Welcome to another edition of the Marvel Rundown! It’s a week of exciting debuts, with Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer’s Beta Ray Bill #1 and our main book this week, Maurene Goo, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Ian Herring’s Silk #1, spinning out of the mainline Amazing Spider-Man series following Silk’s appearance in that book’s latest event arc. This series was announced… a while ago… so I was excited to finally get a chance to read it.
We’ve got a review of that book and other books in the Rapid Rundown, all ahead on this week’s Marvel Rundown!
Written by Maurene Goo
Art by Takeshi Miyazawa
Colouring by Ian Herring
Lettering by Ariana Maher
Cover by Stonehouse
Silk is a character I had no familiarity with until reading this issue; her appearance in the “Last Remains” arc of The Amazing Spider-Man was my introduction to the character, and she just came across as a generic spin-off character that really didn’t accomplish much for me. Obviously, after reading this, the blame for that lies at the feet of Nick Spencer who included that character for no tangible story reason other to have every ancillary Spider-character play a part in that quite overlong story. The point is, Silk rocks, and I’m so glad to have finally met her.
I quite like how the “Spider-Man Experience,” as you could put it, with a young character balancing their job and their superhero career while trying hard not to mix the two, has been spread out among the Spider-Man side characters to great effect. Miles Morales: Spider-Man deals with the high school side of the equation while Silk takes place in a workplace environment not unlike Peter Parker’s early life as a photographer. It demonstrates how universal of a character Spider-Man is that his life experience can be applied to all these different characters and still feel fresh.
Silk, real name Cindy Moon, has all the makings of a darker, more brooding character like Orphan at DC Comics but is surprisingly quippy and fun, definitely coming across as a typical millennial figure with her references and attitudes towards work and criminals. Some might cringe at that comparison but the truth of the matter is, she’s young and she’s at a pretty relatable stage of her life; she’s just moved out of her parent’s place and is starting a new job.
According to the letter in the back, this is Maurene Goo’s first comics work and it’s honestly pretty impressive. There are a few moments here and there that are awkwardly scripted but on the whole it’s a cohesive, interesting, and well-paced debut issue that certainly shows some genuine comics writing talent, given that she’s a novelist. I don’t think she quite captures the voice of J. Jonah Jameson, who frankly reads as a generic “cool boss” who Cindy gets along with. Other than a few references to how he likes to do things old school and misnaming social media apps, the character is pretty unrecognisable.
Takeshi Miyazawa‘s artwork is a perfect fit for the character, offering up a light and expressive take on the character with a fun and vibrant world thanks to colourist Ian Herring. Miyazawa’s work here is not a far cry from his brief pages for The Amazing Spider-Man, or his work on another female webslinger, Ghost-Spider, which brings about a thread of visual continuity that I appreciated. It’s definitely anime-inspired which lends itself to the expressiveness of the art that I found so appealing. All in all this — visually and narratively — is a pretty fun and pretty start to what is going to be a fun miniseries.
Final Verdict: Strong Browse. It’ll have its detractors but Silk #1 is a great introduction to this character if you weren’t familiar with her previously like I was. The art is fantastic and the writing, considering this is a first-time comics writer, was fresh despite some characterisation issues I found.
- Avengers: Curse of the Man-Thing #1
- This is, shockingly, Steve Orlando’s Marvel debut and the best thing I can say about this issue is that I’m extremely excited to see what he does next. This issue operates as the first of a three part miniseries celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Man-Thing, but it smartly also functions as a way for Orlando write a whole bunch of Avengers quipping with each other, showcasing how well he captures these characters’ voices. Throw on some career-best work from Francesco Mobili and colourist Guru-eFX, and you’ve got a highlight of the week right here. —HW
- Beta Ray Bill #1
- Beta Ray Bill has long been an ally and friend to Thor, even after he destroyed Bill’s hammer Stormbreaker in a heated argument. But as the new “Master of War” for Asgard, Bill finds himself in the shadow of Thor the new All-Father and without the enchantment that allows him to transform into his Korbinite form, alone. Unsure of himself and his purpose, this is the starting point of Daniel Warren Johnson’s dive into the cosmic world of BRB as he begins a quest to find Odin and a new hammer. If you haven’t seen any of Johnson’s other work before then you’re in for a frenetic, gritty vision of everyone’s favorite horse face hammer thrower. A nice cap to this issue is Johnson interviewing comic book legend and Beta Ray Bill creator Walt Simonson, a cool bonus. —GC3
- King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #4
- Continuing the streak of excellent event tie-in miniseries, King in Black: Return of the Valkyries concludes with a high-energy issue that still has a lot of great character moments. Artists Nina Vakeuva and Tamra Bonvillain have consistently delivered breathtaking visuals on this series, particularly when visualizing some of the more conceptual elements of the story, and this issue is no exception. Writers Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk have a clear vision for Jane Foster and the rest of the Valkyries, and they’re a joy to read under the pair’s direction. I’m glad to have a Valkyries title back in my life, and I can’t wait for what Aaron & Grønbekk do next on The Mighty Valkyries.
Next week, King in Black concludes, and the new Phoenix host is revealed!