Two issues to go until twenty five, one issue left in The Clone Conspiracy crossover, and the promise of heartbreak lies over the title. Check out this review for my theory on the heartbreak, not that the book tries to hide it all that hard.
Silk #16: Ghost In The Machine
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Irene Strychalski
Colorists: Ian Herring & Irma Kniivila
Letterer: Travis Lanham
C. Artist: Helen Chen
Recap: Anthony Gambino
Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Everything Here Is Perfect: Our issue picks up with Cindy Moon and J. Jonah Jameson talking about the implications of his resurrected family. As with the previous issues, Jonah refuses to see anything bad and leaves with Marla Jameson. Cindy is left with Mattie Franklin, who recognizes her as Silkworm. Mattie admits she is a little shook by everything and gives Cindy the tour she promised her, tentatively trusting her because of Jonah’s faith in Cindy. Mattie is noticing some glitches with certain reanimates, who disappear after being taken to be fixed. She leads Cindy to Haven, where the reanimates are supposed to remain until New U goes public; Mattie is allowed access to the building exterior, but nothing more, to promote the idea a superhero is supporting New U. Mattie reveals that a new Haven addition is what lead her to deduce Cindy is Silkworm. This turns out to be Hector, who explains Doctor Octopus found a way to merge his ghost form with a human copy of himself.
Back in New York, Albert Sr. intervenes with Lola and Rafferty’s continuing investigation into the companies the Moons worked with in the Negative Zone, at the behest of his employer.
Mattie and Jonah have a brief heart to heart while Hector tells Cindy that she has to let go of the anger that is driving her away from her family. After Jonah’s departure, both Mattie and Hector begin to hear a loud noise; this is the glitch Mattie referenced earlier. Cindy tries to help them, but Espectro’s ghost form begins to split Hector’s new body apart and he attacks Cindy.
I Should Have Stayed In New York: This issue is rough. The surface level of this comic is already subpar Silk’s usual, but what really hurts is the lack of substance beneath the surface. While previous issues in this arc have been content to have the fairly obvious subtext comparison of Jonah and Cindy (both get their families but one runs to while the other runs away) this issue brings it to the forefront of both Jonah’s monologues and Cindy’s interior monologues, beating you over the head. Despite this, I think Jonah is still being portrayed wonderfully here, spouting some insane things like “Now, there is no more goodbyes”, but I have hit a saturation point of ignorant Jonah. Either get to the anger or have Jonah’s character evolve for the first time in forever.
This story is clearly about Hector and Cindy, before anything else. Future solicits promise heartbreak ahead for Cindy and I think Hector is about to bite it. If I had any doubt, it died when Hector passed on his most important life lesson about letting go of the anger that consumes you. A fairly generic life lesson and if you are going to go with the generic life lessons, at least find a way to punch up the delivery. Hector’s solution is let it go and channel it into being a superhero, but Cindy is already a superhero, so what is the lesson you are trying to pass on here, Hector? Cindy’s psychological issues extend much further than anger, but rather than go for a complex complicated ordeal, Robbie Thompson wants to dumb it down to anger issues. Cindy’s psychological ordeals have been the hook of this book for 23 issues and this just feels like Thompson wants to be done with it.
The best part is the brief aside with the Moon family back in New York. Albert Jr. continues to shine amongst the supporting cast and Thompson manages to blend both Cindy’s work life and Silk life with her family life by having Albert Sr. become involved in Lola and Rafferty’s investigation. The scene is too brief to reveal indication of where that will go, but it is a solid first step. I also really enjoy Mattie Franklin’s presence in the book, especially how she is able to deduce Cindy’s identity as Silkworm through Hector and his high school connection to Cindy. However, she is largely exposition and not even for Cindy’s book but Dan Slott’s main Clone Conspiracy title.
Thankfully, the art team is here to carry the book through weak story issues. Irene Strychalski fills the book with infrastructure and fun paneling, while her art team of Ian Herring and Irma Kniivila use an interesting technique to spotlight the main characters of each scene. Strychalski uses a lot of sharp lines in her background, which the colorists use to contrast background; black backgrounds with white lines or vice versa. I also really enjoy the panel placement over splash backgrounds,as they never seem to clutter the backdrop image.
Verdict: This book is generic in all the worst ways. If you want to emotionally devastate your audience, try not to telegraph the big death coming up with a purge of generic life lessons spewing out of one character. Things that have worked in previous issues have hit a saturation point this issue, which in part has to do with poor pacing of the storyline as a whole. When the only thing lying under the surface of your comic is information to be found in another series, you have not done a very good job. This issue also feels like a betrayal of Cindy’s struggles and not even a stellar art team can save that.
- Excellent art team
- Blending of Cindy’s multiple lives in one short scene
- Betrayal of Cindy’s struggle
- Nothing under the surface
- Setup for another series
- Poor pacing