Silk 4, by Robbie Thompson and Annapola Martello One of the best parts..."/> Silk 4, by Robbie Thompson and Annapola Martello One of the best parts..."/>

Marvel Pick Of The Week – May 13, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

Silk 4, by Robbie Thompson and Annapola Martello

One of the best parts about the Spider-Man books has been his friendship with the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch, Johnny Storm. They’ve been playing pranks on each other since their early days, and they met in Amazing Spider-Man #1. When the Torch has died (in Onslaught back in the 90’s and in Hickman’s Fantastic Four run a couple years ago), Spider-Man has devoted an issue or two to grief and fond memories. I liked seeing Silk establish more of her own rogues gallery last issue enough to make it my Pick Of The Week, but it’s also good to see her set up her own relationship with Peter’s best pal. Cindy heads to the Fantastic Four on Peter Parker’s urging to see if there is a medical reason for some recent odd behavior, and while there, she catches Johnny’s eye. Their resultant date is chock-full of charm, from the awkward discomfort they feel trying to be normal at a restaurant to the casual fun they have foiling a bank robbery to the way he bursts into flames because of how much he likes her kisses. Every issue of Silk has delivered classic, straightforward superhero comics with strong ties to the Spider-Man canon but a clear sense of individual identity, and this one shows that the book works even when another artist fills in for the inimitable cartooning of Stacey Lee.

But the reason I picked this book for the Pick Of The Week has to do with my day job as a psychiatrist. See, Reed Richards examines Cindy but can’t find a medical rationale for the problem, and he suggests that she may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. He’s gentle in his suggestion. He reminds her that anxiety is normal and an understandable response to having been trapped in a bunker for ten years. He tells her that anxiety disorders are often inherited, removing any blame on her. He confesses his own struggles with anxiety. And he refers her to a psychiatrist for more specialized care. It is, in one page, most of what I try to accomplish by the end of an evaluation appointment. And Cindy’s response is so familiar – she’s hurt and angry that Peter talked to anyone about her problems, she tries to distract herself with her day job, she goes through bargaining (“If I was anxious, I couldn’t dance. Right?”), and she gets some reassurance and support from her friends. By the end of the issue, she has started to take Reed’s diagnosis more seriously, but she’s still not sure it fits. It’s something I hope young readers can see and understand. Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric conditions, they respond well to medication and psychotherapy, and they’re not a sign that you’re weak, broken, or strange. Robbie Thompson does for anxiety what Mark Waid did for depression last fall, and I am so proud of Marvel for making an effort to reduce stigma around these prevalent, disabling, and treatable conditions.

Honorable Mentions:

Captain America And The Mighty Avengers 8, because yeah, if we lived in the Marvel Universe, we’d be a little jaded when warned of the next apocalypse. Heck, I roll my eyes at the news on the gym TV’s so hard I’ve almost fallen off the elliptical.

Captain Marvel 15, for a terrific issue about reading her friend’s will, narrated by the ghost of the funny, caring, thoughtful woman and her charming girlfriend (I love getting to note representation of diversity in mainstream comics). Marvel is saying goodbye to most of its titles as we move into Secret Wars, and this is a great example of how to let things go with humor and heart.

Thor 8, for this scene, as Thor wins a battle against the Destroyer, and her supportive warrior women give her a little advice and inspiration. (Be sure to catch Bam smack Pow’s issue review here!)

Spider-Man 2099 12, because Spider-Man is most definitely NOT having a nice day, but it’s sweet of Lyla to ask.

Howard The Duck 3, because a foul-mouthed Aunt May pulling a gun on a talking duck is maybe half of everything I want in a humor comic.

Catch up on Picks of previous weeks here!

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