A lot of news has been buzzing about Marvel announcing that, for reasons yet to be unveiled, soon Thor will be a woman. And a lot of the criticism has essentially been, if you want diversity, why not create a new character instead of changing an existing one?
After all, if you created a new female Spider-Man, you’d get the same kind of press, right?
How many of them know that, in Amazing Spider-Man #4, Marvel just did that?
Meet Silk, aka Cindy Moon, who was also in the room when Peter got bit by a radioactive spider, and also got bit herself. And, cleverly using some plotlines from circa 2001, she was promptly collected and hidden away until now. One could analyze all of this, but it’s basically what’s required to do the story, and I try and cut a little slack and just go with it.
Has this been on the evening news or the USA today? No. It does a good job at validating those that claim that there’s something to changing Thor and having Falcon become the new Captain America that a new character wouldn’t accomplish.
As to the actual Silk character – we don’t get a lot of personality yet, beyond someone traumatized, for good reason. She seems roughly to have the same power set as Peter, with her character points spent slightly differently (not as strong, faster and with better spider-sense. Kind of the typical ‘girl’ stats, annoyingly enough.) We’ll have to wait a bit to really get to know her. But Dan Slott’s a good writer in general, so it’ll probably work out.
And taken on it’s own – not comparing it to the Thor and Cap press releases, which aren’t even published stories yet – it does increase diversity in the Spider-verse. There aren’t a ton of Asian-American superhero women out there (mostly in the X-books). Here’s hoping she hits a chord with fans and sticks around more than other attemps, such as Araña (aka Spider-Girl) from a few years back. (I loved Spider-Girl, but her book got cancelled and she’s struggled to get into supporting casts since.)