At some point this last Summer, a prompt tweet crossed my feed that was asking what five characters one would choose to “rebuild that comic universe” and it got me thinking: why do we need Spider-Man anymore? Now, I love the guy, probably my favorite superhero ever, just a real top-tier guy, lotta great stories about him. But, we’ve kinda moved beyond him at this point, especially given the cyclical nature of the stories about him.
At the time, I thought that Kamala Khan was the best, most current update on the character. She’s the teenage superhero of today, designed, developed, and intended to be a Peter Parker for today’s 616. However, there are plenty of equally good choices, like Squirrel Girl, Miles, Ironheart, any of the Young Avengers, etc.
One I hadn’t really thought of until now, though, is Silk.
The last few years have not been plentiful with Silk comics, but the last two minis (weirdly rebranded as one with this collection labeled volume 2) have been excellent, and I think these comics might be the best Silk stories I’ve read. The reason is two-fold: Takeshi Miyazawa tha GOD, and the classic Amazing Spider-Man vibes the comic exudes.
An ancient Korean anti-theist is stealing the youth from influencers, and of course, Silk gets caught up in it, as both a reporter, and a superhero. Really, that kind of setup isn’t just classic ASM, but classic comics in general. There are so many elements at play that are core to the superhero genre, they’re all played totally straight, and it’s an absolute blast.
One of the notable strengths of this series (and volume one) is its use of its cast.
‘Silk’ has a pretty large group of supporting characters for Cindy to bounce off of. She’s got her brother Albert, friends Lola and Rafferty, her therapist, and coworkers, but maybe most importantly, she’s got the one and only J. Jonah Jameson Jr., the second greatest journalist in comics.
There have been some good JJJ comics in the last decade. In the last two, even. This series has known how to use him, and has done so better than any other in recent memory. He’s kind, wise, protective, and also definitely a jackass. These are definitive JJJ comics, which is wonderful, because he’s really never the focus: he’s only here to support Cindy’s story.
The use of Jonah is wonderful, incredible, lovely, and it’s just one tool the team uses to make a comic that feels like a modern classic Spider-Man story, all without Spider-Man. And even then, even with all the dressing of a Spider-Man comic, this comic never strays into being a diet-Peter comic, instead using everything unique to Cindy to make a modern classic Silk comic.
A modern classic comic takes a modern master artist, and that all rests on the shoulders of Takeshi Miyazawa, truly one of the greatest comic artists of this century, and one who perfectly hits action and melodramatic beats better than anyone else.
Few can pull off everything Miyazawa does as well as he can, and I don’t know any of their names. His style and skill are what makes the comic work, and what ties the two volumes together. He’s the best of the best, which is why Age of the Witch is so good.
Silk is a character without all the baggage of Peter Parker, and also most of the prestige, focus, or support. As for potential, I think Cindy might have Parker beat.
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