Battle View: Spider-Ladies’ Sophomore Slump (Spider-Woman/Silk #2)


SilkSpiderAfter catching readers up with their first issues, both series slow down a bit to deliver necessary story-building chapters. As their stories continue to chug forward, who will leave a stronger impact on the reader: the Sinister Silk or the Pregnant Spider-Woman?

Silk #2
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Tana Ford
Colorist: Ian Herring
C.Artist: Helen Chen
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editors: Devin Lewis & Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso

Spider-Woman #2
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist/C.Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvero Lopez
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editors: Devin Lewis & Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso

 

ShadowsSilk Recap: After a long night of law breaking with Black Cat and Killer Shrike, Cindy Moon struggles to get through her day at Fact Channel. When a mystery package is delivered to her, labelled for her masked persona, Cindy receives a tip on the location of the Goblin Nation hide out. She sneaks into the sewers to investigate and ends up getting discovered. A mysterious ally with phasing abilities helps her escape and she alerts Black Cat of her discovery. Black Cat puts Shrike on the case with Silk, but the sun arises so that becomes a job for another night. Going on her third day without sleep, Cindy comes to work to find a surprise; an aggravated Peter Parker.

Spider-Woman Recap: As Carol Danvers struggles to get to the hospital, Jessica takes down a couple of the Skrulls and then unites the pregnant women against the others. They manage to take down the majority of the Skrulls before Carol informs Jessica that the Skrulls have sealed all entrances to the hospital, making her aid impossible. To make matters worse, the hospital is currently trapped inside a black hole.

I will be comparing these two titles on three elements: Plot Progression, Supporting Cast, and Art.

 

The Plot Progression: Both of these issues are largely just building block chapters, the necessary movement from Point A to Point B. And to its credit, Silk tries to push forward on the Goblin Nation plot line in a way that keeps the Black Cat story in focus too. Silk is exhausting herself jumping between the two plots, while giving us an introduction for a third story line in a new mysterious figure called Espectro. Sadly, there’s not a lot more to write on. For something pushing the plot forward, not a whole lot happens this issue and the introduction of Peter Parker at the end means we’re likely looking at a derailment.

The same complaint is applicable to Spider-Woman, except even less happens. Jess is technically still in the same position as she was at the end of last issue (stranded on a space station with Skrull invaders.) The only real value change is now she has some pregnant women willing to back her up. There is a nice elevation in threat level with the black hole reveal, but I feel like the greatest threat to Jessica at this point is a pre-mature birth; Jessica is sitting at 36 weeks during this story line and her baby is kicking a ton.Carol

I’m giving it to… Spider-Woman. I felt like the stakes of the story were higher for Jessica by issue’s end.

 

The Supporting Cast: Jessica has a strong benefit in this category, as her supporting cast at this point is Captain Marvel. I’ve never cared much for Carol Danvers before All New All Different Marvel, but her new series, her role in the relaunched Ultimates (the best new Marvel series) and the excellent use of her in this title has made her an early contender for my character of 2016. Dennis Hopeless writes a strong womance between Jess and Carol, but its the tighter focus on Jessica I like. She has always had to share her screen time with others since the start of last volume. Gwen Stacy, Cindy Moon, Ben Urich, and Roger Gocking have never overshadowed Jessica, but it’s nice to have her largely on her own this time around.

Over in Silk, Robbie Thompson is trying his best to make us fall in love with the cast of The Fact Channel. Aside from Jonah, I don’t particularly care for anyone else. I’ve no interest in the lesbian lovers/former roommates that Cindy ignores, or the intern whose name Cindy can’t even remember; is the way Cindy treats them supposed to make us? Peter Parker was always well used in the first volume, so hopefully he brings a spark to Silk’s supporting cast that has been missing so far.

This category also goes to Spider-Woman.JESS BAMF

 

The Art: Man, things really aren’t looking good for Silk in this review. The wonderful art of Stacy Lee has been replaced by series regular, Tana Ford. Ford isn’t a bad artist and I do think she’s actually showing improvements  from her last time around. She plays around with some fun angles and panels. She has strong kinetic motion game, much like Lee. And her facial work is showing signs of advancement.

She is no contender against Javier Rodriguez, who actually delivers a fairly weak issue by his standards. Something about the way he draws Jessica’s baby kicking bothers me (it looks like an alien/horned creature is kicking around inside her) but most of his shortcomings around made up for with an incredible sequence where a pregnant Jessica makes quick work of two Skrulls. He continues to play around with shadows here and his world still feels lived in. Just not his best work.

All three categories go to Spider-Woman. Ouch.

 

Silk EndingVerdict: This books are both textbook examples of more of the same. Their creative teams are not on their A game here, but the books still carry some of the charm that each usually delivers in spades. This is largely because the titular characters are still written quite well. Silk has an artist whose giving it her all, while Spider-Woman’s art team still delivers a solid yet underwhelming issue. Hopefully next time around, the creative times can kick it up a notch and deliver these books at the heights I know they can reach.

 

Grades: Spider-Woman (B-) Silk (C+)

 

Spider-Gwen got A, she’s killing it this season. 

(7) Comments

  1. Neil Bogenrieder

    @4- I like to imagine Marvel's editorial room is similar to the Borg fight scene in Star Trek: First Contact. They have completely trashed the boat, and have no real idea what to do with Peter, so Slott gets up and decides to do as much damage to the character as possible while going out in a blaze of glory. I imagine it going down like this: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Prepare+for+ramming+speed

  2. krankyboy

    #4 - Not only pregnant, but pregnant and fighting crime! God, it's all so ridiculous at this point. How long before Marvel's brain trust has Peter suffer from gender identity disorder, grow ovaries and a uterus (thanks to a spell cast by Doctor Strange), and end up pregnant himself? Perhaps Doc Ock can be the father.

  3. Enigma_2099

    I'm trying to wrap my head around this. No marriage or kid for Spider-Man... but Spider-woman can run around pregnant?

  4. Neil Bogenrieder

    Nice review, Shaun. I'll admit I'm very surprised at how well this format works for comic books. On the subject of the art, I cannot stand Tana Ford's art (especially the next issue, but that's not my field). Some of the faces feel incredibly wonky, and it doesn't convey as much emotion as Stacey Lee's work, where each emotion has its own distinct expression and feel. I also feel like she took classes at the Humberto Ramos School of Wonky Anatomy, given that Peter's face in issue #3 looks like a really thin oval. But that's your field. Excellent work, Shaun.

  5. Sean Whetstone

    Great job on reviewing both comic books. I do like that the Silk storyline is taking up some of the storylines that the Amazing Spider-Man book dropped. I will check out the Silk book.

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