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Comic Book / Spider-Woman

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One of them is not a Spider-Woman.note 

Spider-Man: I didn't say you could lend [the name] out. There's, like, ten of you now.
Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew): There's three, and they are ripping me off.
New Avengers

Spider-Man was a huge success to Marvel Comics, so obviously, later on a Distaff Counterpart would be inevitable. No, we're not talking about his daughter from The Clone Saga, Spider-Girl. We're talking about the one Distaff Counterpart conceived way before The Clone Saga. These are what we'd like to call... The Spider-Women.

Compared to other Distaff Counterparts, Spider-Women are rarely an accurate one for Spidey. Most of the time, they possess a set of unique abilities on their own, instead of web-shooters. They also form a small form of Legacy Character pool (while not exactly a big one like Venom or Robin), and occasionally, each form possesses different names, including even Spider-Girl. Although the Spider-Girl in question is NEVER any of the Alternate Universe versions of the original Spider-Man's daughter, with one of them taking the Spider-Woman name later in her career.


See also: Spider-Women, a 2016 Bat Family Crossover featuring three of the characters listed on this page.

General Tropes

  • Action Girl: All of them, naturally. But special mention goes to Jessica, Julia, and Anya who are also natural fighters on their own. Jessica's trained by Taskmaster, a Badass Teacher himself. Julia is good in hand-to-hand combat for being a government agent. Anya is skilled gymnast and S.H.I.E.L.D. provided her further combat training.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Spiders, obviously.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Jessica Drew - Morgan le Fay, though some may go with Gypsy Moth/Skein or Viper/Madame Hydra.
    • Julia Carpenter - Manipulator; he murdered Julia's ex-husband, Larry, and was the Big Bad of her four-issue miniseries from the early 1990s.
    • Mattie Franklin - Flesh and Bones, though mostly through virtue of being the only recurring baddies in Mattie's predominantly Monster of the Week-based run.
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  • Chest Insignia: The Spider symbol appears here on the costumes for Julia, Mattie, and Anya, with a few of Jessica's costumes also showing this. Silk uses a spider-web as her chest symbol, while Gwen technically doesn't have a symbol at all, with her spider symbol being the white parts of her suit.
  • Crossover: Often with Spider-Man, at times; it's also pivotal to Spidey's development (it created Venom).
  • Distaff Counterpart: Somewhat subverted, since none of the Spider-Women have any relation to Peter Parker whatsoever apart from acquaintance. Only Cindy Moon gained her powers from the same exact source, and she has a slightly different power-set (namely organic webs rather than webshooters) in addition to not using the Spider-Woman alias. And while Gwen also got her initial powers from a spider bite and shares the same power set, being her universe's Spider-Man equivalent, she goes on to gain additional abilities thanks to bonding with her dimension's Venom symbiote, on top of abandoning the Spider-Woman alias as well.
  • Magnus Means Mage: In Jessica's original series, her ally and mentor Magnus was a sorcerer and former apprentice of Morgan le Fey.
  • Most Common Superpower: Except for Mattie, Anya, and Gwen, the Spider-Women are quite busty.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Mainly Jessica, but even Julia could be this. Stripperiffic Charlotte also counts.
  • Mythology Gag: Jessica was at first assigned with the name "Arachne", then changes it to "Spider-Woman". The reverse happened to Julia (who wanted to be called Arachne from the start).
  • She's Got Legs: Both Jessica and Julia (during the times that they wore their original costumes) are shown to be drawn with very attractive legs.
  • Sensual Spandex: Except for Julia, after she gave her costume to Anya. Doubles with Living Clothes for Gwen after she bonds with her universe's Venom symbiote.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Both Jessica (5'10") and Julia (5'9").
  • Stock Subtitle: "Spider-Woman: Resurrection"
  • Wall Crawl: Just like Spider-Man.

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    Jessica Drew (616) 

Jessica Drew
The first and probably most well known is Jessica Drew. She was created at the last minute when Marvel found out that Filmation animation studios was going to create their own super heroine by the name of Spider-Woman; since the comic version managed to come out first, Filmation was forced to change their character's name to "Web Woman". The character first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #32 (February, 1977), created by Archie Goodwin, Sal Buscema, and Jim Mooney. Jessica was the star of Spider-Woman vol. 1, which lasted for 50 issues (April, 1978-June, 1983).

When Jessica was little, she was infected with uranium radiation and was in danger of dying. Her father used an experimental spider serum to save her, and put her in a tube to accelerate the serum's growth, saving her life but aging her rather rapidly to the point that she looks, and acts, much older than she is. She was raised in Wundagore by the cow-woman Lady Bova, eventually left to make her way in the human world, fell in love... then accidentally killed her first love with her latent superpower: bio-electric blasts. Accused of being a witch, Jessica fled Wundagore and was taken to HYDRA, tricked into thinking that it was a good place for refugees, even though it's actually a terrorist group. She was trained in martial arts and learned to harness her powers more effectively. These include the discovery of her other powers such as Wall Climbing and Pheromones, which attract men and women. Oh, and she was given her codename, first Arachne, but quickly changed to Spider-Woman (tt should be noted that the preceding paragraph is the result of decades of Retconning with at least two complete origin changes, including one where she was a hyper-evolved spider. Jessica rivals Hawkman in the Continuity Snarl category).

On her first mission to assassinate Nick Fury, Jessica came to realize that HYDRA was wrong, so she rebelled and was left on her own to cope with her power and with her daily life. It was tough, but eventually she managed to overcome her problems, especially after the Crossover with Spider-Man, who advised her to use her power for good; she later became a bounty hunter and a private detective. She also gained a Rogues Gallery, the most notorious being Morgan le Fay, whom she eventually finished in her book's finale, at the cost of her soul being separated from her body, and she requested her magician friend cast a spell that would erase her from the memories of everyone that ever knew her.

However, the spell was faulty and eventually her body was found by The Avengers, which led to a story arc where they tried to get her soul back to her body. They succeeded, but with a cost: Spider-Woman's powers were gone. Jessica later led a normal life with her friend Lindsay McCabe, moving to Madripoor and briefly getting involved with the adventures of Wolverine. Of course, her powers slowly started to come back, but they tended to be fluctuous and unstable. She was also attacked by Charlotte Witter, a supervillain taking the same code name, and for a time, along with the 2nd Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter, mentored the third Spider-Woman Mattie Franklin.

Over time, however, Nick Fury once again contacted Jessica in order to stabilize her power as Spider-Woman by infiltrating HYDRA. Unfortunately, that turns out to be a trap by the Skrulls, who ambushed and captured her. The Skrull Queen Veranke chose to replicate Jessica to kickstart her eventual invasion, while Jessica was held prisoner in the Skrull ship. Veranke joined the New Avengers, participated through House of M, Civil War and even World War Hulk, until it was time for the invasion of Skrulls. The Avengers defeated Veranke and she was killed by Norman Osborn, with the ship carrying Jessica and the other Skrull prisoners crashing on Earth. While there were a few who welcomed her back (such as Carol Danvers and in a way, Wolverine), the rest of the world's heroes looked at her funny, the image of her face seemingly becoming synonymous with Veranke, and she ended up being vilified by the world.

On Wolverine's suggestion, Jessica joined the New Avengers, despite some members still being highly suspicious of her. While she did her job as an Avenger well enough, she was still haunted with her time of capture and vilification by the world, causing her to take on jobs offered by SWORD in order to hunt down any remaining Skrulls, whom she now hated. An encounter with a particularly strong Skrull eventually overpowered her and revealed the reason why Veranke chose her as the person to impersonate: because she was completely alone and thought to be insignificant, so the rest of Earth's heroes wouldn't care about what would happen to her. Just in time for the New Avengers, even those who were formerly suspicious at her, to come to her rescue and remind her that people care about her, that she's got friends, and that she's not alone. With this, Jessica defeated that particular Skrull and resumed being a full-time New Avenger, declining further jobs by SWORD.

She participated in the Siege of Asgard and her efforts eventually cleaned her image of "having Veranke's face". Despite her doubts, she's handpicked as one of the members of the mainline Avengers, and has fought on their side ever since.

In 2014, Jessica received another solo series again as part of the Spider-Verse Bat Family Crossover, written by Dennis Hopeless (of Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover fame). After Spider-Verse, with a new lease on life (and a new costume), Jessica quit the Avengers and devoted herself to helping normal, everyday people.

In 2019, Spider-Woman would join the black ops team known as Strikeforce. This quickly became a notable transition, as Jessica returned to the classic costume she was most famous for starting with this series.

Jessica has appeared in other media besides the Marvel comics:

Video Games

Western Animation

Tropes for Jessica

  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • In the mainstream universe Jessica's had a steady relationship with men but she's also had a lot of Les Yay with some female characters, especially her "best friend" Carol Danvers. Also with her long-standing live in partner Lindsay Mc Cabe. And her extreme foe yay relationship with known bisexual and hedonist Gypsy Moth. Blurring this further is that her Ultimate Marvel self is openly lesbian, though this is because her Ultimate Marvel self is actually a female clone of Peter Parker, thus possessing a lot of the same qualities (beyond being openly lesbian, she has the same types as Peter: redheads and Jewish girls).
    • When Captain Marvel asks her opinion of the new Thor: "One word, Carol: hawt."
  • Arch-Enemy: Back in the day, Jessica's was Morgan Le Fay. Now it's Madame Hydra, who is insane enough to believe she is her mother. She is not; Jessica's mother is dead.
  • Berserk Button: Don't insinuate Jessica being a Skrull or try to control her mind. She'll try to kill you for that.
  • Big Sister Mentor / Cool Big Sis: Towards Anya, see here and here. More recently towards Spider-Gwen and Silk
  • Bound and Gagged: Hoo boy, does Jessica get to this situation often in her early runs. Even Skrull Queen Veranke experienced this once while impersonating Jess.
  • Broken Bird: Some incidents turned her into this, such as Skrull Queen impersonating her, among others.
  • Brought Down to Normal: She loses her powers from the '80s and '90s. Outside of guest appearances as a private detective, her character had been retired and replaced by Julia Carpenter. Her character has since been revitalized and with her powers back, she's active again as Spiderwoman.
  • Call-Forward: The Origin mini-series features one Miles Warren as a colleague of Jessica's father. Warren eventually leaves their project to pursue cloning research.
  • Continuity Snarl: Poor Jessica has had at least three different origin stories over the years:
    • Originally, she was one of the High Evolutionary's experiments in engineering new humanoid species from animal stock; in Jessica's case, she was a spider artificially evolved into a perfectly humanoid form. This was why she had abilities akin to, yet different from, those of Spider-Man, and also why she had the ability to attract men but repulse women with her pheromones.
    • Then she became the daughter of a pair of scientists who was poisoned by the uranium deposits near their lab; her father injected her with a serum made from spider genes in an effort to cure by infusing her with the resistant to radiation possessed by spiders. He then put her in a "genetic accelerator" to enhance the serum's progression, which caused her to A: gain spider-powers, and B: rapidly age until she was a child in the body of a young adult. The "spider evolved into a human" backstory was retconned as a false set of memories implanted in her.
    • Another comic, "Spider Woman: Origin", retconned it again, most notably stating that whilst her parents were experimenting on a way to graft useful genes from spiders to humans, Jessica's pregnant mother was zapped with a splicing beam and Jessica was imbued with spider-genes in her mother's womb.
  • Dark Mistress: Earth-001's Jessica Drew is in relationship with Morlun. Earth-616's Jessica once impersonated her.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Subverted in Hawkeye #9; Jessica finds out that Clint cheated on her and slaps him twice, but when she tries to hit him a third time he stops her and tells her that she's not allowed to do that, no matter how mad she is. The ending does have Clint talking to a neighbor and strongly hints that he wants to get back together with her, but that apparently isn't happening.
  • Dude Magnet: One of her powers is to produce pheromones that makes men want her (and cause women to be repulsed by her). Unfortunately, she can't really direct it; it's either on or off, so she relies on a perfume to correct it.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: During an incident in Spider-Gwen, Jessica tries to use her Avengers credentials to get take-out food delivered to an odd location. It didn't appear to work.
  • invokedDye Hard: Jessica was naturally redheaded (though in the Bendis origin revision, she's blonde like her mother). She dyed her hair black. In fact, Jessica's villainous alternate reality counterpart from Earth-001 in Spider-Verse keeps her auburn hair.
  • Expy: Jessica Jones, aka Jewel, began life as basically Jessica Drew in all but name. Alias was originally to star Drew, but that didn't work because over in Avengers, Drew was going to turn out to have been impersonated by Queen Veranke for some time, and she was just generally going in an entirely different direction. Brian Michael Bendis changed her last name and Alias went ahead as planned.
  • Fan Disservice: While on a mission for S.W.O.R.D., Jessica is ambushed by a supervillain team known as The Intelligencia who take her as a prisoner. She later wakes up naked and is interrogated while she's still naked. On the other hand, Skrull Queen Veranke also had similar experience while impersonating Jess.
  • Flight: She can fly, although it is unclear as to the range and extent of this power.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Jessica ( or better, the Skrull Queen Veranke posed as her) get this reaction from Iron Man and Luke Cage when she appears in her sexy red and yellow costume in New Avengers.
    Iron Man: "Well, Agent Drew, in the most P.C., non-threatening, professional way, I'd like to say..."
    Luke Cage: "Damn, girl."
    Iron Man: "Exactly."
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Just to show just how messed up Jessica's life is, this is her past (being an ex-agent of HYDRA) and present life (still being thought of as the Skrull Queen). Who knows if this'll change in the future.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jess is this with Carol Danvers. Sometimes the "heterosexual" part can be questionable.
  • It's Personal: Jessica really hates Skrulls after Secret Invasion. Part of the reason why she joins SWORD is because it gives her more opportunities to kick Skrull ass.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: In this case, mother. Merriem Drew, Jessica's mother, was supposedly killed in a werewolf attack decades ago. In Spider-Woman (vol. 1) #44 (June, 1982), Merriem was revealed to be alive and unaging, in the person of Viper/Madame Hydra, the latter being a long-established super-villainess. Jessica and Viper were also stated to be "mirror images" of each other. This was retconned away in "Captain America" (vol. 1) #281 (May, 1983), "revealing" that both ladies had been manipulated by Chthon into thinking they were related.
  • Male Gaze: Not so prevalent nowadays, but used to be that Jessica's butt was often seen just as much as her face. In fact it even inspired a few controversies.
  • Maternally Challenged: Jessica apparently doesn't care for kids. When the other Avengers are cooing over the newborn Danielle Cage and Mary Jane tells her to "look at this baby", Jessica's only response is "That is a baby. Get it away from me." Then again, this was during the time Veranke was posing as Jessica. Getting pregnant caused her no small amount of soul-searching, but in the end she decided she would make her best go of it.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jessica usually wears a very form-fitting costume that highlights her large breasts, broad shoulders, long toned yet shapely legs, and voluptuous yet toned body.
  • Most Common Superpower: Jessica is shown to be very busty.
  • Pheromones: Jessica involuntarily produces these, making men attracted to her while repelling women.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: This is something that has been quite consistent with Jessica across all eras: She and Peter are shown to be quite good friends, but never go beyond that. It helps that during their first encounter in comics, Peter was one of the first guys to give her a hand at her troublesome life.
    • A videogame made her joke they never dated, but she does find him cute.
    • It helps that in the Ultimate universe, Jessica is Peter's clone, so of course they will never go beyond anything.
  • Power Incontinence: Jessica had to learn to keep her pheromones in check, at first. She still can't quite do it.
  • Pregnant Badass: Post-Secret Wars (2015), and then no longer so when she gives birth in the following series.
  • Ret-Gone: In the conclusion of the original comic series, this was supposed to happen to her. After being unable to return her soul to her body, she requested that her friend Magnus casts a spell that makes everyone forget that she ever existed. In the end... the spell was faulty, and she's Back from the Dead.
  • Rogues Gallery: Jessica fought a surprising number of villains during her initial 50-issue series, including the Brothers Grimm, the Needle, Daddy Long Legs, Turner D. Century, the Flying Tiger, the Waxman, Gypsy Moth, Morgan le Fay, the Human Fly, Hammer and Anvil, the Hangman, Nekra and Dr. Karl Malus.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: In Marvel NOW! (2016), she fights the Hobgoblin, one of Peter Parker's old rogues.
  • She's Got Legs: Jessica (especially in her original red and yellow costume) is not only has an attractive body, but she also has very attractive legs.
  • Shock and Awe: Jessica can fire bio-electric blasts from her hands.
  • Status Quo Is God: Her costume getting changed from the iconic skin-tight bodysuit to a more modest costume in her 2014 series, which was the first time the costume was changed in 37 years. It also only lasted a comparatively brief five years, as Jessica would return to the old suit once again in Strikeforce.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • When dating Hawkeye, Jessica fell into this. A woman connected to S.H.I.E.L.D., who is great at hand-to-hand combat, traumatized by Skrulls, and smarter than him? Does this describe Jessica or Bobbi Morse, Hawkeye's ex?
    • For that matter, Bendis reinvented Jessica by emphasizing her early days with HYDRA, making her a spider-themed espionage character with a morally ambiguous past...which could all be said of Clint's other ex, Natasha Romanoff.
  • Team Mom: Although later quite literal, Jessica was seen acting as a mentor and confidante to Spider-Gwen, who had popped over to Earth 616 to ask Jessica to help her remove some handcuffs she'd acquired during a confrontation with Earth 65's Captain America.
  • Troll: Tells Spider-Gwen that she'll have to melt off a pair of handcuffs that Gwen had acquired using her bio-electricity. Gwen initially protests, saying that as a former spy, Jess should know ways to just pop the locks. Jess points out that as a super-heroine, Gwen is going to have to expect the occasional flesh searing electrical burn. Gwen closes her eyes to brace herself, and then says she can feel her flesh beginning to burn when... Jessica pops the locks with a small screwdriver.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked in-universe. In the 1970s comics, this was Jessica's shtick; her comic's tagline was "To Know Her Is to Fear Her!" She is, biologically, literally part spider, and was raised by Beast Men to boot. When she finally enters the human world, nearly everyone is instantly, instinctively afraid of her, making it extremely hard for her to find work or shelter, and leaving her terribly alone. Still, through tremendous effort, she eventually overcomes this and makes a good life for herself, making for a very inspiring character arc. However, Executive Meddling later put her on a bus for 20 years, and when she was finally brought back into the limelight, this whole aspect of her origin was retconned away. Most readers today seem to think that all her pheromones ever did was make men swoon over her.
  • Wacky Cravings: In Radioactive Spider-Gwen #3, Jessica eats several single serving packets of butter.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: She's yet to reveal who the father of her newborn son is; the only certainty is that it isn't Tony Stark (he was the only one who asked, and her reply was to dump a plate of food on him; clearly she has a reason to keep it secret). It's revealed she got pregnant through artificial insemination, though who donated the sperm remains unknown.

    Jessica Drew (1610) 

Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman/Black Widow III

A female clone of Peter Parker, Jessica Drew was one of two clones to survive the Clone Saga, and occasionally teams up with her "big brother". She joined SHIELD after the Ultimate Enemy series, and after Peter's death she gave Miles Morales his new costume. She has since assisted Miles during the "Divided We Fall" event, and acted as his cynical superhero tutor. Both of them started a superhero group, the All-New Ultimates.

  • Adaptational Superpower Change: Mainstream Jessica has different powers from Peter, but as this version is an Opposite-Sex Clone of Peter, she has the same powers as Peter (apart from the unique to her ability to shoot organic webbing from her fingertips).
  • Almost Kiss: When she sees Kitty Pryde is safe during Ultimatum, Jessica throws her arms around her and looks like she's about to kiss Kitty in relief, but the understandably shocked Shadowcat phases through her.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear whether she survived the destruction of the Ultimate Universe alongside the rest of Miles' main supporting cast. A version of her was seen in Web Warriors, but it's left unclear whether she was from Earth-1610 or Earth-61610. It's revealed in Spider-Men II that a version of her lives in a restored Ultimate Universe still as Black Widow III and as a member of the Ultimates.
  • Anger Born of Worry: She has a big problem with this for Miles.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Her name and super-hero title were both intended to be her names as a CIA agent. She kept them after making a break for it.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Particularly for Johnny Storm, much to Peter's distress.
  • Badass Gay: Sorry, Johnny... Jess has come out as a lesbian, which isn't all that surprising considering she's the gender-flipped clone of a heterosexual male. This in no way diminishes her ability to kick ass.
  • Berserk Button: Wearing a replica of Peter's costume really was in bad taste, Miles.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The reason she was being a total asshat to Miles was because she was feeling intensely protective towards him and had no clue how to apply that beyond insulting him. She completely ignored her own objectives to try to keep Miles safe, though that usually ended up inhibiting his battlefield performance.
    • She also did not like the fact that Miles willingly joined the Ultimates and enlisted in war because what Miles was involving himself into was far larger in scale than anything either Peter or Jessica have faced. After the battle, she tells Miles that while she wants him to succeed and learn from Peter and her mistakes, she felt that the Civil War was essentially a stupid war in which no one would learn anything from.
    • She extends this to Bombshell as well as she deliberately tries to teach her what it means to be a hero.
  • Child Soldiers: Given she was created with the express purpose of being a CIA agent, she juuuuust barely squeaks into this one, physically being around her late teens. Chronologically speaking, she wouldn't even have been one.
  • Civvie Spandex: Her Black Widow costume comes with a leather jacket.
  • Cloning Blues: This is a defining conflict for her. She doesn't have parents, and was created for the interest of science, as well as a madman's attempt to pervert every aspect of his enemy's life. She has memories of Peter Parker, but at the same time insists that she is not Peter Parker. She goes out her way to avoid being associated with anything related to Peter Parker, including Peter's friends and family and even alias (which is why she refused to take up the mantle after Peter's death and Miles' short retirement) and does everything she can to shy away from that identity. This leads her to go as far as dropping the identity of Spider-Woman and become Black Widow.
  • Coming-Out Story: Ultimate Jessica Drew revealed that she was gay in All-New Ultimates, ending years of speculation by fans. Her main complex about it was that since she was a clone of Peter Parker (who is straight), she couldn't tell if she shared the same attraction because she shared his genes. Heck, they both liked the same type of women: redheads and/or Jewish.
  • Composite Character: While she's uses the name "Jessica Drew", this version is basically a Gender Flip of Ben Reilly. Her costume also evokes Julia Carpenter and she even used Julia's name as an alias.
  • Cowboy Cop: Of SHIELD. She conducted her own investigation of Roxxon without any authorization from SHIELD, deputized four other super powered teenagers, and shut down Roxxon and his minions down knowing that SHIELD has ties to them. When called out by Monica Chang, she just pointed out that SHIELD probably would not want to deal with a corporation that kidnapped and experimented on kids.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As expected from a clone of Peter, but realizing that it is a character trait associated with Peter, she seems to not do it as much as him.
  • Determinator: She conducted recon on Roxxon for 32 days straight and even when the investigation became nearly fatal, she did not stop trying to bring the company down. She waited an entire year to finally get revenge on Roxxon and is adamant to wipe out every Roxxon funded operation they had even after she got the President of the company arrested.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • As Spider-Woman, whether her costume is black or red, and the exact dimensions of the white chest insignia depends on who is drawing her.
    • As Black Widow, the size of her chest insignia depends on who's drawing her. She's also upped a couple of cup sizes in Scarlet Spiders.
  • Dynamic Entry: How she "introduces" herself to Miles.
  • Friend on the Force: Miles Morales, Cloak, Dagger and Bombshell are just teenagers with powers and good intentions. Jessica has powers and also the training and clearance of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, so she works as their "big sister" of sorts. Although S.H.I.E.L.D. was disbanded after Cataclysm, her training and expertise was the reason she was elected leader of the All-New Ultimates.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: She mentions to Ben and Kaine that she had to fight naked once, and demands to get her costume back so she doesn't have to relive the experience.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Going AWOL to put a stop to Roxxon makes her think that she has been kicked off the Ultimates. Of course, all this does is have the other members of the Ultimates ask if they can get fired or if they are even getting paid for this.
  • Going Commando: Scarlet Spiders #1 reveals that she's naked underneath her costume, leading to some awkward moments with Ben Reilly, who is also naked under his costumes. She didn't mind changing in front of Miles, but that was when they were under attack from Verna.
  • Healing Factor: Spider-Woman was drugged, but her advanced molecular makeup allowed her to survive it. She had to be hospitalized, but anyone else would have died.
  • Important Haircut: She cuts her hair short when she changes her codename from Spider-Woman to Black Widow.
  • Improbable Age: She was deputized as a SHIELD agent when she was approximately 16. Peter was told he had to wait until he was 18 to join. They changed their policy about teen super heroes after what happened to Peter Parker.
  • Kid Hero: She's biologically seventeen, but isn't even two years old according to Scarlet Spiders #1.
  • The Leader: Jessica Drew formed the Young Ultimates team and has legal authority from SHIELD to command the team how she sees fit. She has the most experience of the group and she seems to like encouraging her teammates, especially when they do well.
  • Legacy Character: She becomes the third Black Widow.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: She revealed that she was gay - with a preference for "natural redheads" and "Jewish girls" - in All-New Ultimates, ending years of speculation by fans. Her main complex about it was that since she was a clone of Peter Parker (who is straight), she couldn't tell if she shared the same attraction because she shared his genes and memories.
  • Most Common Superpower: Justified, possibly due to puberty. As the 15 year-old Spider-Woman, Jess was fairly flat-chested and was once derided as a cheap Spider-Man knockoff with a B-cup by Bombshell. As the 17 year-old Black Widow, she seems to have gone up a cup size or two, especially in Spider-Verse, but in some other appearances is still flat-chested.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Of Peter Parker. They're both really weirded out by it. Jess' case is weirder due to having Peter's memories right up until the genes that led to her creation were obtained, so in a way, she is what would happen if you somehow managed to literally turn Spider-Man into a girl one random day.
  • Poor Communication Kills: She is really, really bad about this.
    • Her first encounter with Peter ended with her attacking him (though granted, she wasn't in good condition at the time).
    • She also attacks Miles before trying figure out who or what he is.
    • When she and Miles are dispatched with the rest of the Ultimates to fight in the Civil War, she waits until five minutes before they intercept the Hydra army to tell Hawkeye she wants to do her own thing.
    • When she's forced to follow orders and partner with Miles, she spends the entire fight alternately insulting him or throwing him around—her aim seems to be to protect him, but again, she didn't try to persuade Miles to not fight until the fighting actually began.
    • When she and Miles have made up, Miles continues to ask her why she's so interested in him and what exactly their connection is; as may be obvious, she defers telling him until she's ready, only saying vaguely that it's nothing bad about him.
    • Continues to have these problems as the leader of the Ultimates. She enlists Kitty Pryde as a member of the group without asking if she even wanted to or if she was even interested. Kitty could not deny it because doing so in the situation would take away the gravitas of the new guard stepping up and it was at Captain America's funeral.
    • When she is trying to convince Miles to take up the mantle again, she brings up his mother which only serves to piss Miles off.
  • Related in the Adaptation: This Jessica is a clone of Peter.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against Roxxon. She kept tabs on them for a total of two years in comic book time and researched every member of the evil corporation as well as every research project they've done. It should be noted that while Peter Parker was alive, he was suspicious of Roxxon, but never paid much attention to them. Jessica Drew has made it her life's mission to bring them down.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Drops being an agent of SHIELD and a member of the Ultimates when she found out that Roxxon sent mercenaries to attack Bombshell despite knowing that SHIELD has a contract with Roxxon.
  • Ship Tease:
    • With Johnny Storm, much to Peter's disgust and horror.
    • With Kitty Pryde in the finale issue of vol 1, and again in All New Ultimates.
  • Shoo the Dog: Her hostile behavior towards Miles is her attempt at this.
  • Sibling Team: With the original Spider-Man, and since she's kinda his twin sister it makes them Brother–Sister Team.
  • Superpower Lottery: Same as Peter's, but with a few differences, namely that she shoots her webs from her fingertips rather than her wrists, and they are not mechanical.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Has come into her own in Volume 3, being Miles' overseer in SHIELD and leader of the new Ultimates.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She hasn't been seen since the end of Ultimate Spider-Man, leading to fans concerns she was erased with the rest of Earth-1610. It's revealed at the end of Spider-Men II that a version of her lives in a restored Ultimate universe alongside Ultimate Peter Parker and the Ultimates.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: She berates Miles on a regular basis.
  • White Sheep: Her "brothers" were all either deformed, insane, or deformed and insane.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Much like Peter she is a big fan of this. However, as she's trying to escape that association, she tones down the snark and becomes more serious in fights.

    Julia Carpenter 

Julia Carpenter
The second Spider-Woman is a mother named Julia Carpenter. She first appeared in Secret Wars #6-7 (October-November, 1984), created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck. She mostly appeared in team books, but was the star of Spider-Woman vol. 2, a 4-issue mini-series (November, 1993-February, 1994).

Carpenter got tricked into entering a program to create a superhero, under the guise of "Athletic Study", and was accidentally injected with a different spider serum, granting her super strength, wall-climbing and the ability to project psychic webbing from her fingerprints. She was given the identity of Spider-Woman by the Commission on Superhuman Activities, although she preferred "Arachne" (suggestion overruled). Her first major involvement was the Crossover event Secret Wars, in which she met Spider-Man and gave him the inspiration of the design for his Alien Symbiote black suit (which would later become known as Venom). She was then roped into joining the newly-formed Freedom Force (Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, pardoned and given a government sanction, although other heroes would be added to the roster). Julia didn't make any friends on the team, however, when she helped free the Avengers from the Vault after the Force had arrested them on trumped-up charges. However, instead of locking her up, CSA director Valerie Cooper (Julia's college friend, who'd been responsible for turning her into Spider-Woman) gave her a second chance to serve her country, although she'd be officially classified as a rogue agent. Julia eventually got caught up with the West Coast Avengers, joining that team and severing her ties with the CSA. While with the Avengers, she was caught in a conflict with the criminal trio Deathweb, whose powers were derived from the same source as Julia's, and whom she defeated when they threatened her daughter Rachel and her parents. Soon afterward, when the Avengers shut down the West Coast branch, she joined Iron Man's new team, Force Works, but after that team folded, she retired from superhero activity to continue raising Rachel.

The retirement, however was cut short when she, along with Jessica, was attacked by Charlotte Witter, and she was rendered wheelchair-bound. However, she still took a resistance and mentored the 3rd Spider-Woman, Mattie Franklin. Some time later, she was involved with the Civil War, joining Iron Man's Pro-Registration side, and taking the name "Arachne", but eventually she reveals that she was The Mole for the Anti-Registration side. Before she could change sides, however, she was beaten down by Ms. Marvel and was forcefully separated from Rachel as her punishment. The loss of Rachel caused Julia to nearly slip into insanity; she broke out of the prison in the Negative Zone, and went to Colorado to search for Rachel. In a fit of rage, she attacked a superpowered girl named Arana, but her instability cost her victory and she was beaten, whereas she met Ms. Marvel again who apologized and promised to search for Rachel. But despite doing so, and even the success of reuniting with Rachel, it was clear that the friendship between Julia and Carol was strained.

Julia eventually moved to Canada and joined Omega Flight. She would end up unused for a while, until the Spider-Man story arc Grim Hunt, in which she was captured by Kraven the Hunter, who wanted to destroy every trace of the Spider family. Julia ended up being picked as the successor of Madame Web and the process of the inheritance made her blind. She eventually passed on her Arachne costume to Arana.

Julia has appeared in other media besides the Marvel comics:

Video Games

Western Animation

Tropes for Julia

  • Action Mom: Harm Rachel at your own risk.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Julia goes around with orange hair, red hair or blonde, depending on who drew her.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: To her father during and after Civil War, as he considers her bringing war to his frontyard, forbids Julia from visiting Rachel to give Rachel a normal life (not helped that she lost Rachel's custody to him since she was arrested and is legally forbidden to visit her without his permission), and calls the police when Julia does visit Rachel unwelcomed and then takes Rachel away from her.
  • Astral Projection: As Madame Web, she has ability to project her consciousness outside her body and travel.
  • Blind Seer: As Madame Web she's blind, but can see along the strands of the Web of Life to predict the future.
  • Break the Cutie: In Civil War, she's given a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Ms. Marvel and arrested right in front of her daughter.
  • Civvie Spandex: As Madame Web and after she gave her old costume to Anya Corazón, Julia wears new spandex costume which is covered with either a Badass Longcoat or shorter trenchcoat, such as this.
  • Cool Shades: After she became Madame Web, she wears sunglasses most of the time.
  • Costume Copycat: Inverted. It was Spider-Man who copied her costume when he needed a new one in Secret Wars.note 
  • Happily Married: Averted. Her husband doesn't take her superhero career well, and they were eventually divorced. He's eventually killed by Deathweb.
  • Healing Factor: Julia is able to recover from mild to moderate injuries somewhat faster and more efficiently than an ordinary human. She is capable of fully healing on her own in a matter of days that would require an ordinary human to undergo surgery. Julia is also physically immune to all known types of poisons.
  • Insistent Terminology: Call Julia Spider-Woman or Spider-Girl after she gets to use her intended alias, and she'll correct you that "It's Arachne."
  • Legacy Character: Julia gave her old costume to Anya so she can continue her superheroing as Spider-Girl, as Julia succeeds the late Madame Web.
  • Mama Bear: Harming Julia's daughter means you put a "Please Kick Me" sign on your butt.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Similar to Jessica, Julia usually wears a wears a very formfitting costume that highlights her very voluptuous yet muscular body, large breasts, broad shoulders and long toned yet shapely legs.
  • Most Common Superpower: Just like with Jessica, Julia has some very buxom breasts.
  • Psychic Powers: Her webbing is psychokinetic. As Madame Web, she has ability to perceive aspects of the future, sensitivity to psychic energies in her environment allows her to see her immediate area and events taking place far away, teleportation, and telepathy: ability to read minds and project thoughts.
  • She's Got Legs: Just like Jessica, Julia (especially in her original black and white costume) is not only has a very voluptuous yet muscular body, but she also has very long toned yet shapely legs. This trope is even lampshaded by Rhodey Rhodes (when he was Iron-Man) when he was checking her out during the Secret War.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Julia during her stint with Freedom Force. She was also the Token Good Teammate, at least until they added Crimson Commando, Stonewall and Super Sabre to the team.
  • Teleportation: Just like the original Madame Web, she can teleport herself to any location.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When the heroes construct a Spider-Sense jammer to cut off the Queen from the mutated New Yorkers, they cut off Julia's precognition in the process. She teleports in, verbally lambastes them for doing so, then teleports away leaving them confused.

    Martha "Mattie" Franklin 

Martha "Mattie" Franklin

Debut: The Spectacular Spider-Man #262 (1998)

The third Spider-Woman is less known and more into the mythos of Spider-Man. Martha "Mattie" Franklin (2 o'clock on the top picture, don't worry, she got her own distinctive costume later) is the niece of J. Jonah Jameson, who thinks Spider-Man is cool. Mattie first appeared in Spectacular Spider-Man #262 (November, 1998), created by John Byrne and Rafael Kayanan. She assumed the Spider-Woman identity in Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #5 (May, 1999).

Mattie attended the Gathering of Five - a mystical ceremony that bestows the five people gathered with power, insanity, immortality, knowledge, or death - in place of her father, giving her super-powers when she was chosen to receive power. Later, Spider-Man had a 10-Minute Retirement, so Mattie donned a costume similar to his and called herself Spider-Woman, taking his place in crime-fighting. Spider-Man realized this and helped her a bit after he returned. Initially arrogant and dismissive towards Spider-Man, Mattie later attempted to initiate a romantic relationship with him when Mary Jane was assumed dead, but was turned down.

Mattie became the star of Spider-Woman Vol. 3, which lasted for 18 issues (July, 1999 - December, 2000). Charlotte Witter made regular appearances as an opponent for Mattie, who defeated her by absorbing her powers and those of the other Spider-Women. With the blessing of Jessica Drew, Mattie officially took up the mantle of Spider-Woman, but her life took a dark and depressing swerve. She briefly appeared in Jessica Jones's comic Alias, where it was revealed that her boyfriend was drugging her to harvest Mutant Growth Hormone from her body, and was rescued by Jones and Jessica Drew and returned to her uncle. Becoming an amateur detective, Mattie took it upon herself to investigate the Slingers, a group of four superheroes wearing the costumes Spider-Man had once used to clear his name. When she was caught by Ricochet, she had sex with him in order to waylay his suspicions, an act she later regretted.

She was listed as a potential recruit for the Initiative during the Civil War, but the next time Mattie appeared was during the Grim Hunt arc, and she was less lucky than the rest. She was one of the first characters sacrificed by the Kravinoffs, with her dying words being a message to Madame Webb, to tell Spider-Man she forgave him for not saving her and not to blame himself for her death.


  • All Your Powers Combined: Mattie absorbed Charlotte Witter's powers, as well as those of Jessica Drew and Julia Carpenter.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Possibly inspired by Jessica Jones, Mattie Franklin investigated the Slingers for a while.
  • Ascended Fangirl: In contrast to her uncle, Martha was a Spider-Man fangirl. After teaming up with him she initially deems him to be a Broken Pedestal, but she later comes to respect and admire him again.
  • Back for the Dead: After being absent for much of the 2000's, Mattie came back for the Grim Hunt arc, where she was sacrificed by Sasha Kravinoff to resurrect her son Vladimir. It backfired and Vlad was resurrected as a leonine monster.
  • Back from the Dead. In Silk she's cloned by New U in Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy. She succumbs to cellular degeneration after saving Silk from Carrion-virus afflicted clones, a la Ben Reilly.
  • Combat Stilettos: Mattie wore a set of high heels in one of her many outfits.
  • Costume Copycat: Her first costume was a version of Peter's red-and-blues without the webbing pattern.
  • Costume Evolution: Mattie went through multiple costumes, starting with a version of Spider-Man's without the webbing motif and finishing with a black uniform with a stylized red spider-emblem and underarm webbing.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: At the end of Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy, she sacrifices herself to save Silk and dies in Cindy Moon's arms, crumbling to dust.
  • Flying Brick: Martha's original powerset to an unknown level sans the spider-powers, until she got them.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: We never saw Jameson or Marla's initial reactions to Mattie's death; the former never even referenced it until Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy and the Go Down Swinging arc, both of which came out around a decade after Mattie's murder.
  • Hand Blast: She can shoot bolts of crimson energy from her hands, derived from Jessica Drew's powerset.
  • Heroic Seductress: Mattie ends up playing this card when Ricochet catches her digging through his apartment as part of her secret investigation into the Slingers, having sex with him to waylay his suspicions. After leaving the team, she says she regrets this.
  • Hopeless Suitor: In The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #14, Mattie tries to take advantage of Mary Jane's apparent death to seduce Peter despite the age difference between them - with Peter being in his 20's and Mattie being 15. It doesn't work, but the cover shows her yanking his mask off to initiate a Forceful Kiss.
  • Human Sacrifice: She's turned into one by the Kravinoff family in order to resurrect Vladimir Kravinoff, the Grim Hunter.
  • Kid Hero: Like her idol Spider-Man, Mattie was 15 when she got her powers.
  • Leotard of Power: One of her costumes was a purple leotard with a spider emblem on the chest, gloves, and high-heel shoes.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: She gets into a fight with Silkworm, but after bonding over their shared suspicions over New-U and closeness to J. Jonah Jameson, they become friends.
  • Spider Limbs: Originally belonging to Charlotte Witter, Martha possessed four psionic spider-legs growing from her back. Having them grown out was their natural state, but Martha could conceal them in her back with concentration, though this left her with feelings of pressure. On occasion, Martha was shown firing brilliant bursts of energy from the legs that left her enemies stunned.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Mattie went through nine costumes before settling on one.

    Charlotte Witter 

Charlotte Witter

Debut: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #5 (1999)

The granddaughter of Madame Webb, Charlotte Witter was a fashionista with connections to the black market. This got her involved with Doctor Octopus, who abducted her and experimented on her to activate her latent psychic abilities. Tortured into being his slave, Charlotte stole the abilities of Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter, and Mattie Franklin, before being sent to kill Spider-Man. She succeeded in capturing him, but he escaped. Charlotte was defeated by the three depowered Spider-Woman and her powers were drained by Mattie Franklin. Charlotte was placed in the care of her grandmother, who foiled her attempts to assassinate Spider-Man using her connection to Mattie's new spider-legs and returned her powers to dormancy. Charlotte hasn't been heard from again.

  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Although Charlotte wasn't a saint to begin with as she's also involved with black markets, what really drives her into villainy is Doctor Octopus conditioning her through torture, sensory deprivation, and starvation until she obeyed his every command so long as he provided her with a steady diet of human blood. She initially refused his order and even attempted to kill him.
  • Blood Lust: Thanks to Otto's torture and conditioning, Charlotte has an almost vampiric thirst for blood.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Charlotte's power has been absorbed by Mattie, and what little power she had left was suppressed by her grandmother. She's not dead, but she's never been heard again afterwards.
  • Combat Stilettos: Charlotte's boots are high-heeled.
  • Dark Action Girl: Charlotte is a villainous Spider-Woman.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Charlotte was just a fashion designer and practitioner of black markets until Doc Ock kidnapped her and conducted genetic testing using spider DNA, altering her physical appearance and transforming her into a spider-human hybrid.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: Charlotte's costume.
  • Leotard of Power: Charlotte is easily the least modest of all Spider-Women.
  • Mind Rape: Charlotte can hypnotize males using eye contact.
  • Opera Gloves: Charlotte wears green ones on both of her arms.
  • Power Parasite: Charlotte can absorb the powers of other Spider-Women, until Mattie Franklin absorbed all her powers and the powers she had absorbed.
  • Psychic Powers: Charlotte has strands of psionic force that could be woven into adhesive "psi-webs" and psionic spider legs that emanated from her back. She also has inherent precognitive abilities, telepathy and psionic detection.
  • She's Got Legs: Charlotte, thanks to her outfit of choice.
  • Shock and Awe: Charlotte has ability to generate bio-electric "venom blasts", stolen from Jessica Drew.

    Anya Corazon 

Anya Corazón

Debut: Amazing Fantasy Vol. 2 #1 (2004)

While not starting out as a member of the Spider-Family, Anya was a member of the mystical part of the Spider Society and usually acted as their hunter under the alias Araña (Spanish for "spider"). However, a crossover with Spider-Man eventually made her renounce her allegiance and pursue her own path.

She was amongst the Pro-Registration heroes in the Civil War, acting as Carol Danvers' Tagalong Kid, and while questioning her worst moments, she continued to be on Carol's side, the two helping each other out, despite her father's misgivings. Carol once saved her from the mind control of Puppet Master, solidifying their relations.

Like the rest of the Spider-Family, she wasn't heard from any more until Grim Hunt, where luckily for her, Araña managed to survive the events and helped Spider-Man defeat Kraven. In the aftermath, she was handpicked by Julia Carpenter as the successor of the Arachne suit and becomes Spider-Girl as Julia succeeds the late Madame Web.

    Cindy Moon 

Cindy Moon

Debut: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #1 (2014)

Cindy Moon was introduced to the Marvel Universe in the Amazing Spider-Man #1 Volume 3 as part of the Original Sin event. In it, it was revealed that the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker, also bit a young Cindy Moon before it died. After being bit, her powers manifested and she was unable to control them until she was taught by Spider-Man ally, Ezekiel Sims. After receiving warning that Spider-Man foe Morlun was about to start his biggest hunt ever, she was placed into a bunker for most of her life hiding until being freed by Spider-Man. After Morlun is defeated, Cindy becomes a hero much like Spider-Man and starred in her own comic series, mainly taking Peter's place as a street level hero and dealing with her personal life and finding her family whom she lost contact with while she was in the bunker.

And even though she's the closest Distaff Counterpart of Spider-Man (same powers except stronger Spider-Sense and organic webbing, even bitten by the same spider), she doesn't go by Spider-Woman, ironically.

    Gwen Stacy 

Gwen Stacy

Debut: Edge of Spider-Verse #2 (2014)

Nope, not that one. Introduced as part of 2014's Spider-Verse crossover event through one of the tie-in anthology stories, this Spider-Woman was created by Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, and Rico Renzi. In the Alternate Universe of Earth-65, Peter Parker was never bitten by the radioactive spider, but his best friend and neighbor Gwen Stacy was. Similarly to the main Marvel universe's Peter, she first used her powers for profit, using her abilities to bolster her music aspirations, before a snide comment from her father about the female webslinger pushed her into vigilantism. Meanwhile, Peter tries to be more like Spider-Woman so Gwen would no longer have to protect him, becoming the Lizard and going on a rampage. After Gwen subdues him, Peter ends up dying in her arms after turning back to normal, as her toying with him during the fight allowed more time for the poisonous Lizard serum to damage his organs to an extent reverting back didn't fix. The event ingrains Gwen with the desire to become a better hero so something like that will never happen again, made a little difficult with Spider-Woman now being seen a fugitive by the people of New York and a possible asset by criminal organizations like The Hand.

Gwen would go on to receive her own ongoing series following the events of Spider-Verse where she deals with all these problems and more, alongside the occasional multidimensional adventure that came as a result of her also being a member of the Web Warriors. Following the Spider-Geddon event, Gwen would begin fighting crime outside her native dimension more often, using the alias "Ghost-Spider" when doing so.


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