Thursday, August 09, 2007

Profile: Spider-Woman 1

Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman 1
First appearance: Marvel Spotlight #32, Feb 1977. She was the daughter of British-born parents(?). She’d fallen victim to a deadly poison while her parents were living on Wundagore Mountain in Europe, the same place where Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were raised following both Magneto and their mother Magda’s disappearances. Her father, a scientist, first tried to save her life by injecting her with an experimental spider serum of his own. But because it didn’t seem to have any real effect, he let the High Evolutionary, Herbert Wyndham, help her by putting her in a special genetic accelerator where she aged at a decelerated rate, emerging little the worse for wear when she was about 17 years old. Lady Bova of the New Men (and Woman) raised her during her first few years in the open on Wundagore.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: when HYDRA was under the leadership of Count Otto Vermis, he captured and brainwashed her in hopes of using her as one of his top minions. He even went so far as to convince her that she wasn’t human but rather, an evolved spider! It was during a mission on which she was told to attack SHIELD that she learned the truth and turned against HYDRA and going back to the good side again. However, she was later recaptured and brainwashed again by the sinister terrorist gang, but freed again after a confrontation with the Thing.

But she was subsequently depowered, following a case where she was stranded on the astral plane following a battle with Morgan Le Fay, and went all but unused for many years, only recently coming back into use again (and before that, there were even two different versions of the character introduced in her stead). Unfortunately, it appears that Joe Quesada’s staff, Brian Michael Bendis included, may have really done whatever they could to ruin her background: during the Civil War crossover, she was written to be a double agent, working for both SHIELD and HYDRA, and even a triple agent working for a crooked agent named Maria Hill.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Nothing wrong with her origin story from the late 70s, since that’s her character development of the time. However, there is something wrong with how she was just depowered and left to gather dust on a shelf for many years. There was a lot more that could’ve been done for her, yet editorial of the mid-80s canned her instead of allowing her potential to be realized fully. Not good. Of all the three Spider-Women there've been in the MCU, Jessica Drew's probably had the most interesting premise, yet they screwed up badly.

And the way Jessica was used during Civil War and other pointless crossovers of recent is a terrible way to bring her back, not allowing for her to develop in any plausible story of her own.


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