Spider-Woman Jessica Drew made her first Marvel Comics appearance in an issue of Marvel Spotlight from 1977, and although the character fell out of popularity for a while, she has returned over the past two decades in fantastic stories that highlight her compelling character.

The character had his own self-titled animated series, Spider-Woman, which ran from 1979 to 1980, but she has been largely absent from film adaptations since. This is set to change with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, where Jessica is voiced by Issa Rae. Until then, there are some important aspects of her character that only comic book readers know about.


Updated on January 19, 2023 by Stacie Rook: As Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s June 2023 release date approaches, more information is being revealed about its story and characters, including Spider-Woman Jessica Drew. She can be seen in the film’s first full trailer (via Youtube), where it is revealed that the character is pregnant, drawing from one of her recent comic book stories.

Spider-Woman has 2 origin stories

Spider-Woman has had two separate origin stories in her comic book history, a practice that remains common in the Marvel world as stories are modernized and characters are revisited. Both origins are still somewhat attached to the character.

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The first saw Jessica become seriously ill as a child due to exposure to uranium, leading her father (geneticist Jonathan Drew) to give her an experimental serum containing the blood of irradiated spiders and place her in a genetic accelerator, curing her but also gave her powers. This origin was replaced in the 2006s Spider-Woman origin, who had Jessica’s powers from a scientific incident involving spider DNA when her mother was pregnant with her.

Spider-Woman has history with HYDRA

Spider-Woman training with Hydra

Both of Spider-Woman’s origin stories see the character connected to the villainous organization HYDRA, which she comes into contact with after her parents are gone, missing or otherwise.

In both cases, Jessica is taken into HYDRA ranks under false pretenses, being captured or lied to about their true purpose. She trains in HYDRA for a number of years, developing the fighting skills she will later use as a superhero, before finally escaping the terrorist organization.

Spider-Woman has unique powers

Spider-Woman flexing her muscles comic book cover

Spider-Woman has many of the powers associated with her fellow Spider-Verse heroes, including superhuman strength, endurance, speed and agility, as well as the ability to climb walls.

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These aren’t Jessica’s only powers, as she can also use what she calls “venom blasts”, controlled bursts of bio-electricity that she channels through her hands to stun or otherwise weaken her enemies. Additionally, although she does not have the ability to fly, she can glide through the air, helping her navigate different environments with ease.

Spider-Woman was involved in Secret Invasion

Veranke disguised as Spider Woman in the Secret Invasion comics

Jessica Drew, or at least an imitation of the character, plays a pivotal role in the comics’ story. Secret invasionwho acts as the main villain of the story.

While the real Jessica Drew is captured by the Skrulls in HYDRA, the Skrull Queen Veranke assumes Jessica’s identity and joins the New Avengers. In one of the best Avengers comics of the 2000s, this deception is revealed, kick-starting a worldwide Skrull invasion. When Jessica returns, she joins the New Avengers in earnest, but remains rattled by the damage done in her name.

Spider-Woman and Hawkeye were a couple

Jessica Drew and Clint Barton in the Hawkeye comics

Jessica Drew has had several romances over the decades of her on-the-page life, one of which was with fellow Avenger Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye. The two begin a relationship while being Avengers teammates, during the storyline Fear itself comic event which sees the Asgardian villain, the Serpent, take over the earth, fueled by the fear he generates.

Although the pair are not together for too long and there is temporary friction between them, they are later shown to be friends who still check up on (and hang out with) each other, as shown in one of the best Hawkeye comics, 2012 run by Matt Fraction and David Aja.

Spider-Woman is friends with Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman speak in Marvel comics

Over the past decade or so, Jessica Drew has been one of Carol Danvers’ best friends in Captain Marvel comic book stories, both inside and outside of their superhero careers.

The pair can talk to each other about anything and understand each other’s superpower-related struggles, as well as the complicated stories they share with other teammates. Although they haven’t always seen eye to eye, as shown when Jessica confronted Carol during the events of Civil War IItheir friendship has ultimately remained intact and stronger for the tests it has survived.

Spider-Woman was part of the Spider-Verse event

Spider-Woman uses her Venom Blasts

Serves as inspiration not only for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse but also for aspects of the latest MCU movie Spider-Man: No Way Homethat Spider-Verse comic event brought spider-themed heroes from many realities.

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As part of this, Spider-Woman teamed up with both Silk and Spider-Man Noir in a heroic effort to stop the villain Morlun and his family, the Inheritors. During this time, Spider-Woman had to confront her doppelgänger, who was Morlun’s lover and was able to gather critical information that helped the Spider-Team win their battle. Although successful, this ordeal affected Jessica and ultimately led to her leaving the Avengers.

Spider-Woman has been an Avenger and an agent of SHIELD

Spider-Woman leaps through the air in Marvel comics

Since her debut, Spider-Woman has often been associated with the Avengers, but in addition to having a position on that team’s roster, she’s also been part of several Marvel teams that deserve their own movies.

Aside from her roles as Avengers, New Avengers, and Secret Avengers, Spider-Woman has served as an agent of not only SHIELD, but also SWORD, fighting extraterrestrial threats. In addition to this, she has joined lesser-known teams such as the Lady Liberators, Order of the Web and Strikeforce. Throughout, Jessica has shown that she works well in team-based combat and has put her HYDRA training to good use.

Spider-Woman is a mother

Spider-Woman holds her son in Marvel comics

Jessica Drew is not only confirmed for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, but will also be pregnant in the film. This is inspired by a story that took place in Spider-Woman Vol. 6 solo run by Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, Javier Rodríguez and Álvaro López, which followed Jessica Drew’s journey to becoming a mother.

Although there was initially a lot of buzz both in the world of the story and online from comic book fans about who the baby’s father was, it was revealed that Jessica had gone through the process of artificial insemination to become a parent. The story showed how Jessica’s priorities had changed after years as Spider-Woman, but still showed the hero taking on villains and showing off her talents as much as ever.

Spider-Woman has worn several cool costumes

Jessica Drew in her new costume in Marvel Comics

For most of her comics, Spider-Woman’s outfit has been a tight one-piece bodysuit, and while it’s an iconic look, it’s never seemed like the most practical.

2014 Spider-Woman Vol. 5 solo series gave her a new costume, designed by Kris Anka, consisting of a jacket that can be changed from casual to hero mode with a few clicks, black pants, two-tone gloves and sunglasses that echo the images of her original mask. A seemingly more comfortable and functional outfit ushered in a new age for Spider-Woman, and although she has reused her original costume in later runs, this style added a much-needed modern alternative to Spider-Woman’s collection.

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