Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)

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Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)
Spider-Woman v1 1.png
Spider-Woman #1 (April 1978). Cover art by Joe Sinnott.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Spotlight #32 (Feb. 1977)
Created byArchie Goodwin
Marie Severin
In-story information
Alter egoJessica Miriam Drew
Team affiliationsAvengers
Lady Liberators
New Avengers
Notable aliasesArachne, Ariadne Hyde, Hunter
  • Superhuman strength, speed and agility
  • Flight
  • Fear-inducing pheromone generation
  • Adheres to walls through bio-electric attraction
  • Shoots beams of bio-electric energy from her hands
  • Resistance to all poisons and radiations
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Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)
Spider-Woman v1 1.png
Spider-Woman #1 (April 1978). Cover art by Joe Sinnott.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Spotlight #32 (Feb. 1977)
Created byArchie Goodwin
Marie Severin
In-story information
Alter egoJessica Miriam Drew
Team affiliationsAvengers
Lady Liberators
New Avengers
Notable aliasesArachne, Ariadne Hyde, Hunter
  • Superhuman strength, speed and agility
  • Flight
  • Fear-inducing pheromone generation
  • Adheres to walls through bio-electric attraction
  • Shoots beams of bio-electric energy from her hands
  • Resistance to all poisons and radiations

Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) is a fictional character, a superheroine in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #32 (cover-dated Feb. 1977), and 50 issues of an ongoing series titled Spider-Woman followed. At its conclusion she was killed, and though later resurrected in an Avengers story arc, she fell into disuse, supplanted by other characters using the name Spider-Woman.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis added Spider-Woman to the roster of the high profile New Avengers. In 2009, the character received her own self-titled limited series.

Concept and creation[edit]

Marvel Comics' then-publisher Stan Lee, said in 1978, shortly after Spider-Woman's debut in Marvel Spotlight #32 (cover-dated Feb. 1977) and the start of the character's 50-issue, self-titled series (April 1978 - June 1983), that the character originated because,

I suddenly realized that some other company may quickly put out a book like that and claim they have the right to use the name, and I thought we'd better do it real fast to copyright the name. So we just batted one quickly, and that's exactly what happened. I wanted to protect the name, because it's the type of thing [where] someone else might say, 'Hey, why don't we put out a Spider-Woman; they can't stop us.' ... You know, years ago we brought out Wonder Man, and [DC Comics] sued us because they had Wonder Woman, and... I said okay, I'll discontinue Wonder Man. And all of a sudden they've got Power Girl [after Marvel had introduced Power Man]. Oh, boy. How unfair.[1]

Spider-Woman's origin and basic character were designed by Archie Goodwin, while her visual appearance was designed by freelancer Marie Severin.[2]

Publication history[edit]

Though by most accounts Spider-Woman was originally intended as a one-off character for the sake of simply establishing trademark, Marvel Spotlight #32 sold unexpectedly well and writer/editor Marv Wolfman was asked to take the character to an ongoing series.[2]

In her first appearance, Spider-Woman was to be an actual spider evolved into a human as imagined by writer/co-creator Goodwin. Her debut was shortly followed by a four-issue story arc in Marvel Two-in-One in which Wolfman presented a different origin retcon as he felt her original origin was too implausible for mid-1970s readers.[2] During this arc and the premiere issue of her own comic Spider-Woman was identified as the human Jessica Drew (combining the first name of Wolfman's daughter and the last name of fictional detective Nancy Drew[2]) who had memories of being a spider implanted into her by the terrorist group HYDRA. Her costume was also redesigned for her series so that her long hair was uncovered, becoming a prominent part of the character's appearance.

Jessica Drew's feelings of isolation from other people were a major theme of the first year and a half of her series. Scene from Spider-Woman #2 (May 1978); story by Marv Wolfman, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Tony DeZuniga.

Wolfman introduced Spider-Woman's mentor Charles Magnus and archenemies Morgan le Fay and the Brothers Grimm. He left the series after issue #8, citing a heavy workload,[3] but later admitted, "If truth be told I never felt comfortable writing her. I never found a handle for her and kept trying until I finally decided to leave the book."[2] Neophyte Mark Gruenwald became the writer, while the series's regular penciler, comics legend Carmine Infantino, remained on board, having developed a fondness for the character and her stories.[2] Gruenwald continued with the macabre themes Wolfman had used, while putting more focus on Drew's struggles to deal with her social awkwardness, shyness, and the negative reactions she produced in nearly everyone she met. The last of these is revealed to be caused by fear-inducing pheromones, a previously unrevealed ability. Gruenwald also introduced outgoing aspiring actress Lindsay McCabe, who became Drew's best friend and the mainstay of her supporting cast.

Marvel had been heavily advertising the series from the start, and during Gruenwald's run an animated TV series began airing. But Roger Stern, who replaced Wolfman as editor, recounted that Spider-Woman had already lost her status as a top seller by this time. Despite her differing origin and powers and Wolfman's deliberate effort to avoid Spider-Man guest appearances or crossovers, readers still tended to see the character as a female Spider-Man. "They saw her, and later the She-Hulk," Stern explained, "as running a good idea into the ground, much as DC had done in the ’60s with its then-ever-growing families of Super- and Bat-characters."[2]

Issue #20 saw the departure of Gruenwald, Infantino, and Stern. New writer Michael Fleisher gave Spider-Woman a career as a bounty hunter, abandoned both the series' macabre tone and outstanding subplots such as Charles Magnus's mysterious disappearance, and replaced them with such superhero standbys as criminal masterminds and a love interest who is enamored with the protagonist's costumed guise but oblivious to her in her civilian identity. Many fans criticized that Fleisher had taken away everything that made the character special.[4] Fleisher would be retained on the series up through #32, after which Chris Claremont, already a big-name writer for his work on Uncanny X-Men, took over and switched Jessica Drew's occupation from bounty hunter to private investigator. Steve Leialoha was drawing the series by this time.

The series had already come under criticism for its rapid turnover of writers,[5] and like all its writers, Claremont had a fairly short stay on Spider-Woman. After 13 issues, both he and Leiahola were compelled to leave for other projects.[6] Their final issue marked the return of Gruenwald, this time as editor. He was promptly informed that due to dwindling sales, Marvel was canceling the series, and issue #50 would be the last.[7] Gruenwald hired comic book novices Ann Nocenti and Brian Postman as writer and penciler for the final four issues, under the theory that their inexperience in the medium would give them a unique perspective and perhaps take the series out with a bang.[2] Under Gruenwald's direction, the series returned to its macabre roots and resumed the long-abandoned subplot of Magnus's disappearance. The final issue used a photo cover of Marvel staffers (including Gruenwald and Nocenti) in costume as the issue's cast,[2] and had Spider-Woman perish in a climactic battle with her archnemesis Mogan le Fay. Nocenti reasoned, "These are licensed characters and you want them to have a forever life. At the same time, they live in a violent world and occasionally you feel like someone has to die, otherwise it’s too unreal."[2]

Readers were outraged at the character being killed, and Nocenti and Gruenwald both came to feel remorse over their decision.[2] Gruenwald took the readers' reaction especially to heart, and determined to fix what he saw as a major mistake. He and Stern had been paired up again on Avengers, but with their jobs swapped, and he instructed Stern to write a story reviving Drew.[2] Less than a year after her death, Spider-Woman was resurrected in The Avengers #240-241 (Feb.-March 1984).

For the next four years she was limited to a handful of guest appearances. In 1988, she and Lindsay McCabe joined the supporting cast of Wolverine, appearing through the first 16 issues of the character's series, followed by brief returns in issues #27 and 125-128. She was never depicted in costume during her appearances in Wolverine, sticking with her civilian identity, though she did often use her powers to aid Wolverine.

In 1996, Mark Gruenwald returned to the character with a short back-up feature in Sensational Spider-Man Annual '96. Titled "The Return of Spider-Woman", it put Drew back in costume for the first time in over a decade and ended with a teaser for further Spider-Woman adventures in Spider-Man Team Up. However, Gruenwald died before these stories could be written, and subsequent appearances treated "The Return of Spider-Woman" as non-canon. Three years later, Drew was again placed in the role of non-costumed supporting character, this time to the third Spider-Woman, Martha Franklin, for the first 11 issues of Spider-Woman volume 3.

On December 21, 2005, Marvel released the first issue of Spider-Woman: Origin, a five-part miniseries co-written by Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed, illustrated by the art team of the Luna Brothers, Jonathan and Joshua Luna. It was largely an extended retelling of Marvel Spotlight #32, though some details were changed.

The original Spider-Woman series was reprinted in its entirety, along with Marvel Spotlight #32 and all her contemporaneous guest appearances, in a pair of Essentials trade paperbacks, the first released simultaneously with Spider-Woman: Origin #1, the second in 2007.

Spider-Woman appeared as a regular character throughout the 2010-2013 Avengers series, from issue #1 (July 2010) through its final issue #34 (January 2013).

Fictional character biography[edit]


Jessica Miriam Drew, daughter of Jonathan and Merriam Drew, was born in London, England. At a young age, her family moves to a lab built by her father and Herbert Wyndham near Mount Wundagore in Transia, where she becomes gravely ill from months of uranium exposure. To save her life, her father injects her with an experimental serum based on irradiated spiders' blood. Because the serum requires a month's incubation, Wyndham places her in a genetic accelerator. Shortly after, her mother dies and her father leaves for the U.S.A., leaving Wyndham to care for her.[8] While in the accelerator, she ages at a decelerated rate. When she is finally released, decades later, Drew is only 17 years old.

Drew is ostracized by the other residents of Mount Wundagore, the High Evolutionary's New Men, since she was originally human while they were animals. Because of this, she eventually leaves to seek human civilization. She is captured by a HYDRA reserve unit under the leadership of Count Otto Vermis, who erases her memories, brainwashes her, and recruits her as a HYDRA agent under the codename Arachne.[8] One of HYDRA's top agents, Jared, is assigned to train her in combat and espionage, and to seduce her. Once Jessica has become his lover, he allows himself to be captured by S.H.I.E.L.D., so that she can be goaded into assassinating S.H.I.E.L.D. commander Nick Fury.[9]

While battling Fury, Jessica accidentally kills Jared and learns HYDRA's true nature. She quits HYDRA and assaults the unit's base, sending Count Vermis into a fatal crash, but not before he unlocks memory implants that she was actually an evolved spider and had killed a man before her association with HYDRA.[9] Despondent from these revelations, she wanders the woods where Vermis crashed until being recaptured and hypnotised by HYDRA.[10]

Spider-Woman: Origin[edit]

Origin does away with the spider-blood serum and genetic accelerator elements of the character's previous origin story.[volume & issue needed] Instead, Jessica's powers derive from her mother's womb being hit by a laser beam containing the DNA traits of several different species of spiders while she was carrying Jessica (the Drews were trying to splice and harness spiders' environmental adaptive capabilities, in order to graft them into the human genome).

After Jessica's parents disappear under mysterious circumstances, Jessica is recruited into HYDRA (under false pretenses), where she is made into a formidable fighter and assassin. She is trained and mentored by Taskmaster, who schools her in many martial disciplines and more than seven different fighting styles out of his own "arsenal".

In this re-telling, Otto Vermis, who had originally recruited her into HYDRA, is rather an old, retired HYDRA agent who Jessica seduces in order to gain information that will lead her to her mother.

In addition, Origin made the following modifications:


Going by the name Spider-Woman, Jessica is ordered to abduct Alicia Masters, who is vacationing in London. During the resultant conflict with Masters's boyfriend Ben Grimm, she recovers from her brainwashing and joins him in saving Masters.[11] She and Grimm then encounter Modred the Mystic, who removes HYDRA's memory implants and restores her memories.[12]

Jessica moves into an apartment in London, but finds it impossible to get a job due to her complete lack of background and her tendency to inspire dislike and even fear in other people. Following an aborted break-in she is unmasked by Scotland Yard officer (and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent) Jerry Hunt, who becomes obsessed with her.[8] During this troubled time she is approached by the mysterious sorcerer Magnus, who offers help. After defending him from Excaliber, who was sent by Morgan Le Fay to recover the Darkhold, he suggests she relocate with him to Los Angeles.[13] Magnus tutors her in the ways of civilization and informs her that her father was murdered, leading her on a hunt for his killer.[14] She is distracted from this hunt when Morgan Le Fey's ghost again seeks the Darkhold, this time in person. During the battle Hunt catches up with Jessica, and they begin a romantic relationship.[15] With his help, she identifies her father's murderer, who dies immediately after confessing.[16]

For the time, Jessica chooses to keep her doings as Spider-Woman a secret. Her relationship with Hunt sours, and following a final battle with the Brothers Grimm, he and Magnus part ways with her.[17] For the next three months she makes a hand-to-mouth living by working as a receptionist at the Hatros Institute while undergoing group therapy there. Though she ultimately loses the position due to a change in management, during her time there she received medication to suppress her pheromones so that she could move effectively among people without producing any unwanted side-effects, formed a strong friendship with fellow patient and aspiring actress Lindsay McCabe, and developed acquaintances with several other superheroes.[18]

The next few months of Jessica's life are not covered by published stories. During this time, she goes public as Spider-Woman, becomes a bounty hunter working in partnership with parapalegic criminologist Scotty McDowell, acquires a full wardrobe of disguises for use in her work, and finds a police liaison in Captain Walsh.[19] This situation lasts for several months. When her working relationship with Scotty fails, Jessica accepts an offer from Lindsay to move into an apartment with her in San Francisco,[20] where she begins a romantic relationship with their landlord David Ishima[21] and sets up a practice as a licensed private investigator.[22] Her move there allows Lindsay to deduce her secret identity; she is unbothered by the danger involved in being Spider-Woman's friend, and the shared secret deepens the friendship between them.[23]

While working as a P.I., she battles Morgan Le Fey once again.[24] Not long after that, Jessica gives up her immunity powers to save Giant-Man.[25] Her relationship with David Ishima develops to the point where she reveals her identity as Spider-Woman to him, only to have him break up with her because he wants to be with an ordinary woman.[26]

Jessica travels in astral form with Magnus to Sixth Century England to free her friends' souls in a showdown with Morgan le Fey in the 6th century. She manages to vanquish Morgan, but her human body dies while her spirit was gone.[27] At her request, Magnus places a spell over humanity to remove all memory of Jessica's existence. This spell is faulty; when Tigra and the Shroud discover Jessica's dead body, they contact the Avengers and Doctor Strange. The Avengers and Strange travel to the astral plane to battle Morgan Le Fay, who was trying to claim Jessica's body so she could return to the physical realm. Eventually, Doctor Strange and Magnus reunite Jessica's spirit with her human body, though Magnus's life and Jessica's powers are sacrificed to do so. She thus abandons her Spider-Woman identity[28] and continues her life as a private investigator in San Francisco, assisted by Lindsay McCabe and, for a time, by Tigra.[29]

Jessica and Lindsay take a job delivering the Black Blade to Japan, but while passing through Madripoor she is ensorcelled by the blade. By this time her superhuman strength and agility, and ability to cling to walls, have returned. She is freed from the blade's power by Lindsay and an underworld figure called Patch,[30] who she immediately recognizes as the X-Man Wolverine.[31] Following the incident, she and Lindsay set up new business lodgings in Madripoor, with Patch as a frequent ally and information source.[32]

Jessica Drew's life settles down until Charlotte Witter, a villainess going by the name of Spider-Woman, steals her powers and leaves her near death.[33] Jessica is taken from the hospital to New York City by Madame Web, who directs her and Mattie Franklin (yet another woman who has assumed the name Spider-Woman) to track down Witter. Under Madame Webb's guidance, Franklin absorbs from Witter the powers of all four Spider-Women.[34] Afterwards, Jessica remains with Madame Web for a time, helping her to watch over Mattie Franklin.[35] Jessica's powers gradually return to her during this time,[36] but are now unreliable, failing her unexpectedly on occasion.[37]

For untold reasons, Jessica moves back to San Francisco, resuming her private investigator practice there.[38] When she hears that Mattie Franklin has gone missing, she goes to New York to find her. With the help of local P.I. Jessica Jones, she rescues Mattie from a drug dealer who had abducted her and was cannibalizing her tissue to make the Mutant Growth Hormone.[39]

Secret Invasion[edit]

One day, a HYDRA agent known as Connely attacked her and offered her powers back if she would rejoin S.H.I.E.L.D. as a double agent.[40] Knowing Connely would kill her if she said no, Jessica agreed and contacted Nick Fury, who confronted her securely and urged her to accept the offer. He told Jessica that he would feed her limited info until S.H.I.E.L.D. could analyze the HYDRA cell and then use the info to take it down.[41]

Jessica's double-agent status is a cause for a great deal of mistrust between herself and other characters. After Nick Fury is ousted as head of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jessica is confronted by the new director, Maria Hill, about her loyalties. Jessica remains loyal to Fury rather than the leadership in S.H.I.E.L.D. Jessica also has conflicts with her teammates in the Avengers because of her divided loyalties.[volume & issue needed]

It is later revealed that the Jessica who had joined the Avengers and was acting as a double-agent under the command of Nick Fury was not Jessica Drew at all, but instead a Skrull imposter. When she went undercover to regain her lost powers, she was ambushed by the Skrulls and replaced by their current Queen Veranke, who took her place in the New Avengers and assumed her role as Fury's spy, in preparation for the upcoming Invasion.[volume & issue needed] Writer Bendis said he had this planned since New Avengers #1.

You can go back to issue #1 and see hints. [...] Now you know why the Spider-Woman series didn't happen. We thought about doing it and having her revealed as a Skrull in the first issue of her series. [...] I wrote it, but in the end I just thought it wasn't selling somebody what they thought you were selling them.[42]

In the conclusion to Secret Invasion, Jessica is revealed to be alive when Iron Man finds a Skrull ship in orbit with all the replaced heroes. Carol Danvers runs up to her and gives her a hug. Unaware of Queen Veranke's actions, Jessica asks why the other heroes have been giving her strange looks, to which Carol responds that "No one knows what to think."[43]

Dark Reign[edit]

In the aftermath of Secret Invasion, Jessica is invited by Wolverine to join the New Avengers, having nowhere else to go. She's the one who informs the other Avengers that S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer exists and later helps search for Luke and Jessica Jones' baby, Danielle Cage. Along with Iron Fist, they attack a HYDRA base to see if the Skrull Jarvis has contacted any Earth villains seeking a way to leave New York, possibly Earth.[44] She also joins the Lady Liberators along with the Invisible Woman, Storm, Valkyrie, Thundra, Tigra, Black Widow, She-Hulk, and Hellcat who are trying to discover the identity of the Red Hulk.[45][46] She attempts to bait the Dark Avengers into a fight with the New Avengers; Norman Osborn realizes it's a trick and sends the Hood's gang instead, leaving her feeling responsible for the setup.[47] Along with the rest of the New Avengers, she helps Doctor Strange search for the next Sorcerer Supreme and fights Madame Masque, who is trying to keep the New Avengers busy for the Hood.[48] She is also one of the more vocal members about Ronin's media war with Osborn. She is one of the last to fall when Chemistro draws them out into a trap meant for Osborn and his Dark Avengers, which drains them of their powers.[49]

Agent of S.W.O.R.D.[edit]

Feeling like the most screwed over person on Earth due to Veranke's actions, Jessica is approached to join S.W.O.R.D. by Abigail Brand, which she accepts. Her first mission takes her to Madripoor where she takes on a Skrull posing as Spider-Man. After run-ins with HYDRA, another Skrull, and the new Thunderbolts, Jessica eventually finds a wayward Skrull and she takes it down with the help of her teammates in the New Avengers. After the mission is over, Brand offers her different, new opportunities within S.W.O.R.D.[50]


Before the Siege of Asgard, Ronin attempts to assassinate Norman Osborn but is captured by the Dark Avengers. Jessica teams up with Ms. Marvel, Mockingbird and Jessica Jones to rescue him. After he is saved, the New Avengers relocate to a safehouse in Brooklyn where they meet up with Steve Rogers.[51]

Jessica is then paired with Spider-Man to do reconnaissance on Avengers Tower, where she reveals to him she is an agent of S.W.O.R.D. The duo are then found by Mandrill and Griffin who proceed to attack them. During the fight Mandrill gets close enough to Jessica and controls her into attacking Spider-Man.[52] Spider-Man appears to be on the losing end of the fight but manages to lure Jessica away from Mandrill and the effects of his control begin to wear off. The duo trick Mandrill and Griffin into thinking Jessica has beaten Spider-Man and when they approach Spider-Woman to give her new commands, Jessica punches Mandrill in the face and shoves her hand in his mouth, firing off a venom blast and knocking him out. Furious, Jessica wants to kill both villains for what they have done but is stopped by Spider-Man. The duo heads back to the safehouse where they head off with the Avengers to help the Asgardians.[53] Upon arriving in Asgard, Jessica and the rest of the heroes engage Norman Osborn's forces and witnesses the defeat of the Sentry, who had gone insane.[54]

Joining the Avengers[edit]

Jessica is asked by Steve Rogers himself to join his team of Avengers. During their first meeting, Jessica expresses her doubts to Wolverine about being on the team, feeling she has not earned the role. Wolverine advises her if she feels that way, she will then have to work towards earning it then. Suddenly Kang the Conqueror appears in the middle of the meeting with a dire warning about the future and all of reality, blaming the children of the Avengers.[55] After recruiting the Protector and building a time machine, the time machine is destroyed by a furious Wonder Man. Once the dust has settled, an alternate version of Apocalypse and his Four Horsemen appear.[56] After Apocalypse's defeat, Jessica and a few of her teammates are sent into New York City to protect its citizens from the attacks coming from the timestream.[57] While in Washington Square Park, they come across Killraven and join forces to help the citizens.[58] Once their mission is completed and all the attacks have stopped, Jessica is the first to realize Killraven has not been returned to his proper future.[59]

Later Jessica is present when the Red Hulk comes to warn the Avengers that the Hood is seeking to collect the Infinity Gems.[60] She is present along with the rest of the Avengers when they confront the Illuminati in Attilan about their existence and goes with a team of Avengers to the ruins of the Xavier Institute to get to Professor Xavier's Infinity gem.[61]

While on a mission for S.W.O.R.D., Jessica is sent to locate an unusual alien energy surge in Wakanda. Upon finding the remains of a Spaceknight, Jessica is ambushed by the Intelligencia who take her as a prisoner. Abigail Brand approaches the Avengers for help and a team is put together to help locate Jessica. Jessica wakes up naked and is interrogated by two members of the Intelligencia. While the Intelligencia study the Spaceknight, the Avengers interrupt their attempts and the body activates, revealing it was containing the consciousness of Ultron. The new Ultron escapes and Jessica is reunited with the Avengers.[62]

Powers and abilities[edit]

After her mother was struck with a beam of radiation containing the DNA of several different types of spiders while Jessica was in-utero, Jessica developed superhuman powers patterned after several different types of spiders when she was born. Jessica is superhumanly strong and is able to lift around seven tons at her peak. She also possesses superhuman speed, stamina, agility, and reflexes. Jessica's body is more resistant to injury than an ordinary person, allowing her to take far more physical punishment compared to an ordinary human. Jessica also possesses superhuman hearing and smell, the latter of which allowed her to distinguish a life model decoy from the real Nick Fury.[volume & issue needed] Jessica's palms and soles secrete a special fluid that allows her to cling to solid objects, like a true spider. Jessica's physical makeup also makes her highly resistant to all terrestrial poisons, toxins, and completely immune to radiation. While she is typically rendered dizzy by the initial dose, she is completely immune to it after being exposed again. She also exudes a high concentration of pheromones that illicit pleasure and attraction in men and revulsion in women, although she typically uses a chemical "perfume" that renders these pheromones inert. Jessica's body also produces an inordinate amount of bio-energy, which she can discharge from her hands. She refers to these discharges as "venom blasts" although they actually have nothing to do with poison and typically cause pain and unconsciousness, and Jessica can kill a man in the same way that a lightning bolt would and can pierce solid metals like steel by using her blasts at their greatest intensity. Jessica was also able to glide through unknown means using the web-like extensions of her costume, but seems to have gained the power to fly after being replaced by the Skrull Queen Veranke.[volume & issue needed] Jessica has lost her powers in numerous ways and on several occasions,[volume & issue needed] but after returning to Earth at the end of the Secret Invasion, Jessica's powers were restored and are greater than ever.[volume & issue needed]

In addition to her powers, Jessica is also a superb hand to hand fighter, and has trained in several styles of fighting including boxing, judo, karate, and capoeira, learned under the training of the Taskmaster. She has also had training in fencing and the use of many other weapons. Jessica was trained by HYDRA (and later on by S.H.I.E.L.D.) in covert operations, stealth, espionage, and information gathering and is a superb athlete. She speaks several foreign languages, including Korean, Russian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German. Jessica also received vocational training in undercover detective work and sometimes carried a Walther PPK handgun.

Other versions[edit]

Age of X[edit]

In the Age of X reality, Jessica Drew is a member of the Avengers, mutant hunters who answer to General Frank Castle. Going by the codename Redback, Jessica is one of America's top killers and has been for eight years. She uses lethal force during fights and has never uttered a word, she uses hisses to communicate on occasion.[63] She finally sacrifices herself using a gauntlet from the now-deceased Iron Man to stop the Hulk from destroying a mutant sanctuary with a chemical bomb, having come to recognize that their persecution of mutants is wrong.[64]

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man[edit]

In this version, Jessica Drew appeared in issue 52 and is a freelance agent who arrived at Peter's school's as a substitute teacher when she discovered Peter's biology report mixed up with HYDRA's bio-weapons plan. She is one of the few people who knew Peter's secret identity.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

Spider-Woman is seen on the SHIELD Helicarrier after the beginning of the zombie infection. She fights alongside the other uninfected heroes but is eventually infected herself. She is then seen in Ultimate Fantastic Four #23 along with the other zombies.


In the MC2 reality, Jessica never regained her powers after losing them. She got married and had a child, Gerald (or Gerry for short). She learned that her radioactive blood caused Gerry to develop a crippling illness and attempted to use the same genetic treatments her father gave her to save him. As Gerry "incubated" in a genetic accelerator, Jessica's husband blamed her for Gerry's health and divorced her. When Gerry emerged from the genetic accelerator, Jessica found that her son had gained spider-like powers (superhuman strength and agility, as well as the ability to organically produce webs), but still had his disease.[volume & issue needed] Teenaged Gerry used his powers to become Spider-Man,[volume & issue needed] and had several run-ins with the real Spider-Man's daughter, Spider-Girl.[volume & issue needed] He was pushing his body far beyond its limits, and Jessica asked Spider-Man to convince her son to give up his "career" as Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed] Peter Parker has attempted to find someone capable of finding a cure to Gerry's disease,[volume & issue needed] and apparently succeeded (at least that is suggested in the Spider-Girl comic series).[volume & issue needed][65]

What If...?[edit]

In What If...? #17, which is set during the events of Marvel Spotlight #32, Jessica succeeded in killing Nick Fury after the accidental death of Jared. She escaped and came back to HYDRA headquarters but was pursued by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents led by agent Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Spider-Woman (still known as Arachne) became a supervillain who wanted to know her real origin, just like Earth-616 version. Count Otto Vermis is still alive but captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Val chase Arachne to get revenge for Fury's death.[66] This parallel universe is known as Earth-79101.[67]

Ultimate Spider-Woman[edit]

Ultimate Spider-Woman. Cover to Ultimate Spider-Man #98 (October 2006). Art by Mark Bagley and Richard Isanove.

"Clone Saga"[edit]

In Ultimate Spider-Man #98, Spider-Woman is introduced, and in issue #102 it is revealed that she is a clone of Peter Parker whose chromosomes were manipulated to make her female. She resembles Peter, and appears to be the same age (approximately sixteen). Created to act as an agent for the CIA (code name: Spider-Woman), she retains Peter Parker's memories. Cassandra Webb is preparing to erase and supplant those memories in order to create her identity as "Jessica Drew", but she escapes before the process can be carried out.[68]

Doctor Octopus reveals himself as the mastermind of the cloning experiments.[69] Jessica and Peter fight him together, and eventually prevail. Peter surrenders to Nick Fury, while Jessica opts to flee.[70] At the close of the storyline, Jessica decides to start a new life and embrace her identity as Jessica Drew. She takes her leave of Peter after what she calls "the most awkward hug in history."[71]


Jessica later appeared on Ultimate Spider-Man #129 during the "Ultimatum" storyline. Taken by Peter's example of "with great power, comes great responsibility", she follows his vigilante path with her powers and aids Johnny Storm in apprehending the Vulture therefore making her public debut as Spider-Woman. The Human Torch begins to develop a romantic interest in her after a bad date with a famed but obnoxious teen singer, unaware that she's a female clone of Peter Parker. In issue #130, she later meets May Parker while aiding civilians from Magneto's worldwide attack. She later took May to safety then promised to find Peter for her.[72] She eventually traveled to the center of Manhattan where Dr. Strange's home was being attacked by Nightmare, however, Hulk began to destroy the portal to the Dark Dimension, which resulted in an explosion, leaving Jessica to bear witness to Peter's possible demise.[73] After briefly being chased by the Hulk, Jessica continues her search for Peter and met Kitty Pryde. They work together on the search as well as trying to help the survivors, but are also overwhelmed by the deaths and destructions around them. They managed to find a remnant of Peter's mask, which Kitty took with her and gave to Mary Jane Watson at Peter's home, informing her and May Parker that Peter is still among the missing.[74]


In Ultimate Enemy, she is later seen doing recon on the Roxxon corporation looking to see what illegal experiments they have been doing on genetic material. Then instantly, a large mass of matter attacks the corporation's building, and Spider-Woman rescues as many people she can from the building before she crashes onto a taxi. It is assumed that the person behind the attack is the "Ultimate Enemy". She is later seen in her apartment and is attacked by the same creature that destroyed the Roxxon corporations building. She is seen again at the end of Ultimate Enemy following Spider-Man.[75]

The duo plan to infiltrate Roxxon Corporation. To do this, Jessica becomes an employee by the name of Dr. Julia Carpenter.[76] On her first day she is introduced to a group of people who she is meant to work with: The Brain Trust. In that group are Dr. Arnim Zola III, Private Investigator Misty Knight, Nathaniel Essex, Dr. Layla Miller and Dr. Samuel Sterns.[77] Shortly afterward, they witness another attack on the Baxter Building and Roxxon suggests they move into underground bunker. While waiting there, Misty Knight starts to ask her questions and figures out that Spider-Woman is not who she says she is. The Brain Trust then reveal that they suspect Roxxon in the attacks as well. Spider-Woman still doesn’t trust them and when they want to see her powers, she webs them all up and runs from them. One of the Brain Trust members transforms into a brute of some sort and knocks her out before she can get away though.[78]

In Ultimate Doom, Spider-Woman awakens, bound on a table and meets the man behind the Brain Trust, Doctor Octopus. It doesn't take long for Spider-Man to arrive and save her just before Roxxon is attacked again. Spider-Man and Spider-Woman start rescuing civilians. They also notice Dr. Octopus is in danger. Spider-Man rushes to help him. Although Spider-Woman wants to let him die, Spider-Man eventually manages to convince her to save him. Rick Jones arrives with Human Torch and they learn that heroes are gathering to take down Reed Richards. Spider-Woman and even Doctor Octopus join the group.[79]

During the attack in the Negative Zone, Spider-Woman meets the Ultimates for the first time, and assist Captain America himself. After the confrontation with Reed Richards, Spider-Woman becomes an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. on the request of Carol Danvers.[80]

Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates[edit]

In Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, Spider-Woman plays a small role as a member of the titular team.[81]

Currently[when?] Spider-Woman is fed up on being in the Ultimates team.[82] She was captured along with Jamie Braddock who is current Captain Britain by the new SHIELD director Flumm.[83] She seems to be released as she took part in Captain America's swearing-in to presidency.[84] When president Captain America went to join the states once more, Spider-Woman joined him and was part of the ground forces.[85]

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man[edit]

Ultimate Spider-Woman is a supporting character in the series Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.[86]

A mysterious, heavily-clothed costumed vigilante appears in the early issues of Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, whose identity is revealed to be Kitty Pryde, in issue #6.[87] She and Johnny Storm once again thwart the Bombshells, a mother-daughter supercriminal duo. It is implied that she and Johnny begin seeing each other, which shocks Peter Parker, who knows Jessica's true identity as his clone. The knowledge that his clone, Jessica, is dating his male friend Johnny not only upsets Peter but makes him feel awkward around Johnny.[88]

In Ultimate Spider-Man volume 2, she confronts Miles Morales regarding his assumption of the mantle of Spider-Man.[89]

During the "United We Stand" storyline, Spider-Woman is reluctantly teamed with Miles Morales by Hawkeye during S.H.I.E.L.D.'s battle with the terrorist group HYDRA.[90] She comes to worry about him after they are separated during the battle, and later finds him and returns him to New York. Initially, she is not forthcoming when Miles asks why she cares so much about him,[91] but after he later quits being Spider-Man following the accidental death of his mother,[92] she reveals to him that she is the product Norman Osborn's attempt to clone Peter Parker. She explains that although she has Parker's memories, she is not Spider-Man, but know that someone must be, and that person is Miles. She manages to convince Miles to resume the Spider-Man identity.[93]

Being a product of Oscorp's attempts to clone Spider-Man,[93] she has powers similar to his. These include heightened agility, strength, reflexes, a precognitive danger sense ("spider sense") and the ability to stick to walls. Unlike Peter, she can shoot organic webbing from her fingertips.[volume & issue needed]


The character was ranked 54th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[94]

In other media[edit]


Video games[edit]



  1. ^ "Hello, Culture Lovers: Stan the Map Raps with Marvel Maniacs at James Madison University". The Comics Journal (42). October 1978. p. 55. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Johnson, Dan (August 2006). "Marvel's Dark Angel: Back Issue Gets Caught in Spider-Woman's Web". Back Issue (17) (TwoMorrows Publishing). pp. 57–63. 
  3. ^ "Venom Blasts" letter pages in Spider-Woman #8 and 12.
  4. ^ "Venom Blasts" letter pages in Spider-Woman #27-28.
  5. ^ "Venom Blasts" letter page in Spider-Woman #33.
  6. ^ "Venom Blasts" letter page in Spider-Woman #46.
  7. ^ Cronin, Brian (February 11, 2012). "The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Spider-Woman’s Dead and Forgotten?!?". ComicBookResources.com. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Spider-Woman #1
  9. ^ a b Marvel Spotlight #32
  10. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #31
  11. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #30-32
  12. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #33
  13. ^ Spider-Woman #2
  14. ^ Spider-Woman #3-4
  15. ^ Spider-Woman #5-6
  16. ^ Spider-Woman #7
  17. ^ Spider-Woman #12-13, 16
  18. ^ Spider-Woman #13-20
  19. ^ Spider-Woman #21
  20. ^ Spider-Woman #35
  21. ^ Spider-Woman #37
  22. ^ Spider-Woman #38
  23. ^ Spider-Woman #43. Lindsay implies she had deduced Spider-Woman's identity following her first public appearance in San Francisco, which was in Spider-Woman #38.
  24. ^ Spider-Woman #41
  25. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #85
  26. ^ Spider-Woman #49-50
  27. ^ Spider-Woman #50
  28. ^ Avengers #240-241
  29. ^ West Coast Avengers #1
  30. ^ Wolverine Vol. 2 #1-3
  31. ^ Wolverine Vol. 2 #14
  32. ^ Wolverine Vol. 2 #4-8, 10-16
  33. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #5
  34. ^ Spider-Woman Vol. 3 #1
  35. ^ Spider-Woman Vol. 3 #3-11
  36. ^ Spider-Woman Vol. 3 #4-5
  37. ^ Alias #20
  38. ^ Alias #17
  39. ^ Alias #19-21
  40. ^ "Giant-Size Spider-Woman" 1. 2005. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  41. ^ "New Avengers" 14. SpiderFan. 2006. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
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  43. ^ Secret Invasion #8
  44. ^ New Avengers #48
  45. ^ "Hulk (2008) #7". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  46. ^ Hulk #7
  47. ^ New Avengers #50
  48. ^ New Avengers #51-54
  49. ^ New Avengers #55-56
  50. ^ Spider-Woman #1-5 (2009)
  51. ^ New Avengers Annual #3 (2010)
  52. ^ New Avengers vol. 1 #61
  53. ^ New Avengers vol. 1 #62
  54. ^ Siege #3-4
  55. ^ Avengers #1 (2010)
  56. ^ Avengers #2 (2010)
  57. ^ Avengers #3 (2010)
  58. ^ Avengers #4 (2010)
  59. ^ Avengers #6 (2010)
  60. ^ Avengers #7 (2010)
  61. ^ Avengers #10 (2011)
  62. ^ Avengers #12.1 (2011)
  63. ^ Age of X: Universe #1
  64. ^ Age of X: Universe #2
  65. ^ Jessica Drew (MC2) at the Appendix to the handbook of the Marvel Universe
  66. ^ What If...? v1 #17
  67. ^ Article on Earth-79101 at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  68. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #102
  69. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #102
  70. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #104
  71. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #105
  72. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #131
  73. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #132
  74. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #133
  75. ^ Ultimate Comics: Enemy #1-2
  76. ^ Ultimate Comics: Mystery #2
  77. ^ Ultimate Comics: Mystery #3
  78. ^ Ultimate Comics: Mystery #4
  79. ^ Ultimate Comics: Doom #3
  80. ^ Ultimate Comics: Doom #4
  81. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #1 (October 2011)
  82. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #8 (May 2012)
  83. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #9 (June 2012)
  84. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #16 (November 2012)
  85. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #17 (December 2012)
  86. ^ Mahadeo, Kevin (August 11, 2009). "Tuesday Q&A: Brian Michael Bendis". Marvel Comics.
  87. ^ Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #3 (January 2010)
  88. ^ Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #9 (June 2010)
  89. ^ Brian Michael Bendis (w), Sara Pichelli (a). Ultimate Spider-Man v2, 4 (January 2012), Marvel Comics
  90. ^ Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol 2 #17 (June 2012)
  91. ^ Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol 2 #18 (February 2013)
  92. ^ Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Pichelli, Sara (a). "Venom War" Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man 22 (June 2013), Marvel Comics
  93. ^ a b Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Marquez, David (a). "Spider-Man No More" Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man 25 (September 2013), Marvel Comics
  94. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 38. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
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  96. ^ "LEGO SDCC 2013 Exclusives Minifigures! Green Arrow! Spider-Woman!". bricksandbloks.com. July 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  97. ^ "USPS Stamp News: Spider-Man and Nine Other Marvel Super Heroes to Deliver for Postal Service". Usps.com. 

External links[edit]