The Amazing Spider-Man & Silk #1-4 Review (Spoilers)


detail-7Taking place during the pages of Silk #3 (all the way back in February), we have a many headed tale of time travel and family. (There will be an interactive feature with some photos, click on them to reveal a continuation of that panel.) 

The Amazing Spider-Man & Silk: The Spider-Fly Effect

Scripts: Robbie Thompson

Storyboards: Geoffo

Pencils: Todd Nauck (1-2, 5-8), Tom Grummett (3-4)

Inks: Todd Nauck (1-2, 5-8), Wayne Faucher (3-4)

Colors: Veronica Gandini

Letters: Cory Petit

Production: Annie Cheng & Tim Smith III

Cover Artist: Scott Forbes

Editors: Heather Antos & Jordan White

Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso

14311215_1289870637720584_3951861707565541073_oThe Story: Our story begins with Peter Parker and Cindy Moon fighting as The Amazing Spider-Man and the Spectacular Silk. This is shortly after Peter became CEO of Parker Industries and Cindy began to work for Black Cat, undercover for SHIELD. They catch up on each other’s lives while publicizing Silk’s villainous persona. Something happens in Queens during their fight and they investigate it to discover a time traveler in a dinosaur themed suit called Chronosaurus Rex. CR jumps back in time but the Spider-Duo follow them back. This takes them back ten years in the past and puts Hydra after them.

In this timeline, we learn CR stole the time travel tech from the high ranking Hydra Agent known as Cole, but CR takes off before the fight. Peter and Cindy are left to fight Hydra, but lose their powers. Thankfully they are saved by Uncle Ben. Ben refuses to let Cindy and Peter run around alone in his neighborhood, even after they explain to him that they are superheroes from the future. The trio interrogate a Hydra goon who reveals that Chronosaurus Rex is actually a man named James Harper, who hijacked the time travel suit from his boss in the future. They explore the Harper household to discover that Harper and his wife had a dispute. James Harper was captured shortly after the dispute, while his pregnant wife retreated to her friend, Martha14289955_1289870657720582_2340779394841262171_o.

At Martha’s they hit a dead end tracking James and Hydra. Just as he is about to give up, a paper hits Peter in the face, informing him of a particular radioactive science fair. Peter, Ben, and Cindy head towards the science fair, accidentally cutting off the original host of the experiment. Cindy and Peter run into their younger selves and Cindy forces Peter to put on the experiment before her younger self leaves. Peter does it, giving birth to their miracle spider but Ben kills it before it can bite young Peter. Ben convinces Peter to let his younger self help track down the Hydra base.

Leaving their younger selves behind, Peter and Cindy stalk out the base with Ben. CR returns and we discover that its pilot is actually Ines Harper, James Harper’s daughter from the future.

14238214_1289862531054728_225676354863917701_nShe stole the suit to try and stop her dad from walking out on them this day. Ben talks Ines into helping them and they attack the Hydra base. They manage to stop Hydra and free James Harper, but he still walks out on his family. Ben reminds Ines it is not her fault; she had great power and she used it for her family, not evil. Peter convinces Ines to stop herself in the future, undoing this whole adventure.

Peter and Cindy are once again reliving the fight from Silk #3, while Ines blows up the CR suit. Somewhere on the outskirts of time, Hydra Agent Cole warns Hydra of their newest threat; Silk.

14310463_1289870707720577_3051307810589649966_oThoughts: It is weird to go back and review this comic, since Silk #3 feels so long ago. In the time since Silk #3, Cindy has gone through a ton: she’s fought an evil version of herself on Spider-Gwen’s world, taken down the Goblin King, fought and knocked down Black Cat’s criminal organization, come out to her supporting cast about her identity as Silk, and even gone to the Negative Zone. Yet this series is stripped of its continuity and desire to portray Cindy in an emotionally complex way; the biggest thing we learn about Cindy in these eight issues is how deep her love of hockey goes. This is Cindy and Peter having a blast being superheroes lost in time. There is some grade A quips and even the weakest joke material has legs to stand on; there is some strong material on Silk’s popularity, Ben’s catchphrase, and the best way to get radioactivity from a spider. It is nice to see these two characters check in with each other. They have a weird history, which is something that comes up throughout the story line before Thompson decides to settle on them being akin to playful siblings.

This story finds it heart in what family means, especially with those you already lost. This story really comes off like Robbie Thompson wanting to write an Uncle Ben story. Ben Parker is far more of a badass than usual, but is emotional support as much as physical. We also check in with Cindy’s past, but it has far less impact and has been done better.

14289872_1289862484388066_8314693997817141474_oYou definitely want to read this as an Infinite comic. Just the way the production team assembles this comic is great, bringing fight and chase scenes to life in a way you can not do with normal comics. I was introduced to Geoffo on a previous Infinite comic (you guys remember when Joshua Fialkov was writing Alpha? He also did a Spider-Man Infinite) and his work is better now than it was before. The action flows to life with his story boarding skills. The panels are cut in ways that allow them to come together like a puzzle, but there is also little asides or quips that the Infinite platform brings into fight scenes very organically. You can read conversations in tandem and they stack well on top of each other. The Infinite format allows scenes to build quickly, which is a strong asset for comic storytelling. Kudos to Geoffo, Annie Cheng, and Tim Smith III.

As for our artists themselves, the work is solid. Todd Nauck handles six of the eight issues, with Tom Grummett helping out with the third and fourth issues. I was first introduced to Nauck with Nightwing and if there was ever a trial run for Spider-Man, it would be Nightwing. Sadly this is not Nauck’s best work. His figures are tight and his background average. Thankfully his figures are also kinetic and portray the required emotion well. Tom Grummett’s work seems to open the series up for a couple issues. His features are larger and there feels like there is more space to the comic. I was actually a little sad he did not show up in the second half of the comic. Perhaps Wayne Faucher does a better job inking Grummett’s work than Nauck does on his own work?  Veronica Gandini does an excellent job coloring the series, especially with her vibrant and diversive skylines. I have some serious respect for Cory Petit’s letters. There is a lot of words in this comic and yet you never feel at a loss for who is talking.

14237752_1289862327721415_5592118541014275485_nI find Robbie Thompson to be king of the B Title, and that was pretty much true here. Each issue ranked in the B grade, save for two exposition heavy issues that got C+. This is not Thompson at his best, but this was also written awhile ago; The last issue came out 4 months ago. The Harper Family aspect kind of sucked. The late reveal of Ines derails the plot for a ton of exposition. And then an issue dedicated to spending time with their families at the end felt unneeded. Thankfully Thompson chooses to erase everything from the real timeline. It was fun, but short of maybe a stronger Hydra presence in Silk, it is better gone.

14258155_1289862361054745_5473007376407778492_oVerdict: A strong example of the pros of the Infinite style comic, this series is a fun bit of bonding between Cindy and Peter. It all gets erased at the end, but the journey has a lot of humorous highlights and an unusual take on Uncle Ben. I find it to be better than Amazing usually is and is a fun piece of this Marvel era. If you buy everything, it will come to around 18-20 dollars, but the first half is already on Marvel Unlimited.

Pros:

  • Funny
  • Strong character dynamics
  • Infinite style
  • Production team
  • Captures the feel of All New, All Different Spider-Man comics

14257509_1289870621053919_8450879174741999750_oCons:

  • Art team could be stronger
  • Ultimately means nothing
  • Uneven pacing
  • 18 bucks to get it all

B