Time for Spider-Gwen and Silk to Shine
Around this time last year, comic fans were anxiously awaiting the triumphant return of Peter Parker as Spider-Man. He’s been on a hiatus of sorts, as Doctor Octopus had taken control of his body for a few years thanks to a heinous mind swap. With Peter back in control, we wondered how he’d cope with all of the changes that Doc Ock made to his life.
Roughly one year and one potentially-cataclysmic Spider-Verse run later, Peter Parker is once again pushed out of the spotlight. This time, it’s by Spider-Gwen and Silk; two new characters introduced during Peter’s return.
Introduced in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, Spider-Gwen comes from an alternate universe where Gwen Stacy was the one bitten by a radioactive spider. She’s the drummer in a band with Mary Jane Watson. As for Peter…well, let’s just say things for him are very different.
Having read this issue, as well as the first two issues of her solo series, I’m a bit surprised by the positive response Spider-Gwen has gotten so far. Her personality and character arc so far don’t feel all that different from what we’ve seen before, since it’s mostly just an alternate universe re-telling of Peter’s story. Even so, a first printing of Edge of Spider-Verse #2 already goes for over $100. That’s crazy for an issue that came out less than 6 months ago!
I think she has two key factors that put her over the top in spite of my lukewarm response to her first appearances. One, she’s Gwen Stacy, a character that comic fans hold near and dear, while the mainstream crowd has gotten to know her through the recent Spider-Man movies. Two, she has an amazing costume. The simple inclusion of a hoodie really puts it over the top. Assuming they can keep the quality up in her solo series, she’ll be a fan favourite to draw and cosplay as for years to come.
Gwen will probably garner the most attention, but don’t overlook Silk. Debuting in Amazing Spider-Man #4, Cindy Moon was bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Peter on that fateful day. Unlike Mr. Parker, she’s spent the last 10 years confined to a bunker as a means of staving off the spider apocalypse. When Peter set her free, he inadvertently triggered the chaos that would ultimately become the Spider-Verse event.
Now that the world is safe once again, Cindy goes on a mission to find the family she left behind so long ago while trying her best to re-acclimate to society. She may not have the same groundswell as Gwen, though I actually like Silk and her series more. She’s got a bit more charm and an angle that is more unique than Gwen’s, at least so far.
Regardless of preference, both Spider-Gwen and Silk are welcome additions to the Spider-Man universe. If there can be more than one Spider-Man, why can’t there be more Spider-Women? Hopefully, Marvel can support both characters with quality stories to keep them relevant for the long haul. In the meantime, I’d recommend giving both a shot!