Many female crime fighters have taken on the name Spider-Woman following Jessica Drew's debut in 1977's MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #32. Just a few months after Jessica hung up her tights in AVENGERS #241, a new hero emerged to pick up where she left off. Julia Carpenter may have been the second Spider-Woman, but she also became the first one to join the Avengers!
Julia Carpenter first appeared 30 years ago this month in SECRET WARS #6 by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck. The new Spider-Woman made her debut at the halfway point of an epic battle between a number of Earth's heroes and villains, all orchestrated by the all-powerful cosmic being called the Beyonder. Carpenter made a cameo appearance lurking in the shadows just outside the heroes' stronghold.
With that tease out of the way, Spider-Woman made her full debut on the first page of the very next issue.
Julia quickly displayed her abilities, including super strength. Given their dire straits and Doctor Doom's lack of subtlety, the Avengers and Fantastic Four did not peg the mysterious Spider-Woman as an infiltrator.
Carpenter revealed that she arrived on Battleworld the same way that bad guys Titania and Volcana had. All three had been citizens of the chunk of Denver, Colorado that the Beyonder had used to create the elaborate setting for his death match. With that "how" out of the way, Spider-Woman began to fight alongside the heroes.
Of course, how Spider-Woman gained her powers still remained a mystery, and some of the Avengers treated her with caution. James Rhodes, who had secretly taken over as Iron Man at the time, made sure to pay attention to Julia—for more than just security reasons.
Later, Julia watched as her home suburb separated itself from Battleworld and returned to Earth.
Spider-Woman could not yet return home; she still had work to do alongside her future teammates. With the combined threats of Doctor Doom and Galactus defeated, Carpenter finally returned to Earth alongside most of the rest of the kidnapped super heroes. She initially joined the government sponsored Freedom Force unit, but failed to fit in with them—after all, they had previously been known as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. She eventually joined the West Coast Avengers, becoming the first spider-powered individual to fight alongside Earth's mightiest heroes!
Check out Julia's last stand as Madame Web in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN on Marvel Unlimited!