Comics : Spider-Woman Origin #2

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This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

After a failed experiment during a presentation of his latest results, Dr. Drew's DNA Splicer hits his pregnant wife directly in her stomach, bombarding baby Jessica growing inside. When she is born everything appears to be fine until she starts displaying signs that something did in fact happen to her inside her mother's womb. Dr. Drew trying to figure out what is wrong with his daughter learns that her blood has DNA traces of the Wundagore spider that they were testing on. Deciding to focus his studies now on young Jessica, Mrs. Drew learns what her husband has been doing and confronts him for experimenting on their daughter. During their struggle Dr. Drew strangles his wife as Jessica hits him from behind with a energy blast emanating from her hands. Passing out in the process, she wakes up much later inside a pod of some sort. Getting to her shaky feet she comes face to face with General Wyndham and a number of Hydra soldiers.

In Detail...

Spider-Woman Origin #2
Mar 2006 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Tom Bervoort
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed
Artist:  Johnathan Lumas, Joshua Lumas
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Review

Jessica slowly awakes in a hospital room to find General Wyndham there with some Hydra soldiers. The General tries to explain to Jessica that she has been in a coma for eleven years and that she is now seventeen years old. Jessica, still with the mind of a six year-old doesn't fully understand what he's telling her so like any other six year-old, she asks for her mother. The General explains to her that when the General went to check up on Jessica's father's research, they arrived at Wundagore Mountain to find both of her parents dead and Jessica unconscious.

The General seems to really be interested in what happened to Jessica all those years ago and he brings in a "specialist" to get inside her thoughts and memories to find out what happened. Jessica is pretty nervous but she wants to know what happened as well, but it seems like she wants more to please the General, seeing a new father figure in her life, one that is calm and soothing and has never raised a voice to her.

Inside her head, Jessica relives the events that lead up to her parents' death but through a dream-like veil, where her nanny has the head of a cow and her father takes the shape of a large wolf. After witnessing the wolf attack her mother and watching herself kill it, Jessica sees herself in a large field with a enormous figure standing over the trees and landscape looking down at her.

Back in the present time, Jessica physically reacts to what she has just seen in her mind by blasting the specialist reading her memories just like she did with her father. She then quickly passes out like every other time she has used her newfound powers to such an extent.

Up on a cliff top overlooking the ocean, Jessica sits alone under a tree, upset about being asleep so long and being alone and not really being able to relate to anyone, seeing as she's a six year-old in a seventeen year-old's body. A young man comes jogging up asking her if she's Jessica and if so then he has some lunch for her. He introduces himself as Jared and tells her she'll feel better once her training begins.

Over at a large ring with the Hydra symbol on the ground, Jessica begins her training with the Taskmaster. He tells her to show him her powers. With Jessica confused about his request he lets fly three daggers straight at her. Barely dodging out of the way, Jessica hits him with a smaller blast then she has used before and this time she stays conscious. The Taskmaster ends their training for the day telling her that he has learned from that small encounter everything he'll need to know to effectually train her. Jessica barely understands what is going on.

Out on the beach with Jared exercising, Jessica runs up to talk to him about her training and asks him what they're training for - what does Hydra actually do? Jared lays it on pretty think with the explanation that Hydra is fighting against all these rich, powerful people who are doing everything they can to become wealthier and more powerful at the expense of everyday people. Jessica sort of understands but it's clear that she really just wanted someone to talk to.

Further along in her training, Jessica has been taught seven different types of martial arts and can take on a number of Hydra agents at once but it is the Taskmaster who is disappointed with her for not showing him her true talents fighting. He quickly takes her out without even trying, demonstrating that young Jessica still has a lot to learn.

Going to the General for more information Jessica asks him if her parents were apart of Hydra when they were alive. The General weaves an inspiring story about how her father believed in Hydra more than anything else in the world, which is enough to push Jessica into putting herself completely into Hydra and what they are and what they are fighting for. She leaves his office with the salute and a, "Hail, Hydra."

It seems that Jessica and Jared have become quiet a pair, sitting together in each other's arms under a tree at night. Jessica is upset that Jared is going on a mission to Latveria. He thinks it's because she'll miss him for the three weeks that he'll be gone but really it's because she's not going and she believes she's ready and powerful enough to be put to the test.

During one of her training session with the Taskmaster, wearing her brand new costume, the General interrupts Jessica defeating her opponent, telling Jessica that Jared has gone missing. They are sending her in with the code name Archne to infiltrate a S.H.E.I.L.D. Compound where Nick Fury is holding Jared prisoner. Her mission is to rescue him before they can learn Hydra's secrets and to assassinate Fury. Sneaking in through some air ducts, Jessica bursts into a room where several S.H.E.I.L.D. agents, including Nick Fury, are beating on Jared. She lands in the middle of the room crying out that she'll kill them all for what they have done.

In General...

Waking up to General Wyndham and a number of Hydra soldiers it is learned by Jessica that she has been in a coma for eleven years and that Hydra have been taking care of her. Trying to learn what happened all of years ago at Wundagore Mountain, the general brings in someone who can read Jessica's mind to find answers but before anything can be revealed about a giant standing in the fields of her home, Jessica hits him with an energy blast cutting off their link. Starting her training with the Taskmaster, Jessica starts to become close to a boy named Jared who is also training to become a Hydra member. During a mission Jared is taken prisoner by Nick Fury and S.H.E.I.L.D. and Jessica is sent in to rescue her boyfriend and kill Nick Fury at the same time.

Overall Rating...

There wasn't really anything wrong with this issue but it seemed sort of rushed as if the writer had a milestone he needed to get to by page 22 and he wanted to fit in as much as he could, like Jessica and Jared's romance. One page they don't know each other and then the next their romantically involved. This does usually happen within mini-series because the creative team knows that they only have a certain number of issues to work with, instead of in an ongoing monthly title.

It was exciting seeing Jessica in her trademark costume for the first time take on the Taskmaster and win, when earlier in their training he defeated her without even trying, plus I also liked seeing things from a different point of view. Hearing a Hydra soldier talk about what he believes Hydra stands for was something I never seen before and it made it believable when Jessica throws herself completely into being apart of them. Usually you have your bad guys and you know they're bad because, well, they're bad guys. It was nice to see that the guys the heroes some times fight against are not all that bad themselves.