While Silk Volume 0 followed the Marvel Now! event Spider-Verse, which involved different incarnations of Spider-people across the Marvel multiverse battling Morlun, the enemy of all Spider heroes, Silk aka Cindy Moon, had been introduced prior to Spider-Verse via Vol. 1 of Amazing Spider-Man (2014). Freed from a bunker by Peter Parker after hiding away from Morlun for a decade, Cindy Moon was initially a horny, amateur Spider-Hero with a lot of room to grow.
Although she had a good first encounter with Black Cat in Amazing Spider-Man, Silk’s inexperience would cause her to make big mistakes during the Spider-Verse event. Her civilian life wasn’t much better. When she wasn’t in lust with Peter Parker due to some weird Spider power related stuff, she was interning for the news station Fact News in order to use their resources to find her missing family. While Cindy was locked away, her parents and her brother Albert had disappeared. As a result, she initially has no one to turn to other than Peter Parker.
Post Spider-Verse event, Cindy finds herself with an over-active Spider-Sense and a renewed determination to make it as a hero and make a new life. It is at this point where Silk Volume 0 begins.
Previously: Marvel Then, 10 years later!
Silk Volume 0 begins with Silk fighting her first arch enemy since Black Cat, a man in a winged-suit calling himself Dragonclaw. In the midst of this, Silk’s Spider-Sense is triggered for no apparent reason and she is momentarily distracted enough for Dragonclaw to cut her webbing and cause her to plummet to the ground. Luckily, Peter Parker is in the neighborhood and saves Cindy in the nick of time. It is then Cindy realizes she is late for work and rushes off as her tardiness triggers a memory from her past.
In a couple of pages, we see a teenaged Cindy argue with her parents over being late for a field trip that she doesn’t want to go on. Words are exchanged, Cindy’s parents learn that she has secretly been dating a boy named Hector, and things go downhill from there. With a goodbye to her parents in the form of “I hate you,” Cindy leaves to take her brother Albert to school.
This flashback is juxtaposed with Cindy Moon arriving late to work, but managing to avoid the ire of her boss Jonah Jameson by pitching a story about Silk. She also sets up her co-worker Lola with another female co-worker Rafferty when Lola suggests they all hang out. These seem like positive social interactions on the surface, especially since Lola is also Cindy’s apartment roommate. However, they are also signs of how Cindy is keeping her distance from others due to trauma she has yet to acknowledge. Before the end of the issue, Cindy moves out of Lola’s apartment and thinks to herself, “Yeah, having a roommate after so long not so much. I guess I am used to being alone.”
Yet Cindy is vaguely aware something is wrong, and this is demonstrated by an internal monologue, which stands out in red text in white boxes thanks to writer Robbie Thompson and letterer Travis Lanham. Right before Cindy goes into work, she thinks, “Am I okay? Maybe I just need time to adjust to a normal life.” Later events would confirm that Cindy is definitely not okay.
By the end of the first issue, Cindy has isolated herself by moving back to the bunker where she was locked away. Right before she does this, she calls Peter Parker and asks how he deals with the “static” that comes with having a Spider-Sense. As she speaks, Cindy realizes that talking to Peter isn’t making her feel better and thinks about how much quieter things were in the bunker. Unbeknownst to Cindy, she is being secretly watched by mysterious individuals.
For Cindy, the bunker represents her “safe place” because it is where she hid away from a major threat to her life. Yet now, everyday people feel like a major threat because of her over-active Spider-Sense. It is also revealed in issue 2 that any remnant of the neighborhood that her family grew up in is now gone and clues to finding her family are sparse.
When considering this, it is understandable that Cindy would return to the bunker even if it isn’t a healthy solution.
Speaking of everyday people in Cindy’s life, Cindy gets an unexpected surprise in issue 2 when her first love Hector returns and tells her he is getting engaged. Prior to meeting Hector again, visiting a closed down pizza parlor in her old neighborhood triggered a flashback to when Cindy broke up with Hector before locking herself away. This was especially painful since she had to lie to Hector as a cover story. Meeting Hector again only to learn that he is engaged makes Cindy feel worse and Cindy immediately thinks, “I need to punch something.” The following day, she finds herself meeting Dragonclaw again and ends up having the perfect excuse to vent her anger.
During the battle with Dragonclaw in issue 3, Cindy’s anger spikes when a car is thrown at her. This triggers a flashback to Ezekiel, a shady businessman with Spidey-abilities. After teaching Cindy to control her powers, he tells Cindy she is going to be locked away and she lashes out. Using the anger and adrenaline from this memory helps Cindy fight back.
At this point, the panels transition back and forth from Cindy fighting Ezekiel to Cindy fighting Dragonclaw. The skill of colorist Ian Herring allows the contrast in the panels to shine as the flashbacks feature more washed out colors, while the present day panels feature Cindy’s anger as panels with red backgrounds.
Cindy’s rage abates when Dragonclaw begs her to stop. The two talk things out as Dragonclaw introduces himself as Harris Porter, a down-on-his-luck dad who ended up working for Black Cat. After sending Harris Porter on his way, Cindy gets into a brief scuffle with Black Cat, who wanted to “warn” her to stop getting in the way of her business. By the time Cindy heads back to her bunker for a shower, she is beyond tired and isn’t in the mood to deal with anyone, least of all an unexpected visit from Peter Parker. He isn’t alone; he brought the Fantastic Four along to help figure out what is going on with Cindy’s powers.
One Step Closer
Within the first six pages of issue 4, Dr. Reed Richards has diagnosed Cindy with anxiety and gives her the phone number of a psychiatrist named Dr. Sinclair. However, Cindy doesn’t believe she needs help due to how she is used to being alone and keeping people at arm’s length. She spends the rest of the issue trying to prove to herself she’s “fine” by going about her day: going to work, going dancing with Lola, and going on a date with Johnny Storm of The Fantastic Four.
In fact, Cindy’s denial of her anxiety is part of the problem. It and her tendency to isolate are signs of high functioning anxiety, which involves anxiety that can be hard to diagnose due to the fact that the person excels at work and/or relationships. Surprisingly, it is a work relationship with her boss Jonah Jameson that causes Cindy to start to crack open her walls a little. When Jonah Jameson catches Cindy looking at police records of her family, she manages to trust him enough to tell her what’s going on. In return, he offers his resources from his time as mayor to help find her family. However, just as Cindy manages to take a step forward, a kidnapping incident in issue 5 causes her to take two steps back.
While rescuing Dragonclaw’s daughter from Black Cat, Silk finds herself abducted by The Repairman and learns he works for the people have been watching her in the bunker and who also have her family. Before she can learn more, Black Cat “rescues” her by killing him. This causes Cindy’s anxiety to spike, and she attacks Black Cat in a blind rage.
Not only has Cindy found out that her safe space is no longer safe, but the only clue to finding her family is gone. No one can blame her for taking her anger out on Black Cat, but now Cindy has hit rock bottom. Once Cindy is back in her bunker, she lashes out at random items until she cracks the wall and destroys a hidden camera. This crack also represents her walls finally tumbling down for good as Cindy decides to make an appointment with Dr. Sinclair just before the Marvel Universe ends in the event Secret Wars.
In the final issue of the series, Cindy begins to open up to people in earnest. Jonah Jameson tells Cindy that her brother Albert is in a halfway house somewhere across town in New York. While on the way there, she rescues panicked civilians, gets unexpected help from Dragonclaw, and, after being nearly crushed by a bus, has one final flashback. This flashback shows Cindy saying goodbye to her family sans Albert before she is locked away.The regret from not saying goodbye to Albert lingers with Cindy in the present, fueling Cindy’s determination to find her brother even when the world is ending. This leads to a touching final page where Cindy embraces Albert as the world disappears.
The 616 Marvel universe ending in Secret Wars results in a new Marvel Universe being created. It is in this new universe that Silk really starts to come into her own, as she attends therapy to work through her anger and anxiety, continues to be a superhero, works as a news intern, and reunites with the rest of her family. All of this bears fruit in Silk’s second series as Cindy eventually finds her parents, accepts new friendships, and finally gets to a place of happiness.
Although Silk would also play a role in other Spidey books as well as that of The New Agents of Atlas, it is her solo series that continues to be the best highlight of her character. As of this essay, Silk is currently starring in her fourth solo series written by Emily Kim and drawn by Takeshi Miyazawa. Ian Herring once again returns as colorist while VC’s Ariana Maher letters Silk’s newest chapter.
In the end, Silk’s many storytellers have managed to weave a tale unique to her character, one full of hijinks and Spidey-quips but also one that follows the process of trauma and recovery. Silk’s highs and lows as a Korean female superhero with anxiety is relatable and her story is all the better for it.