From Academic Kids

Spider-Woman is a fictional character in the Marvel Universe. There have been three female characters to go by this superhero alias, along with one supervillain.



Jessica Drew

Missing image
Cover to Spider-Woman #1.

Jessica Drew first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #32 (February 1977).

At a young age, Jessica Drew was lethally poisoned by radiation. In an attempt to save her life, Jessica was injected with an experimental serum based on irradiated spiders' blood. Because the serum did not have any apparent effect on her, the man who would come to be known as the High Evolutionary placed her in a genetic accelerator. While in the accelerator, she aged at a decelerated rate and when finally released decades later, Drew was only fourteen years old. Her first few years were confusing as she adjusted to life among other humans. Eventually HYDRA found and recruited her. Through brainwashing and manipulation, she was convinced she was not human but actually an evolved spider. During this time, she went by the alias of Arachne. Finally, on a mission against SHIELD, Jessica learned HYDRA’s true nature and turned on them.

Now going by the name Spider-Woman, Jessica started her career as both a costumed crime fighter and a private detective. In her later adventures, she engaged in a showdown with recurring villain Morgana le Fey in the 6th century, died, was brought back to life, lost her powers, regained her powers, and was even trapped in and later rescued from another dimension.

Jessica Drew's life settled down until Charlotte Witter, a villain going by the name of Spider-Woman, stole her powers. After the theft, Jessica returned to her life as a private investigator and served as a teacher and mentor to Mattie Franklin (who had assumed the Spider-Woman identity at the time).

After regaining her powers Jessica joined the New Avengers. She is currently the only active Spider-Woman.

Powers: super strength and endurance, stamina, speed, and agility, ability to stick to walls, an immunity to all toxic substances and radiations, and excessive bioelectricity, which could be released in powerful discharges called "venom blasts."

Missing image
Trading card from the 1993 Marvel Masterpieces set

Julia Carpenter

A secretive government group called The Commission decided to use Julia Carpenter as a test subject in their experiments. The experiments were a success and Julia was granted powers very similar to those of Spider-Man. Not long after adopting the identity of Spider-Woman, she was drawn into the Secret Wars. The alien symbiote that would join with Spider-Man and later become Venom was originally inspired by her costume. After returning to Earth, Julia joined Freedom Force but much like her predecessor found herself on the wrong side of the law. She then found her place with the West Coast Avengers and once they disbanded, she joined their spin-off team Force Works. Julia’s main enemies were the arachnid-based team called Death Web, which consisted of three super villains who were created by The Commission using a variation of the same serum which transformed Julia. Eventually Julia walked away from the superhero business to concentrate on raising her daughter Rachel. Julia, like Jessica Drew, was also attacked by Charlotte Witter and had her powers stolen. In the aftermath of their theft, Julia has returned to the life of a normal mother.

Powers: super strength and endurance, stamina, speed, and agility, ability to stick to walls (psionic based), Psi-Web: psionic based webbing which takes much concentration to manifest but can be controlled in ways Spider-Man’s webbing never could.

Mattie Franklin

Missing image
Cover to Spider-Woman (vol.3) #18.

Martha "Mattie" Franklin was a troubled youth who grew up with her father after her mother died when she was young. She was granted her powers when, after overhearing a phone call between her father and Norman Osborn about the Gathering of the Five, she secretly masqueraded as her father during the gathering and was endowed with the awesome powers that Norman Osborn had wanted for himself. During Spider-Man’s leave, she wore his costume and filled in for him. After Spider-Man’s return and with the blessing of both Jessica Drew and Julia Carpenter, she assumed the identity of Spider-Woman. Eventually Charlotte Witter, a villain also going by the name of Spider-Woman, attacked her and stole her powers. Powerless, Mattie continued to fight Witter and managed not only to reabsorb her own powers but also to absorb the powers of both previous Spider-Women (which Witter had also stolen) and Witter's own powers. Franklin eventually settled with her uncle J. Jonah Jameson.

Powers: super strength, speed, agility, and endurance, ability to adhere to the walls, bio-electric "venom blasts," psionically-created "psi-webs," psychic spider-legs that sprout from her back, ability to fly, extrasensory powers, precognitive flashes, telepathy, and psionic detection.

Missing image
Cover to Amazing Spider-Man (vol.2) #6.

Charlotte Witter

Charlotte Witter was a fashion designer (and granddaughter of psychic Madame Web) who also engaged in black market deals. Those dealings lead her to work for Dr. Octopus. Through genetic manipulation, Dr. Octopus mutated her into a human/spider hybrid. He gave her the ability to absorb the powers of the previous Spider-Women in return for her agreeing to destroy Spider-Man. She managed to steal the powers of Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter, Mattie Franklin, and Madame Web. During a climactic battle, Mattie reabsorbed all those powers, leaving Charlotte powerless. In their last encounter, it seemed Charlotte’s powers had begun to return. Nevertheless, Charlotte was defeated by Mattie and institutionalized.

Powers: super strength, endurance, speed, and agility, ability to adhere to walls, bio-electric "venom blasts," psionically-created "psi-webs", psychic spider legs that sprout from her back, ability to fly, extrasensory powers, precognitive flashes, telepathy, and psionic detection.

Other media

Spider-Woman starred in a show called Spider-Woman in 1977. A year later, it changed its name to Spider-Woman and Amazing Spider-Man TV team up and got cancelled in 1980.

See also

Related characters

External links


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