The final Silk solo volume is here to remind us strong character work will make her last for a very long time.
Often readers don’t discover a series until the trade paperback and sometimes it’s too late. Too late, because the title has been canceled and what you hold in your hands is the final chapter (at least for now). I had that experience reading Silk Vol. 3: The Clone Conspiracy and dammit I’m mad this series is over!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Silk is drawn into the Clone Conspiracy! And with a variety of folks mysteriously dead no more, she’s about to face a Spider-Woman back from the grave! New U has made J. Jonah Jameson’s dreams come true. First, his late wife, Marla, was returned to him, and now his adopted daughter, Mattie Franklin, is alive again as well! It should be a time for celebration, but Cindy Moon is feeling anything but festive – especially since her boss’ entire resurrected family is setting off her spider-sense! And since Mattie used to be Spider-Woman, what will she make of Silk?
Why does this matter?
Long story short, I loved this character when she first debuted because of the funny uncontrollable sexual tension she had with Peter Parker, but also the mysterious nature of her origin. Since then, she’s been on adventures with Amadeus Cho, had to deal with the Spider-Verse, and has dealt with a lot of personal baggage. Robbie Thompson has deftly managed her life with solid character work and dialogue while the art has been incredibly unique and strong at enhancing those same characters. Come, witness its finale!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Jameson plays a big part in this volume…
This volume collects issue #14 through #19 and breaks down into a quick adventure tying into “Clone Conspiracy” and then a wrap up to Silk’s story in general. The first arc doesn’t require you read “Clone Conspiracy” and actually tells its own tale quite well. Thompson does a good job with this short two part story by sending Silk to San Francisco to aid J. Jonah Jameson. The travel itself ends up being a character wrinkle as far as Silk pushing her family away even though she just found them. That adds to the value of the travel and makes it feel pertinent to the story itself. The adventure ends up involving clones but turns out to involve Silk’s boyfriend which, again, makes it personal to the character. Thompson deftly juggles Silk’s adventure with her personal feelings and you’ll never lose sight of the character in the thick of things.
…and goes through a lot!
The last two issues actually feel like self-contained conclusions each their own, one capturing Silk’s inner thoughts on being a superhero and saying goodbye to her job, and the other wrapping up the drama between Silk’s dad and a mysterious villain. A strong message of freedom is brought up in these stories too, which goes along with the character’s history of being imprisoned in a bunker, but also for what is to come for the character in the future. There’s also a strong message about seeing a therapist as being a healthy and normal act as Silk works on herself. It’s nice to see therapy shown in a positive light like this as it helps so many. By the end you’ll feel satisfied with Silk’s journey and that she’s stronger for it.
This issue is split between two artists, the first two issues drawn by Irene Strychalski and Tana Ford for the last two. The style will strike you as it’s simpler, almost manga like, but perfect for the melodrama. Action tends to consist of a panel of a fist hitting a face with little in between to show how that fist transitions to a retaliating kick, but that’s due to a simpler layout style. At times I was reminded of manga due to its simplicity, but it works for the most part since getting to the core of the character is the real goal of this book. There are also some fun double page layouts that help stretch scenes. Ian Herring (with Irma Kniivila) color the book and give it a more subdued and natural feel.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The last two issues do have a strange vibe to them, as if the series wasn’t cancelled and then it was at the last minute. Given the page count the last issue in this volume does well to wrap things up but it can’t remove the brevity of the storytelling. Simply put it feels rushed.
Aside from this, the simpler visual style did catch me here and there as stiff or lacking dynamic. It didn’t happen a lot, but it struck me from time to time.
Is It Good?
I never gave Silk a proper chance and found a great deal of enjoyment in her final stories within her own book. It’s a title that has a lot of charm and even more heart. Those who love character will easily fall in love with the character.