Though our family members can sometimes drive us crazy, if they were suddenly no longer in our lives, there’s not much we wouldn’t do to reunite with them. When you live in the Marvel Universe, that could mean staging a rescue mission in the anti-matter reality known as the Negative Zone, or backing a mad scientist who appears to have gained mastery over death.
The former happened to spider-powered super hero Cindy Moon in the most recent arc of her self-titled series, "Silk," which saw her search for missing parents (who disappeared back when she was a teenager) come to an end. The latter is currently happening to Cindy’s boss and sort-of father figure, J. Jonah Jameson, who, in the current “Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy” miniseries, was reunited with his dead wife and adopted daughter thanks to New U Technologies and the revolutionary human cloning process developed by the company's founder, the Jackal.
In “Silk” #14, writer Robbie Thompson and artist Irene Strychalski dovetail the series into the “Clone Conspiracy” event. Jonah’s suspiciously happy reunion will draw the attention of Cindy Moon, bringing her face to face with her boss’ revived daughter, former Spider-Woman Mattie Franklin. CBR spoke with Thompson about the arc, the temporary new identity Cindy forges for it, and how her newly reunited family will impact and complicate her life.
CBR: Cindy finally has her family back! What made you want to reunite her with her mom and dad, and hw big a role will they play in the book going forward?
Robbie Thompson: This is something we’ve been building to since the very first issue of volume 0, and it felt like after some pretty rough times, Cindy was due for a win. It’s also going to lead emotionally into what we’re doing with the “Clone Conspiracy,” so the timing felt perfect. I love writing Albert and Nari from their current perspective because in going to such great lengths to help their daughter, they actually now can relate to her more on an emotional level. They’ve lost a lot, too, and have some guilt about how things all went down. It’s also providing a great way to shine new light on Cindy and allowed us to find new moments to flesh her character out in ways we haven’t seen yet. The Moon family will be playing a very big part of the book moving forward -- especially post “Clone Conspiracy.”
I have to give credit to Editor Nick Lowe, Editor Devin Lewis and artist Tana Ford for making Albert and Nari, and all of Silk’s supporting cast bigger characters in the series. They all really pushed for there to be more scenes with all of her crew, starting with Jonah, Lola and Rafferty, but then building into Dr. Sinclair and Albert, Jr., Nick and Devin will ask for scenes with Cindy and her therapist. Tana in particular has really helped drill down into Albert Jr. as a character. As Nick will often say, who she is when she’s not wearing the mask is just as important as when she’s wearing it.
Cindy may have her family back, but the end of Issue #13 suggests that not everything may be happy or ideal. What can you tell us about final page, where her dad appeared to meet a mysterious figure named Fang who seems to have a vendetta against Silk?
Well, Cindy was bitten by the same spider as Peter, so maybe it’s a bit of the ‘ol Parker Luck striking again! Something great happens, but... another shoe drops! Like her parents, Fang is someone we’ve hinted at since the beginning of the series, someone we’ll learn more about in subsequent issues, particularly after we’re done tying in with the “Clone Conspiracy.”
Cindy is obviously happy to have her family back, but so much of her life after coming out of the Bunker that she voluntarily imprisoned herself in after getting her spider powers as a teenager has been about finding them, even her job at the Fact Channel. The question, now, of course becomes, what does she do next? How's she handling that question when you pick up with her in issue #14?
I would say she’s not handling it in the best way, but definitely in a Cindy way, which is flawed but human! Cindy is going to be wrestling with exactly what you’re getting at with your question: what do you do when you finally get what you want? Especially when what she’s wanted has been an external want, rather than an internal want. I’m not saying finding and saving her parents wasn’t a noble endeavor, but ever since she’s been out of the bunker, Cindy’s focus has often been on external things. But she’s had some of her best successes and moments of clarity when she’s figured out what she needs internally, whether through therapy or with her friends. We’ll see in the “Clone Conspiracy” tie-in that she’s still struggling with that.
Issue #14 kicks off that tie-in arc, and at it's center is J Jonah Jameson and his family, who was brought back by New U. Jonah just lost his dad, and now both his wife and adopted daughter are back. How does he handle that? And what's Cindy's initial take on this?
Jonah has gone through an incredibly rough patch, and now New U has given him -- and his loved ones -- a second chance. Cindy’s initial take on the situation is supportive. Like you said, she knows what it’s like to lose your family and then get them back. But that pretty quickly shifts into skepticism, her Silk Sense telling her something isn’t quite right with New U, a suspicion that will quickly tumble her down a pretty scary rabbit hole.
Jonah's newly resurrected daughter Mattie Franklin was known as Spider-Woman for a while. Will she resume her old identity? And what kind of role will she play in the story?
I love writing Mattie, particularly getting to show her inner conflict with being back, and struggling with being a clone. What a bizarre place to find yourself! Like Cindy, she’s got some skepticism about all this, and yet she’s grateful for the second chance. She’ll play a big role in our tie-in, and she and Cindy will definitely be at odds pretty quickly. No spoilers, but: Spider-Fight!
It looks like at some point in the story, Cindy creates a temporary new superhero identity for herself. What can you tell us about this identity and her reasons for creating it?
In classic over-thinking fashion, Cindy worries about her secret identity -- Silk is East Coast, she can’t make an appearance on the West Coast! So she fashions a new costume that was brilliantly designed by the book’s cover artist, Helen Chen. Helen really went above and beyond with her design for West Coast Silk -- or as we’ve been calling her, “Silkworm” (that nickname will make more sense in context). We don’t say it overtly, but given what’s going on in her life, it was also a chance for Cindy to not be Cindy or Silk. The costume change isn’t permanent, but it was fun to take advantage of her weaving powers in a way we hadn’t done before.
Will Cindy be drawn into the larger action of the “Clone Conspiracy” with Peter Parker and the Jackal? And what sort of hints can you offer up about what's in store for Cindy later on in 2017?
When Nick and Devin mentioned tying into the “Clone Conspiracy” story I was really excited. We jumped on the phone and talked about what it could be and they filled me in on what Dan Slott had mapped out for the entire “Clone Conspiracy” and “Amazing Spider-Man” tie-ins. Dan is meticulous in planning these events out, and I was really struck with how the high-concept premise was leading to some really personal stories. We all really wanted to find a personal story for Silk here, too. This is a big story for her character, but it plays out on a smaller scale in regards to the bigger “Clone Conspiracy” picture. That allowed us some freedom to focus on Cindy, and where her head is at post getting her parents back and deliver an ending that will really shake up her status quo in the subsequent arc.
So, while I can’t get into spoilers, there’s going to be major changes coming for Cindy post “Clone Conspiracy” -- change is hard and it’s painful, but the long term effect is positive and will position Cindy in a new way in the Marvel Universe.
For this new arc, you're teaming with artist Irene Strychalski. What do you enjoy most about Irene's art?
First off, a major thanks to Tana for all her incredible work over the last several issues. She’s really come in and made this character her own. She’s already hard at work on the issues post-"Clone Conspiracy,” which look great.
Continuing our streak of amazing artists, Devin brought in Irene, whose work on the book has been outstanding. Like every artist that’s worked on Silk, Irene has come in and really made the book her own. She has such a perfect style for this book, and the expressions and emotions she brings to every panel are awesome. She’s really created a look and tone that’s perfect for this story we’re all telling together.
And we’ve got series MVP Ian Herring on colors, as he has been for every issue, and his work on this “Clone Conspiracy” tie-in has been spectacular.
When we started, I hoped we’d make enough for one trade, and now the issue Tana is drawing is the 25th issue of the book (volumes 0 and 1)! So, thanks to everyone who has read the book, talked about it online and supported it over the years. Hopefully, we’re just beginning to tell the story of Cindy Moon.