One of the newest characters spinning out of Spider-Man is Silk, a character who was introduced due to the events in the “Original Sin” storyline back in 2014. Silk ended up carrying on in two short-lived solo series, and has appeared in Agents of Atlas more recently. She’s also getting a brand new solo series in March so to prepare, why not read her most important stories? Marvel has collected them all in the Silk: Out of the Spider-Verse Vol. 1 trade paperback out this week.
Silk is a unique character for a variety of reasons, not least of which because she has a cool costume. She also has cool powers like a silk-sense, webs that can come out of her fingertips, wall-crawling, super strength, and superhuman speed that tops Spider-Man. These may all sound familiar, but it makes some sense since her origin ties so closely to Spider-Man’s. Thankfully her character becomes more realized by the end of the book, though at first she’s more of an idea and a riff off Spider-Man.
This book opens on the three-part story in Amazing Spider-Man #4-6 which reveals Cindy gained her powers just after Spider-Man as she was bitten by the same radioactive spider. She was then removed from society and hidden away in a bunker by Ezekiel Sims for ten years to protect her from Morlun. Silk is rescued by Spider-Man only to learn she and Peter Parker have an animalistic attraction to each other. It’s more of a bit than a character trait as the attraction wears off and then is no longer used in subsequent series.
Her introduction is woven into a narrative involving Electro, Black Cat, and a Spider-Man who is also the CEO of his own corporation. More importantly, the creative team does a good job riffing off Spider-Man and his origin with a character who has a unique personality and different kind of perspective than Peter Parker.
Ramos’s art is exceptional, as it was with Spider-Man at the time, thanks to the amount of energy he infuses into the character. Using her webs, Silk has a clever costume that’s almost muscular in its textures and detail. The book looks like a million bucks and reminds us Ramos is one of the best artists to ever draw a Spider-Man book.
The bond between Silk and Spider-Man continues on in Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee’s two solo series (with Annapaola Martello, Tana Ford, and Veronica Fish also joining in on art). Now more like distant siblings, Thompson spends a good deal of time with Silk’s solo series to explore her relationship with her parents, brother, and boyfriend before she was thrown in a vault by Ezekiel. Framing the story around this kidnapping situation, Thompson digs into the anger Cindy Moon feels and how she’s survived and coped after being locked away for ten years.
Along the way, Silk becomes an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. finds some family and begins to understand herself better. In many ways she goes on a journey you don’t often see with superheroes since so little can actually change over time.
The art in the solo books is simpler and more character-focused. Panel work is more about slowing things down and focusing closer on faces and experiences. There’s a manga quality to it thanks to layouts never going too far outside simple structures. The book is always good for a solid full-page splash and there is plenty of action to be had. The style is almost reminiscent of the kind you see in young adult graphic novels. It’s not trying to be hyper-realistic 90s comics, but endearing in its own way.
Silk is a character that always interested me due to her powers, but this trade paperback reminded me how complex and interesting this character became over two short years. Running 360 pages long, check out Silk: Out of the Spider-Verse to be reminded why Marvel was silly to ever drop a Silk solo-series in the first place. There is more to come — these extra-sized collections still haven’t captured “The Clone Conspiracy” — but without a doubt, this book reminds us Silk is a hero with staying power.
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