We are finally out of the pointless The Clone Conspiracy tie-in, which retroactively has been given some purpose in this issue. Cindy Moon once again stands on the precipice of change, this time ready to face it instead of running away. This issue is also marks the twenty-fifth issue of Silk, spread out over two volumes. Who would have thought Cindy Moon would make it this far?
Silk 18: From The Ashes
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Tana Ford
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Travis Lanham
C.Artist: Helen Chen
Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Why Did You Start: Our story begins with Cindy Moon laying the remains of Mattie Franklin’s reanimate into her grave. The story jumps ahead to Cindy’s final day at Fact Channel, where she is clearing out her desk. Cindy is unsure what she wants to do next, but she is joined by Lola and Rafferty, who remind her that they have her back. Cindy sees Jonah also packing up and takes a moment to check in on him. Jonah is disgraced as a journalist, but emotionally distressed over the second loss of his wife and daughter . Jonah puts his own affairs aside to comfort Cindy, supporting her decision to move past the Fact Channel and into something new.
At home, Cindy and Albert Jr. have a heart to heart, where Albert tries to talk her into being a superhero full time. Cindy seems uncertain and Albert lets her know that giving up Silk will only make their father happy. Albert’s words move Cindy to make a decision and she decides to enlist with SHIELD. The issue ends with Bobbi bringing her to SHIELD Academy.
I Do Not Even Remember: The Clone Conspiracy arc was the low point of Robbie Thompson’s tenure on Silk, saved only by Irene Strychalski’s art. Thankfully this issue is much stronger work from Thompson and sees the return of series regular, Tana Ford. The issue is not without faults, but for the first time in 2017 I feel like the book has a direction. One of those faults is the opening set of pages, which features some of the most overwrought dramatic monologing seen in the series. Despite have next to no effect on Cindy in the story, Mattie Franklin’s death is suddenly the equivalent of Cindy losing everything. Maybe I missed something in the last three issues (unlikely since there was no subtext to the last arc) but the only impact Mattie really had on this series seemed to be for Jonah’s sake. Thankfully, Ian Herring really sells the mood of these pages, but the less this series feels beholden to The Clone Conspiracy, the better.
Speaking of Jonah, his departure from this series is another low mark. Even when Silk is not firing on all cylinders, Thompson’s handling of Jonah is a highlight of the series. Thompson leaves Jonah in a really dark place, having lost both his family and his credibility as a journalist, being fired from a news station he himself started. I am going to miss Thompson’s J. Jonah Jameson, perhaps even more than I will miss his Cindy Moon. Sadly, Thompson derails Jonah’s departure to have him be one of several characters trying to make Cindy feel good this issue. Another pair of characters doing this are Lola and Rafferty, but I will definitely not miss them. In twenty five issues, Thompson has managed to make neither of them memorable or given either a narrative arc. What made Peter Parker’s supporting cast so memorable was that they grew with Peter. Look at Flash Thompson, who started off as an interesting character (hates Peter, idolizes Spider-Man) and grew into an even more complex character capable of supporting multiple series. Lola and Rafferty will never be that and rival most of Slott’s creations as some of the most pointless characters in the Spider-Verse.
Thankfully, the second half of this book is really strong. While Tana Ford struggles with Jonah’s emotional reaction, she nails the emoting between brother and sister in the scene with Albert Jr. Albert continues to be one of the strongest supporting cast members, acting as the voice of reason and a sounding board for Cindy. The jovial way Ford draws his face makes him stand out amongst the dour faces of most characters and his scar makes his face oddly vibrant. The series works well when Thompson is writing a Cindy Moon willing to face her own personal crisis, but this issue works best when Thompson steps back to let Ford and Herring lead. Ford is definitely improving with how she fills panel space and how her characters break free of the panel frames. Another bit of improvement in the issue is Ford’s clothing, which is something she has struggled in the past (especially with Mockingbird’s costume which thankfully does not rear its ugly head here.)
Verdict: While still partially beholden to The Clone Conspiracy arc, the issue rapidly improves when it moves away from it in the second half. Tana Ford’s work is stronger than ever, Ian Herring’s palette more tasteful than ever, and Robbie Thompson is finally setting Cindy on a path for change. Thompson and Ford have improved consistently through Silk’s twenty five issues and they only have one issue left before Cindy Moon’s series comes to an end. The Spider-Female initiative that began with Marvel NOW has been the highlight of Axel Alonso’s reign at Marvel for me and I am sad to see these titles coming to an end. I hope Thompson, Ford, and Herring nail the ending.
- Ford’s art
- Herring’s colors
- A sense of direction
- Lingering CC plot
- Jonah’s unceremonious departure from the series