We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Daredevil 11 and Silk 12 — and come back on Friday for our discussion of Doctor Strange 11 and on Tuesday for our discussion of Moon Knight 6! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Drew: What is art? It’s not a question that comes up too often in superhero comics. Sure, ignorant critics may dismiss the genre as “low” art, but there’s little doubt that the basic elements of writing, drawing, and coloring are all acts of artistic creation. There is plenty of art that does challenge our understanding of “art” as a concept, though, often because it was created using unconventional methods, uses unconventional materials, or features unconventional content. Such was the case in 1999 when then-Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani threatened to pull city funding from the Brooklyn Museum over an art show he objected to — specifically, Chris Ofili’s “Holy Virgin Mary,” which Giuliani claimed was offensive to Catholics. That attempt sparked a first amendment case that was eventually settled, though not before a federal district judge ruled that Giuliani’s attempt did indeed violate the first amendment. Giuliani was entitled to his opinions over the art, but he wasn’t allowed to use his authority to silence that art. With Daredevil 11, Charles Soule and Ron Garney create a similar civic conflict, although they manage to goose it with a moral question much more interesting than Rudy Giuliani’s capacity for offense.
In this case, it’s that blood painting from the previous issue. Nobody is objecting to the content of the painting, but instead, its materials: the blood of over a hundred missing people. One of those missing people happens to be the niece of the speaker of the city council, who feels displaying the painting as disrespectful to the families of the victims. It definitely is, but, of course, there’s no “disrespect” clause in the first amendment, so the painting’s owner is welcome to display it in poor taste if he so choses. That is, until the councilwoman pressures the DA’s office to intervene. This gives Matt — defender of rights that he is — pause, though he’s not really in any position to refuse orders from his boss.
It’s an intriguing moral question (even if the legality is relatively cut-and-dried), but I suspect even more questions will come as the artist comes to the fore. It seems he is indeed hurting innocent people, which decidedly wouldn’t be within his rights, but I’m curious if there’s more to his story than it seems. Or perhaps that physical violence is a reflection of the spiritual violence Giuliani claimed of Ofili’s painting all those years ago. In any case, Soule is getting into much subtler shades in this censorship study than artists typically do — his training as a lawyer is paying dividends here, allowing him to approach an issue that must interest him both as a student of the law and as an artist. It’s a much more nuanced argument than “censorship is bad,” revealing just what this creative team can do when they cut loose.
Spencer: Silk 12‘s recap page starts out by proudly proclaiming “Things are looking up for Silk!” before ironically listing all the ways in which Cindy Moon’s life actually sucks at the moment. That dichotomy goes on to define the rest of the issue, except, interestingly enough, usually with the opposite result; as bad as things often look throughout Silk 12, they usually end up turning around and working in Cindy’s favor.
That starts with some of the “unfortunate” facts listed in the recap, such as Lola and Rafferty figuring out Silk’s secret identity; that quickly turns out to be an asset, as the pair not only provide Cindy much-needed assistance on her trip through the Negative Zone, but make quite pleasant company as well. Then there’s the team’s encounter with a dragon; what at first looks catastrophic turns to their advantage when the dragon (named David Wilcox, of all things) not only turns out to be on their side, but leads them straight to Cindy’s mother!
In any other title — or even any other issue of Silk — I’d say that this pattern was simply the calm before the storm, but this time the creative team of Robbie Thompson, Tana Ford, and Ian Herring seem to be actively embracing optimism, advocating for genuinely looking at the bright side of whatever situation you’re in.
It’s terrible, of course, that Cindy’s gone without her parents, but the whole reason they disappeared at all is because they love her enough to run off to the dang Negative Zone to try to find a way to help her. It is, admittedly, a mixed blessing at best, but still points to this issue’s overall theme — sometimes even the greatest trials have silver linings, and sometimes, even the things in our life that seem scariest work out for the best if we just keep an open mind.
The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?