Spider-Woman: Who is the Mother of Spiders?

Does Whatever a Spider-Man Can… In Heels and Backwards

Spider-Woman: I went to Hail Hydra High School and Nick Fury University. Everyone I’ve ever dated has super powers (except Hawkeye). I’ve been extraordinary my entire life. And after all these years of insanity… a little ordinary sounds pretty #&%^ great.”

Spider-Woman #3 (2014)

A woman creeps along a dark office hallway. Evidence proving the company’s corruption is in the file folders she’s holding. She turns a corner and is blinded. A startled voice orders her to stop. Her vision returns as the building guard lowers his flashlight to call for backup. Not good. She’d normally be down to scrap, but this isn’t the time.

A yellow-green flash flies from the woman’s hand. The guard is knocked backwards and crumples to the floor, moaning loudly. She runs, listening as the other guard searches for her. Exiting the building, she sees a parked taxi. Perfect. She rushes to the door and lets out a groan.

Hospital! Please, the baby’s coming!

The driver steps on the gas as a guard rushes out of the building. “First time you’ve come in handy,” Spider-Woman thinks as she places a hand on her swollen belly.

Spider-Woman is one of Marvel’s leading heroines. She’s been a spy, an Avenger, and recently added single mother to her resume. So who is she? How did she get her powers? Does she have any connection to Spider-Man? Let’s find out.

Radioactive Spider: Spider-Woman’s Backstory

Spider-Woman: Congratulations, Wolverine. You are no longer the most screwed-over human in the history of the entire world.

Agent of sword #1

Spider-Woman debuted in Marvel Spotlight #32 in 1977. She was created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin. Marvel created her to lock-in the copyright because Filmation was planning to make their own “Spider Woman” show. 

Jessica Drew was the daughter of a brilliant scientist. The Drew family moved to Mount Wundagore so Dr. Drew could work with The High Evolutionary. Jessica suffered radiation poisoning after being exposed to uranium. To cure her, Dr. Drew injected his daughter with a spider-based serum and placed her into an evolution machine.

Jessica recovered and grew up among High Evolutionary’s half-animal subjects. She was ostracized by them and eventually left to rejoin civilization. Unfortunately, superstitious townspeople branded Jessica a witch when she developed superpowers. Several misadventures led her to join Hydra under her mistaken impression that they were a humanitarian group. They brainwashed Jessica, trained her as an infiltrator, and gave her the code name Spider-Woman.

Secret Invasion: Spider-Woman’s History

Spider-Woman:Now all I gotta do is Spy-der-Woman my way inside… and snatch up the pertinent intel.”

Spider-Woman #2 (2015)

Spider-Woman was ordered to assassinate Nick Fury and attacked the Helecarrier. He explained to her that Hydra were terrorists and helped weaken the brainwashing, but enough remained to leave Jessica swinging between hero and villain for years. She eventually overcame the manipulation and joined S.H.I.E.L.D. to atone for her crimes.

Spider-Woman also served as an Avenger and befriended Captain Marvel. She also met Spider-Man and earned his blessing to use the Spider-Woman codename. Jessica later met a fangirl named Mattie Franklin with similar powers and trained her as a protégé.

Jessica was kidnapped and impersonated by Veranke, Queen of the Skrulls. Her friends didn’t realize she’d been replaced and Spider-Woman became the face of the Skrull invasion. She was eventually saved and joined S.W.O.R.D. to hunt the Skrulls.

A New Life: Spider-Woman’s Modern Stories

Jessica:It’s not that I’m heartless or cold. I like grown people. I like baby animals. I watch that bouncing internet goat video, like, three times a week. I just… never wanted to be a mom, you know?

Spider Woman #1 (2015)

Spider-Woman eventually tired of the fast-paced Avengers life and quit. She returned to street-level heroics, joined by reporter Ben Urich and a former supervillain called Porcupine.

Jessica paused heroics while pregnant. Her friends speculated on the father’s identity, but she eventually told Captain Marvel that it was a sperm donor. Spider-Woman’s son was born in an alien maternity ward during a Die Hard-esque incident. She struggled as a single mom of a child with her powers, but found her footing with help from her friends.

Back to Basics: Spider-Woman’s Powers and Personality

Spider-Woman:You have your normal… and I have mine. This is what I wanted. Old school. Street level. Helping the innocent by hospitalizing the guilty.”

Spider-Woman #5 (2015)

Spider-Woman has superhuman strength, speed, durability, and can wall-crawl. Unlike Spider-Man, she can manipulate bio-electricity to fly and fire lasers called Venom Blasts. Spider-Woman constantly and unconsciously produces pheromones that influence everyone around her, though she doesn’t like this trait.

Jessica Drew is an expert martial artist, spy, and detective. She may be the toughest Avenger because she annihilated an army of Skrulls moments after an emergency C-section without anesthesia.

Jessica often feels isolated because of her past. Whether she’s a human in the High Evolutionary’s lab, an ex-Hydra agent, or impersonated by Veranke, something always made her an outsider. Spider-Woman is supportive of her friends and the first to physically defend them. Becoming a mother has only heightened those instincts.

The Actors Who Play Spider-Woman

Joan Van Ark – Spider-Woman
Issa Rae – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Didya Get All That?

A spider weaving her web around the Marvel Universe.

Image: Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse © & ™ 2023 MARVEL. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

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