Written by: Neil Davies, Special to CC2K
Following the events of Edge of Spider-Verse, Marvel brought two new female heroes to the forefront, Silk and Spider-Gwen.
The finale of Edge of Spider-Verse left the Marvel universe with two new female heroes starring in their own monthly comic books. The popular hit Spider-Gwen and the brand new heroine Silk. Both of these characters were distinct and attention-grabbing enough to merit their own ongoing comics. To be perfectly honest, in preparing for this article I was planning to do a compare and contrast of these two female characters to determine which one was better or worse, and deserved your money each month. But the bottom line is that both of these characters and comics are well-written, interesting and worth reading.
Spider-Gwen (actually called “Spider-Woman” in her universe), has gained a great deal of popularity since her first appearance in Spider-Verse. She exists in her very own universe wherein she was bitten by the infamous radioactive spider and Peter Parker is alternatively the one who dies tragically.
What makes this comic notable is how self-contained it is, especially for such a strong female character. Unfortunately, in the world of comics it’s hard to find female characters that aren’t an extension of a male counterpart (looking at you Batgirl, She-Hulk, Supergirl and countless others). Spider-Gwen, while born out of a pre-existing comic book franchise, doesn’t HAVE to be a part of said franchise. If this series was a person’s first venture into the world of superheroes and comics, they would have no need for prior Spider-Man knowledge.
That being said, this series takes pre-existing characters from the traditional Marvel universe and reimagines them in ways that are fun Easter eggs for those familiar with Marvel (ex. Frank Castle is an NYPD lead detective).
Silk on the other hand, immediately grabs my attention by being a part of the ‘Spider’ universe, but refrains from branding herself as a member of the ‘Spider’ clan. While Silk is not as standalone as Spider-Gwen, having gotten her powers from the exact same spider that bit Peter Parker and existing in the same world/city as him, it manages to capture more of the young and geeky Spider-Man wit that comic readers have grown to love.
This alternative branding is not only very self-aware (“spider, er – I mean Silk sense”), it’s also showing that an extension character can have her own identity, mysteries and stories, similar to the first time DC Comics readers were introduced to Nightwing. So while Silk relies heavily on the ‘Spider-Verse’ events as well as the already created world of Spider-Man, it has created a character that is unique in her backstory, her motivations, and even in some of her powers.
Ultimately, readers can’t really go wrong with either of these comics. These strong female characters are both complex and profound, and bring a lot of heart and worth to the Marvel universe. However, if you’re trying to make a budgetary decision between one or the other, the only counsel that I can give is that Spider-Gwen is much more accessible to newcomers, while Silk is geared towards individuals more familiar with Marvel comics. Readers should expect to see Spider-Gwen interact with re-imaginations of some of Spider-Man’s greatest villains, and anticipate that Silk will have interesting and humorous run-ins with some of Marvel’s best and brightest. Both of these series are off to a great start, and I am ecstatic to see well-written and individualistic female representation in the world of comics.