Who Is Spider-Woman? The Superhuman Highly Skilled And Smart Arachnid
Spider-Woman, or Jessica Drew, is one of the oldest Marvel characters born in the 1970s. The company intended to increase the number of female characters for the time. At that time, it was necessary to attract the attention of new readers.
Thus was born Spider-Woman, by the hand of Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin, turning out to be the most current version of Spider-Man. Today, Jessica Drew is considered one of Marvel’s most notable and influential heroines. Not for nothing did she make her debut in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, surprising fans with her freshness.
Who is Spider-Woman?
Image: Marvel Comics
Spider-Woman appears for the first time in Marvel Spotlight #32 in 1977. There she started her own regular series with the same name that lasted 50 issues. Her first version shows a little girl who became seriously ill due to long exposure to uranium.
Her father saved her, injecting her with an experimental serum based on spiders’ blood, thus initiating a strange healing process. She is suspended in time, and when she returns, she realizes she possesses extraordinary, superhuman powers.
The biography of Spider-Woman is quite interesting; we tell you about it.
The origins of Spider-Woman go back to a girl named Jessica Drew, of English nationality. Her father was a famous geneticist, Johnatan Drew, an American, and her mother was Merriam, a British national.
Before the child was two years old, they moved to the Balkan region of Transia. Her father would work side by side with the scientist Hebert Wyndham. Who today is known as the High Evolutionary.
The locality had the peculiarity of high uranium concentrations in the mountains. This would allow the scientist couple to facilitate the economic resources. Thus, they could build a facility for their research and experiments.
These were focused on searching for innovations and advances in genetics and cell regeneration. Unfortunately, however, Jessica became seriously ill from being in contact with uranium radiation for too long.
Her desperate father, to save his daughter’s life, injected her with an experimental serum based on the diverse properties of spider blood. This was because he had previously discovered these insects’ regenerative and immunological capacity and sought to reduce the radiation’s effects.
Subsequently, the girl was placed in a genetic accelerator, which the High Evolutionary designed to accelerate the process. But, the result was not as expected, Marvel slowed Jessica’s development, and she was kept alive for decades thanks to cryopreservation.
Her mother educated her through recordings; her mother died on that journey. So her father moved to the United States, and Wyndham cared for her. When he considered that the radiation would not affect her, he released her from her state of suspended animation.
Thus, Jessica was a corporeally developed young woman of only 14 years of age, but mentally she was still a child, inexperienced. She realized she had developed powers due to her strange healing process, which she had to master.
To do so, Wyndham assigned her an artificially evolved nanny named Bova. After a year, the former Wundagore Citadel left Earth. But Jessica and Bova were left behind.
Image: Marvel Comics
When Jessica reached 17, her nanny sent her to her village so that she could learn to live among humans. She meets Wladislaw, a young native with whom Jessica begins a relationship.
As she is in the process of mastering the powers discovered, she accidentally, apparently, kills her lover. This happened when Wladislaw’s father discovered them, and as they were giving each other a passionate embrace, he unintentionally fired a few shocks.
The crazed town went into a mob against Jessica. She flees in terror from the angry humans. Count Otto Vermis, the leader of HYDRA at the time, was rescuing her.
HYDRA was a European organization that recruited characters like Jessica. Vermis immediately recognized the young woman’s extraordinary abilities. So he trained her in martial arts and espionage.
Jessica becomes a special agent of this organization. As loyalty was required, Vermis subjected her to various brainwashing techniques, making her believe she was an artificially evolved spider.
She was assigned an agent named Jard so that she could be in contact. She was given a combat suit and assumed the pseudonym Arachne. The first mission assigned to her was to assassinate Nick Fury, who was at the time the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Jessica discovers the intentions of the organization she belongs to, so she betrays it and runs away. She then assumes the name of Spider-Woman. At the same time, she coincides with Modred the Mystic, who helped her to disappear from the effects of the brainwashing.
Search for Identity
Now that Jessica is aware that she is human genetically altered, she begins a search for her parents. On the way, she stumbles upon Magnus, a spirit that had possessed her father long ago and now inhabited an eccentric tailor.
To repay the debt he owed her father, Magnus decides to help Jessica. Thus, they travel together to Los Angeles. There they discover that a dissident organization related to Pyrotechnis Inc. murdered Drew had some time ago.
Jessica sets out to capture her father’s killers, and after capturing them, she decides to reside in Los Angeles. There she begins to face numerous enemies, among them the Sorceress Morgana Le Fey, from the 6th century.
Realizing that he is becoming too emotionally involved with Jessica, Magnus decides to leave the body he occupies and returns to London. This situation caused Jessica, for a while, to begin to doubt her powers and what her life mission was.
For Jessica, being Spider-Woman generated a sense of freedom with which she felt comfortable. Therefore, she tried to protect the heroine’s identity. After some time, and already associated with Scott McDowell, criminology, she became publicly known as a bounty hunter.
Image: Marvel Comics
Thanks to Nick Fury, Jessica moved to San Francisco and obtained her license and credentials as a private investigator. For her clients, she was Jessica Drew; she only used her other identity as Spider-Woman occasionally.
After a year, she received an unexpected visit from Magnus, but in ghostly form. He urgently needed to explain to her that her nemesis, Morgana LeFay, was planning to assassinate her.
To eradicate this threat, Magnus proposes to Jessica to travel back in time to the original time of the sorceress to fight with her. So, Magnus transports Spider-Woman to the past, and a pitched battle ensues.
The result of the fight ended with the destruction of the sorceress’ body. But she skillfully managed to separate her astral self to travel to Jessica’s time. In this way, Morgana cast a spell that imposed a mystical barrier over Jessica’s physical self.
Unfortunately, Magnus was not powerful enough to break the barrier. He tries his best to comfort his friend, and she, at her request, asks him to cast a spell so that Spider-Woman will be forgotten. This, however, has no effect.
It is Tigra, a friend of Spider-Woman, who discovers Jessica’s lifeless body. To try to save her, she summons the Avengers. They, in turn, call Doctor Strange, who tried, like Magnus, to break the barrier imposed by Morgana.
This situation led the Avengers to a battle against Morgana’s astral form. How or who caused Jessica to return to her physical form is unknown. But, her nervous system was affected by the temporary neutralization of the bioelectric ability.
Believing that she lost all her powers, Jessica put aside the identity of Spider-Woman and dedicated herself to her work as a private investigator. She worked for a season in San Francisco with Lindsay MacCabe.
The New Avengers
Although Jessica had several interesting missions as a private investigator, she did not like her life as it was. So she founded her own private investigation agency called “Drew Investigations”.
Everything went according to plan until she broke out of the prison La Balsa, designed for super criminals. That made her wear her disguise again, teaming up with several superheroes such as Iron Man, Captain America, Power-Man, and Spider-Man. Wolverine and Ronin, thus giving birth to The New Avengers.
Sometime later, it is discovered that this Spider-Woman was not the original, but a Skrull, who had assumed his identity for the invasion of Earth. During the invasion, the real Jessica joins S.W.O.R.D., invited by Abigail Brand.
The mission of this organization was to eliminate hostile aliens operating on Earth. Then, Jessica becomes a member of the new Secret Avengers to try again to fight to keep the peace.
Spider-Woman’s Powers and Abilities
Jessica Drew becomes Spider-Woman when she discovers all her potentialities, among which stand out:
- Ability to cling to any surface, allowing her to climb buildings.
- Superhuman strength, agility, flexibility and endurance allow her to lift up to seven tons and move faster than any athlete.
- Superhuman hearing ability.
- He can develop bio-electricity, accumulating and launching as discharges against his opponents.
- He possesses a regenerative factor, allowing him to heal wounds quickly.
Unlike other superheroes, Spider-Woman cannot fly but can glide with her body. In addition, after some work experience, she has developed as an excellent hand-to-hand fighter, mastering martial arts.
As if this were not enough, she can speak several languages, which gives her versatility. She trained as a detective and has collaborated with some of the best in Marvel.
Versions of Spider-Woman in Other Media
Spider-Woman, despite not being a new character, her appearances are few and far between. Among the versions of the character in other media, we have:
In the animated television series she has been in:
- Spider-Woman, from 1979, played by Joan Van Ark.
- Once a hero, where she plays a cameo role.
- Saturday Night Live “Superhero Party” of 1979.
Among the films, Spider-Woman appears in:
- Spider-Man: A New Universe, animated film.
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, released in 2023. Issa Rae performs the voice, presenting a pregnant African-American version.
In video games, Spider-Woman appears almost always as a playable character in:
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Tasia Valenza.
- Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, voiced by Elizabeth Daily.
- Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, voiced by Grey DeLisle.
- Facebook Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Marvel Heroes (Non-playable character).
- Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Kari Wahlgren.
- Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced by Laura Bailey.
- Marvel Avengers Academy, voiced by Kiernan Shipka.
- Lego Marvel Avengers.
- Marvel Puzzle Quest.
- Marvel Future Fight.
- Marvel Snap.
The Fantastic Female Version of Spider-Man
Image: Marvel Comics
Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) appears in the movie Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse, currently in theaters. A few days after its release, the movie is already considered one of the best-animated movies ever made.
Jessica’s character has a prominent role in the movie. She appears as one of the greatest Spider-Man variants and acts as Spider-Gwen’s mentor. In the film, she’s pregnant, and we presume that the child is Gerald Drew, her son in the comics. With the third part, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, we will learn who this child is.
To summarise, Spider-Woman is among the most successful Spider-Versions. She earned her own place in this universe and developed a unique lore which fans loved.
Featured Image Via Marvel Comics