Comics : Spider-Woman Origin #1

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This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

With the popularity of the New Avengers title and Spider-Woman being one of the more focused upon characters, Marvel has decided to publish this mini-series retelling Spider-Woman's origin. They have changed it a little. In Spider-Woman Volume 1 #1, Jessica Drew was a young child who developed radiation poisoning and was given a serum that would mix her genetics with that of a spider. She's then exposed to a DNA accelerator's so that her genetics will be able to handle the radiation. Once she comes out of it, she's now no longer a human but not really a spider either. The High Evolutionary pops up and takes her under her wing before she's exposed to Hydra. In this mini-series they change things around a bit making her origin a little less complicated.

In Detail...

Spider-Woman Origin #1
Feb 2006 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Tom Bervoort
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed
Artist:  Johnathan Lumas, Joshua Lumas
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Issue
Review

Wundagore Mountain - 30 years ago, we find a a young women sneaking up on a Spider's web. Using nothing but a small stick and her clear, plastic container she manages to lure the spider off of its web onto the stick and then into the specimen box for the man with her, who is doing research on the spiders - the Wundagore Widow. Walking back up to the large house she says she wants to name her Rebecca. "The spider?" the man asks. Laughing at him, "No, the baby." The cute family scene is disrupted by a helicopter approaching transporting General Wyndham, who appears to be a few days early. With the arrival of General Wyndham we learn that Dr. Drew's assistant is none other than Miles Warren.

The General is impressed with the progress that they have made in the lab as he should be, what with the large amounts of funding he has provided to the doctors but now he needs to see some actual results. Showing the General their new toy, they explain that the DNA compiler, a large laser gun, can splice the DNA of different species' traits into another. They tell how they took some DNA traits from a cold climate inhabiting tick and combined it with the Wundagore Window so that it too would be able to stand colder weather. But as they were showing off the laser, a timer failure happened and a dose of the laser's beam hit the pregnant Mrs. Drew directing to her stomach.

Before the birth of his baby, the doctor can only imagine what has happened to it developing inside his wife. The DNA compiler was suppose to bath the interior of the subject with the DNA sequence, so it was the baby that took the full force of the blast and not Mrs. Drew. Dr. Drew can only question whether or not to even allow the baby to be born at all. Jessica Miriam Drew was born on December 7th, and even though Dr. Drew is happy that the baby is completely healthy he can't shake this feeling he has of anger towards them both for putting him through this ordeal.

With Jessica now a small toddler her mother takes her out to catch spiders throughout the mountain, teaching her the correct way to do it without angering the spider so it won't bite her. Jessica starts questioning whether or not the spider wants to be captured and if it misses its home and its family. Before Mrs. Drew realizes what is happening, Jessica takes the incredibly venomous spider out of its specimen box with her bare hands and gently lets it go. The spider doesn't do a thing to her.

Back at the lab, Mrs. Drew tries to tell her husband about the incredible show she witnessed earlier, but Dr. Drew is less impressed and more furious at her for taking "his" daughter out collecting one of the most dangerous spiders in all the world. He goes on and on with his rant screaming at his wife telling her how to raise Jessica. It seems the reason for the good doctor's anger is that Dr. Warren decided to leave the research. They were arguing about which direction their studies should go, with Dr. Drew wanting to focus on the real time DNA manipulation whereas Dr. Miles wanted to shift their research towards cloning.

In her room, little Jessica is completely bored with her toys which are nothing but dolls. Walking to the window she places her hands on the sill when something strange happens. With her nose now bleeding she manages to pull her hands away along with a bit of wood from the window sill still attached to her fingers. She falls back and slips into unconsciousness. Upon waking Mrs. Drew is more happy than her husband who is more concerned with taking blood from Jessica for testing.

In the lab Dr. Drew is commenting to himself how everything is falling apart around him. The research isn't going anywhere what with the last of the staff leaving and without results to show to General Wyndham, he has no idea what to do. Taking his mind from his studies he runs the usual tests on Jessica's blood but they all come back normal. Trying on a whim to run Jessica's blood against the project data, a match is found. The computer reveals that the match is with none other than with the Wundagore Widow.

Now that Dr. Drew has found a means to even more results then merely with his research, he starts running tests on Jessica's blood on a routine basis keeping a journal of his findings. Finding and reading through it, Mrs. Drew discovers that Dr. Drew is using his own daughter for his research. She goes to confront him outside as he's taking more blood from Jessica. A fight ensues between husband and wife as Mrs. Drew tells Jessica to run away from her father.

Dr. Drew chases young Jessica back into the lab with Mrs. Drew following right behind him trying to make him stop. In the struggle, he smacks her down and starts to strangle her, screaming that its all her fault - his daughter being made into a freak, his research failing, everything. Jessica sneaks up behind her father and hits him with electricity coming straight out of her hands. As the room starts to become blurry, Jessica falls back unconscious to the floor. She wakes me inside a pod of some kind obviously much older than before to find herself standing naked before General Wyndham and half a dozen Hydra soldiers.

In General...

Living in the valley of the Wundagore Mountains, Dr. Drew is doing research on the Wundagore Widow trying to unlock it's genetic blueprint. During a visit of one the main fundraisers, General Wyndham, something goes wrong and a pregnant Mrs. Drew gets bombarded with the laser from the DNA compiler, hitting her directly in the stomach. When Jessica is born she appears completely normal until later in life when she starts showing signs that there is more to her than meets the eye. In one episode she handles a very dangerous, very aggressive spider without any problems at all. When she starts blacking out, Dr. Drew performs tests on her discovering that she now has DNA traces of the Wundagore widow mixed in with her own.

Abandoning his failing research, he focuses mainly on his daughter. After a fight between her mother and father a scared Jessica turns her powers onto her own father, who is busy choking her mother. With the unleash of her venom powers, Jessica slips into a coma, only to wake up in a pod many years later under the watchful eye of the General who is also a member of the terrorist group, Hydra.

Overall Rating...

I read the Origin recap of the Spider-Woman in the first issue of the first volume after reading this issue and I find I like this story of how she got her powers more than the original origin. This one, so far, is much less complicated with more conflict between the main characters giving the young Jessica and her parents more depth than the original. Besides that I believe this was an overall solid issue, good writing and good drawing. I also liked the inclusion of one Dr. Miles Warren, who we all know will one day become the Jackal and cause quite a headache for our Spider-Man along with a large percentage of the readers.