As pleasantly surprised as I was by the first issue of Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee’s Silk, I still managed to lob a fairly serious criticism about the series when I mentioned that for all of its nice characterization and quirky art, the book was in serious need of a hook — something that truly distinguishes the book from the dozens of other comics being released every month.
Unfortunately, I just don’t find the mystery/missing parents angle Silk is taking all that compelling or interesting. It’s a story that’s been done many times over, including very recently in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series, and was even sorta touched upon in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man film franchise. When you consider Silk’s botched introduction in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man and “Spider-Verse,” I just don’t know if I care enough about the character to become invested in what stands to be a very long-running mystery.
Silk #2 doubles down on the parents mystery storyline, taking Cindy on a dead end journey talking to every Tom, Dick and Harry who ever knew her parents, all in a vain effort to find out where they could possibly be. But that’s hardly the comic’s only flaw. The issue opens up with yet another introductory sequence that repeats the bulk of the character beats from Silk #1. In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I would say that Silk #2 was masking itself as a first issue of a series, with just a touch less exposition from what you would normally get in a new No. 1 (unless that No. 1 is Spider-Woman #1, which had NO exposition).
Beyond that, Silk #2 relies on far too many contrived, “oh wouldn’t you know” type situations to advance its narrative. Like Cindy stumbling out of a sewer after fighting a Hydra robot and just so happening to bump into her ex-boyfriend and “first love” who she hasn’t seen in years while she had disappeared from the world and was into hiding from Morlun. Meanwhile, every other significant part of her past — even the pizza place she loves — has vanished into thin air, but her boyfriend is there. How convenient.
Even some of the things I found to be charming and unique about the first issue — primarily its stylized, contemporary language, becomes overexposed, as being a bit gimmicky and played out. This time around, “It’s right behind me,” has replaced “asking for a friend,” as the kitschy thing Cindy says while she’s fighting crime, and her long-winded explanation of how she works a the Fact Channel by day and fights crime at night except when it’s the other way around, felt more like an extended exercise than an effective tool of plot progression and narrative development. If the goal of this series is to make Cindy more relateable to certain age groups or demographics, changing up her catchphrase every issue, or depicting her as a long-winded babbler, are not going to win her many fans.
Don’t get me wrong, Thompson and Lee’s Silk is still considerably more interesting and well crafted than anything we got of the character in the months leading up to the book’s launch, but this second issue does far more too confirm the concerns and fears I had about this series before it launched when compared to the mostly excellent first installment. For all of Marvel’s proclamations of how we, the fans, “demanded” this series, I’m still yet to read a sequence of this series that makes me ponder how empty my life would be without it. Spider-Gwen is a messy, gritty, punk rock version of a Spider-Man series, the new Spider-Woman is looking to go the buddy comedy route by pairing off Jessica Drew and Ben Urich, and Silk just feels like marshmallow fluff — totally sweet and harmless, but lacking substance.
I’m not quite ready to bail on Silk yet, but after this second issue, I’m also not sure if I have any sense of urgency to continue writing about this series for Chasing Amazing. I’ll probably pick up the next few issues in order for me to make an informed decision about whether or not I want to buy it over the duration of its existence. But since I really want to focus my efforts on dissecting new and old comics that provide me with ample things to discuss and break down, don’t be shocked if I take a step back from reviewing Silk for the foreseeable future.