and this issue, or maybe it’s trying to force home the “she’s isolated” thing, but I’m not really sure why they did this. But on the plus side, it means we won’t get any more hi-larious scenes of them taking each other’s clothes off so much that someone needs to carry around water gun, which is nice.
The issue also goes for its fair share of jokes, what with it being a Spider-Man adjacent book and all. The jokes were pretty hit and miss for me, with some of them coming across as fairly natural and funny, while others feel forced or derivative of earlier jokes. One joke (At least I think it was supposed to be a joke) made me cringe at how terribly “young” it was supposed to be. It was way too wordy and stupid to actually be funny and, when combined with the art, reminded me of the new Batgirl book. And nothing is good when you’re reminding me of the new Batgirl book. Unless it’s just the art, that is. Stacey Lee is doing interiors on this issue and it looked pretty good in everything except the action, which feels kind of boring and lifeless.
Finally, my biggest problem with this issue is that it doesn’t really feel like anything happened outside of setup for stuff to happen later in the book. I read through this thing three times for this review and I don’t feel like anything was accomplished. The story just kind of goes until it says “To be continued…” at the bottom of the page.
I’m still not a big fan of Silk, and the fact that this issue introduces an almost all new interpretation of her doesn’t really help that. Some of the problems I have with the character have been addressed, but I still don’t really care about her. Despite some pretty good expressive artwork and some pretty funny writing, Silk #1 doesn’t feel like the start of a book that I’m hyped to read month to month or whatever the release schedule ends up being. It feels like the start of a book I’ll check out the second or third issues of, and if nothing catches my interest by then I’ll probably drop it entirely. Your mileage may vary, though, depending on your pre-existing animosity or lack thereof for the character.
While the artwork and writing do a decent job at making me not hate the character of Silk as much as I did in Spider-Verse, they can't make this issue anything more than alright. It just sets things up for later in the book and doesn't really accomplish much outside of that setup. It's a weak "introduction" to this character that probably won't sell anyone on her.