I have been putting this off for a bit for a couple of reasons. The first is because the conclusion of Silk is not only the end of a book I loved, but also the end of the Spider-Female Initiative (Spider-Woman, Silk, Spider-Gwen) that was kicked off during the Marvel Now Era (2014-2017). This was the one thing that genuinely made me happy in an era of overly political comics, the pushing of heroes who did not have adequate fan bases to support them, Marvel lying about mini-series by touting them as on-goings, both fans and creators saying outrageous things, false diversity where PoC inherit legacy mantles while still being written by white creators, and Marvel’s over saturation of an already crowded market. Not that these titles didn’t fall into some of those pitfalls, but they managed to excel despite it. They added diversity without it feeling forced, they tackled interesting non political issues like motherhood and depression, and they were fun well made comics.
But let’s get into the review now.
Silk 19: Full Circle
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
Happy, Finally: The issue opens with Cindy confronting her dad about his secret outings. She reveals that SHIELD helped her track and observe him and she knows he is working for Fang. Fang reveals herself and engages Silk in a fight. She reveals herself to be the inheritor of Ezekiel’s Spider-Society and that her end goal has been mind-controlling Albert Moon Sr. into making her a serum that will allow her to steal spider powers from others. With a little help from Espectro, Cindy is able to take down Fang and save her father. After the battle, Cindy calls Peter to touch base before heading to Lola and Rafferty’s wedding. The series ends with her in Doctor Sinclair’s office, where she admits she has a long road to go still but she is finally happy.
I’m Not Afraid of Being Afraid Anymore: Robbie Thompson was given quite the challenge in this final issue; a chance to wrap up all the larger on-going threads in the series and bring it full-circle. Despite this, and perhaps because of it, he delivers his best script to date. At no point does this issue ever feel rushed, even though it has to wrap up the larger plot of the series, mostly dealt with in Volume One, and touch base with all the character developments of Volume Two.
The mystery of Fang’s identity and the question of who is Tamara Pearson is wisely blended together and honestly, something I should have seen from the start. Fang is revealed to be the inheritor of Ezekiel’s Spider Society and the grand manipulator of this series. There is tantalizing teases of what a fuller story arc could have looked like, but Thompson manages to give the reader everything they need. Last issue’s reveal of Cindy joining SHIELD helps make this issue work; she uses the many resources she now has to learn everything she needs off panel. Thompson’s dialogue is exposition heavy, but also feels natural. This works partly because we know so little about Fang, which means she can deliver the villainous monologues without it being off-putting. But the biggest reason it works is because the voice of Cindy Moon shines through every dialogue bubble. There is never a moment where the story feels bogged down, or the fun ceases to exist. I really wish the story had been given more space, because there is a lot of fun teases here (another reason to hate The Clone Conspiracy tie-in). We briefly get to see mind control enter the series, allowing for the manipulation of Albert Moon Sr., but I wish we had seen Fang take over Cindy Moon’s mind. It would have fit well with the larger theme of Silk Volume Two, where Cindy often feels out of control of her own life. And it would have given Hector a bigger moment than he gets here, where he would have saved Cindy from herself like he does with Albert Sr. If I have any complaints with the script, it is that Fang’s plan to steal Cindy’s powers feels a lot like Cindy-65’s plan from the Spider-Women event.
The best part of this issue is how rooted it is in Silk’s own continuity. This issue feels like, for the most part, it could have come right after the end of first volume, but then it reminds us of how far all our characters have come. Cindy, the Moon Family, Doctor Sinclair, Lola, Rafferty, and Hector all have a part to play in the issue even if it is just to reaffirm the positive new life Cindy has fought to get. We have had powerful reunions with both Albert Jr. and Momma Moon in the series and now that Albert Sr. is free of mind control we finally get his powerful reunion scene where he empowers his daughter and her life choices. Even Peter and Jonah get to show up; Peter fairs better of the two as we revisit the phone call between Cindy and Peter from the first issue of the first volume. This issue really brings everything full circle and serves as the perfect concluding chapter to the series. So much of this series has been narrated through Cindy’s visits with her therapist so the fact it ends in Doctor Sinclair’s office, where Cindy is finally at peace with herself, feels perfect.
Not only is this Thompson’s best script, but it is also Tana Ford’s best issue. When Ford started, her faces were very sketchy and off putting. Then she started to remove the lines from her faces, which allowed her to master control over the simple emotions and expressions. And in this issue she puts the lines back into her faces, but in subtle ways that allow her control over more complex emotions. Not only that, but her body posture and framing of the panel is on point. The fight between Silk and Fang is the best fight scene in the series. Cindy is fluid and moves through the panel, filling it with webs as she goes. She also gets to create a new version of the Venom Blast, which comes off like a liquid projectile here. And her backgrounds are great, especially when the characters in the world leave an impact on them.
I had a chance to interview Ford recently and she spoke about how she tried to create visual continuity towards the end of the series and you can see it here. A lot of designs, like the repurposed Hydra robots from the first volume, return here and Fang’s office is one giant homage to the series. She also does a lot of work with repetition and inversion in the final scene within Doctor Sinclair’s office, which is the location most often visited in the series. And I would be remiss if I did not mention one last time the incredible work Ian Herring did with this series, and the visual vocabulary he created. He really helps to sell the motion of the fights scenes with more muted colors filling the outlines of where the comics were and more vibrant colors to show where they are. These two have come together to make the art of Silk something special in the end.
Conclusion: Silk was the first ongoing series both Robbie Thompson and Tana Ford got to work on. There have been growing pains, but they have come a long way since when they started. I personally prefer the first volume because Volume Two has suffered from pointless tie ins and a poor conclusion to the Black Cat storyline, but the creative team never failed in creating a fun world. While I have not always loved the work they have done with the supporting cast, I will miss them (Thompson’s J. Jonah Jameson more than anything.) This comic is not perfect, but neither is the titular hero. Cindy Moon is a complex chaotic person but she is definitely in a better place now than she was when the series began.
Robbie Thompson has move on to Stranger Things and Tana Ford told me that she will still be kicking around the Marvel Universe for awhile (fingers crossed for either a Protectors comic or a Silk/Mockingbird led Agents of SHIELD comic) but I will miss the two of them working and learning together. They grew up so fast.
- Ford’s Fantastic Art
- Thompson’s Tight Script
- Herring’s Hearty Colors
- Perfect Ending
TTFN, Ta Ta For Now: I put this off for another reason. This is my last ongoing comic for the Spider-Man Crawlspace. I have been reviewing here since Jonathan Hickman’s FF series brought Spider-Man into their fantastical fold and since then I have reviewed every Carnage series (until his on-going), everything Hickman I could, the adventures of my Venom (Flash Thompson) in space, all three of the Spider-Female titles, and helped put together joint reviews (like The Clone Conspiracy Mega Reviews). I love reviewing for the Spider-Man Crawlspace, I love the community, and I love working with the review staff. I will still be reviewing the occasion guest appearances for Gwen, Cindy, and Jess (I’m possessive) but this is my last regular contribution to the site. So a big thanks to Brad Douglas, and to all you guys for the engaging thoughts and comments throughout the years.