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Marvel Universe 

Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)

Revision as of 15:22, 10 March 2009 by Caption_canada (Talk | contribs)


Marvel Universe

Real Name
Jessica Drew

Arachne, Ariadne Hyde, Dark Angel, Dark Angel of San Francisco

Known to S.H.I.E.L.D.

British by birth; naturalized U.S. Citizen

Place of Birth
London, England

First Appearance
Marvel Spotlight #32 (1977)

Marvel Spotlight #32 (1977), Spider-Woman #1 (1978), Spider-Woman #7 (1978)

Jessica Drew is the daughter of Jonathan Drew, research partner to Dr. Herbert Edgar Wyndham. When young Jessica suffered uranium poisoning in 1931, Dr. Drew was forced to inject her with his untested spider serum and seal her in a genetic accelerator. In stasis for decades, her aging greatly slowed, she awoke with no memories of her own past. Briefly cared for by the Evolutionary's cow-woman assistant Bova, Jessica sought human company in a nearby village where she accidentally killed her first lover with her new bioelectric powers. Fleeing a vengeful mob, she was rescued by Count Otto Vermis, who molded her into the terrorist organization Hydra's newest assassin. As Arachne, she fought S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, who revealed Vermis as a cold-blooded killer.

Jessica returned to England where Modred the Mystic helped her shake off Hydra's brainwashing. She also allied with the sorcerer Magus, and earned the enmity of the powerful time-spanning sorceress Morgan Le Fay. Jessica eventually moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a bounty hunter alongside Scotty McDowell before Nick Fury helped her secure private investigator credentials. She lost her immunity power saving Giant-Man (Bill Foster) from radiation poisoning, and a battle with Morgan stranded Jessica on the astral plane until she was rescued by the Shroud, the Avengers and Doctor Strange. Later, Jessica and her friend, B-grade actress Lindsay McCabe, moved to Madripoor, where they often teamed with Wolverine.

Jessica was drawn to New York when her powers were stolen by Doctor Octopus' Spider-Woman (Charlotte Witter). Following Charlotte's defeat at the hands of Mattie Franklin (herself a self-styled Spider-Woman), Jessica once more regained her uncanny abilities accepting an offer from Hydra while working as a double agent for Nick Fury. After seventeen months of procedures, she emerged more powerful than ever, now capable of fully flying (rather than just gliding on air currents). After serving with Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Luke Cage as the Avengers formed in the aftermath of M-Day, Jessica left the team after the Superhuman Registration Act divided the heroes. She ultimately decided to ally herself with Captain America's anti-registration team, and is currently part of the unsanctioned Avengers. Now going by the name Spider-Woman, Jessica used her new identity to track down her father's killer, starting her search in London. During this time, Jessica was recaptured by HYDRA and brainwashed into working for them again. This brought her into direct conflict with Ben Grimm.[3] After HYDRA's brainwashing was reversed, she battled magical elements alongside the Thing and Modred the Mystic.[4]

Jessica battled Excaliber, agent of Morgan Le Fay, and then came into contact with Morgan's arch nemesis, the sorcerer Magnus.[5] Magnus would become one of her strongest allies, and provided information that would lead Jessica to relocate with him to Los Angeles where she began her career as a costumed crime fighter.[6] She encountered Morgan Le Fey's ghost. [7] Jessica also tracked down her father's murderers.[8]

Jessica was pursued at this time by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jerry Hunt, who followed her to Los Angeles to begin a romantic relationship with her.

In her early days as Spider-Woman, Jessica chose to keep her presence in Los Angeles a secret. She met super-powered foes such as the Brothers Grimm, Hangman, the Enforcer, The Needle, Hammer and Anvil[9], Nekra, the Silver Samurai, Viper, Gypsy Moth, and the Waxman, as well as allies such as Werewolf by Night and the Shroud.

Jessica also sought to discover the true nature of her pheromones, which appeared to produce a strong sexual attraction from men and repulsion from women. Her search led her to the Hatros Institute and her first true job. Working as a secretary, she was able to gain free medical treatment to suppress her pheromones so that she could move effectively among people without producing any unwanted side-effects. Alongside the Shroud, she battled the above mentioned Nekra and the cult of Kali, and learned of her pheromone secretions. The culmination of her time at the Hatros Institute led Jessica to her encounter with Nekra, and the loss of her job.[10]

Unemployed, Jessica briefly considered stealing, but at the last moment decided against it. She came into contact with Spider-Man, who advised her to use her unique talents to help others in need.[11] Jessica chose to heed his advice and become a bounty hunter. She worked closely with former FBI specialist, Scotty McDowell,[12] who later became the Hornet. When their working relationship failed, Jessica moved with her best friend Lindsay McCabe to San Francisco where she set up a practice as a licensed private investigator. On her first assignment, she battled Siryn, Black Tom Cassidy, and the Juggernaut alongside the X-Men.[13] She also battled Morgan Le Fey once again.[14]

While working as a P.I., Jessica encountered the Viper and the Silver Samurai in a battle. Two main revelations came out of it. The first was that Lindsay McCabe finally learned that Spider-Woman and Jessica were one and the same (although Lindsay claimed that she had known all along). The other was Viper's claim to be Jessica's real mother, of which she tried to convince Jessica. Whether this meant she was actually Miriem Drew remains unknown, but the resemblance between the two was uncanny and even fooled other HYDRA agents. The Viper was shown to be a pawn of Chthon however, and ultimately betrayed Chthon rather than hurt Jessica.[15] Jessica later encountered and battle the Viper again, although now the Viper believed Jessica had brainwashed her into believing that she was her mother.[16] Not long after that, Jessica gave up her immunity powers to save Giant-Man.[17]

Jessica traveled in astral form with Magnus to the Sixth Century England to free her friends' souls in a showdown with Morgan le Fey in the 6th century. She managed to vanquish Morgan, but Jessica's human body died while her spirit was gone from it.[18] Jessica was believed dead and the sorcerer, Magnus, placed a spell over humanity to remove all traces of Jessica's existence. However, this spell was faulty, and Tigra and the Shroud discovered Jessica's dead body and contacted the Avengers and Doctor Strange. It turned out that Jessica was in fact trapped on the astral plane, and was attempting to make contact with her body again. The Avengers and Strange traveled to the astral plane to battle Morgan Le Fay, who was also trapped on the astral plane. Morgan attempted to foil the Avengers' attempts to revive Jessica, bringing Morgan in direct conflict with both the Avengers and Dr. Strange. Eventually, Doctor Strange was able to reunite Jessica spirit with her human body and trap Morgan, but it was not without a cost: Jessica's bioelectric powers were eliminated and Magnus sacrificed his astral form to help restore her to life. Jessica was nevertheless grateful for returning to the land of the living, and abandoned her Spider-Woman identity.[19] She continued her life simply as a private investigator in San Francisco, assisted by Lindsay McCabe and occasionally by Tigra, The Shroud and during their brief time in the city, the X-Men.

Jessica Drew frequented Madripoor as a private investigator, partnered with Lindsay McCabe. During this time she had lost her ability to discharge bioelectricity, but found that her super powers were slowly returning. She still possessed superhuman strength and agility, and the ability to cling to walls. At one point, she became ensorcelled by the Black Blade, and battled Wolverine.[20] However, she became an ally and confidante of Patch (an alter-ego of Wolverine), and developed a friendship with pilot Archie Corrigan, who helped her return to San Francisco, where Jessica worked to sort out her life.

Jessica Drew's life settled down until Charlotte Witter, a villainess 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, a young woman who had assumed the Spider-Woman identity. Jessica began to regain her powers at this time; while investigating two cases with Mattie, she made use of her restored superhuman strength and agility. Although she regained the bulk of her spider-powers, they were unstable. For example, her "venom blasts" worked efficiently in one fight, and then would fail her unexpectedly on another occasion.

When Mattie Franklin was drawn into a highly abusive and parasitic relationship with a New York-based drug dealer who cannibalized her tissue to make the "Mutant Growth Hormone" (commonly known as "MGH"), Jessica didn't hesitate to investigate (despite the instability of her powers). An initial misunderstanding with local P.I. Jessica Jones—who shared many surprising similarities to Drew—turned into an alliance when the women teamed up to rescue Mattie from her captors.

[edit] Secret Invasion

One day, a HYDRA agent known as Connely attacked her and offered her powers back as long as she rejoins S.H.I.E.L.D. and acts as a double agent. 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 as he will feed her limited info until S.H.I.E.L.D. can analyze the HYDRA cell and then use the info to take it down.

However when she went undercover to regain her lost powers, she was ambushed by the Skrulls and replaced by their current Queen Veranke, who takes her place in the New Avengers and assumes her role as Fury's spy, in preparation for the upcoming Invasion.

   "There are quite a few people on my message boards and the CBR ones who are gigantic Spider-Woman fans and they’ve loved me for bringing her back. With her being in a number one book, she’s had a wave of good fortune that she hasn’t seen since her heyday. And the whole time I was writing her I’d think those fans are going to fucking lose their shit because we’ve had this planned since New Avengers #1. You can go back to issue #1 and see hints. There’s not a segment of the readership that I haven’t felt worse about doing this to than the Spider-Woman fans. I want to express publicly that your love of the character will not be lost.
   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. Last year, we were going to do the series and at the end of the issue she’d do something wrong, go off somewhere private and revert to Skrull form. It would be like, 'Woah! The lead character of the book isn’t who she thought she was!' I wrote it, but in the end I just thought it wasn’t selling somebody what they thought you were selling them. But if you did it as part of a team book it’s much less bullshitty. You expect things to happen in a team book but if you’re buying Spider-Woman, you want Spider-Woman."
   —Brian Michael Bendis[21]

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."[22]

[edit] Dark Reign

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's baby, Danielle. 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.[23] 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.[24][25]

A new ongoing Spider-Woman book has been solicited for April, with Brian Michael Bendis writing and Alex Maleev illustrating[26]