Comics : Spider-Woman Origin #4
This review was first published on: 2006.
Nick Fury and his S.H.E.I.L.D. agents have finally found where Jessica has been hiding, somewhere taking college level courses in Literature. Waiting outside until after the class is completed Fury approaches Jessica to get her to come work for him and their country. During their conversation Fury reveals to her that both of her parents are still alive.
Spider-Woman Origin #4
May 2006 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: Jessica goes in search of her parents
After telling Jessica Drew that her parents are still alive, she does the only logical thing, she grabs him by his throat and demands that he tell her where they are. With an attack on their commander, secret agents surrounding the two jump into action with pistols drawn, telling her to let him go. It takes Fury three attempts to get his agents to lower their weapons. Jessica calms down long enough for Fury to explain to her that enough though he doesn't know where her parents are located, they can both help each other out. If Jessica comes and works for S.H.E.I.L.D. then Fury will do everything in his powers to help her locate her family.
With Fury now putting finding the Drew family as his top priority, it doesn't take them long to gather some info on their whereabouts. After the fall out at Wundagore Mountain that resulted in Jessica manifesting her powers, her parents separated with her mother taking the nest egg she had and went underground as her father went back to work for Hydra. Her mother turned up in New York City when she used her maiden name and without a S.H.E.I.L.D. scout to report on the situation first, Jessica decides to go in alone.
At a hotel Jessica checks the sign in book and finds the room her mother is staying in. Before she can knock on the door it is opened by a Hryda agent. Jessica takes him out but not before he can warn the others. A tentacle wraps itself around Jessica's throat and it's revealed that it's from someone named Whiplash, who appears to be an assassin there doing a job. Sending a venom blast up his whip sends Whiplash running out of there believing that he's not getting paid for this so he shouldn't have to deal with her. With Hydra gone Jessica notices what they were there for; her mother's dead body on the bed tells her all she needs to know. Trying to figure out why they were there Jessica starts looking around when she finds an opened briefcase with a report labeled "Athena Device MK 2". Whatever this means, it certainly means something to Jessica who starts reading it with huge, shocked eyes.
Whatever Jessica discovered in her mother's hotel room, she's keeping it for herself, disappearing from S.H.E.I.L.D. again without much trouble. Nick Fury and his agents try to figure out themselves what has happened. The only thing they've got is the word "athena" and a name, Otto Vermis. Fury commands everyone to find Otto before Jessica can find him first and kill him herself.
On a yacht in the Mediterranean Sea, we have a bikini clad, red-haired Jessica really dolling it up for Otto, a wriggly, old man. Whiplash believes that this woman is actually the woman that attacked him back in New York but because it was dark he really can't tell for sure. Just because he doesn't know if she's really Spider-Woman doesn't matter. He doesn't want to take any chances.
Otto can't believe that an agent of S.H.E.I.L.D. would stoop so low as to sleep with someone like him just to get information. He didn't think that a woman could think so little of herself. But because he told her too much there isn't any way that he can let her live.
At the very last minute Jessica flies off the ship and into the water, only to stare down at the gapping mouth of a large shark. It's a good thing that the Hydra agents are firing at Jessica in the ocean because their bullets actually take out the shark for her. With the blood rising to the surface, they all believe that the situation is over. As they make their plans to hurry to one of Hydra's headquarters a powerboat races away with Jessica driving. Before they get a chance to do anything about it, the yacht blows up apparently killing all aboard.
On an oil rig platform at night Jessica's father is still working on trying to harness the powers of arachnids to graft them onto the human genome and he's still working for Hydra. An agent comes in and tells Dr. Drew that Madame Hydra is waiting for him. He tells him that he'll be there in a moment, but when the door opens again, Dr. Drew turns to see a silhouette of Spider-Woman calling to her "Daddy".
With the revelation that her parents are not dead Jessica joins with Fury to help him take down Hydra and at the same time Fury would help her find her parents. They first discover the whereabouts of her mother but Jessica arrives too late to find Hydra agents, someone calling himself Whiplash and the body of her mother. The agents all make a getaway living Jessica with the bloody and broken remains of her mom along with some of her mom's things, one of which is a briefcase containing some reports on something called the Athena Device MK 2.
Learning that Athena is run by someone named Otto Vermis, Jessica goes undercover and actually starts sleeping with the elderly man to get close to him and gather as much information as she can. It's a little gross thinking of Jessica sleeping with someone like Otto, but she is trying to avenge her dead mother, so I can't really judge her too strongly.
The Hydra agents are not really sure if the woman sleeping with Vermis is the same woman they fought with back in New York so they decide that she is too dangerous to let live either way and they try to kill her. She gets away and manages to blow up the yacht they are all on, killing Otto Vermis and Whiplash in the explosion (but who can ever be sure if someone is dead in a comic book).
Jessica somehow learns that her father is still working for Hydra on a oil platform. Sneaking in to confront him, we learn that he is still working on trying to combine the DNA of spiders with humans, mimicking the results he stumbled upon with his daughter. The last page has a nice image of a silhouetted Spider-Woman coming face to face with her father who she hasn't seen since she was 6 years old.
I'm finding that I don't really care for the characters in this book, which is weird because usually, Bendis makes me love each character he writes, but there just isn't that connection in this mini-series. There are some funny moments but that's about it. It's told well and the art work is pretty good so I can't complain about that.
The issue with Jessica sleeping with Otto Vernis sort of gave me a uncomfortable taste in my mouth. I know that the super heroes are just people too and they make mistake like everyone else, but one of the reasons why I like Spider-Man so much is because even though he makes mistakes, he still holds on to his morals. A super hero sleeping her way into an enemy organization so she can take it down from the inside just doesn't sit well with me. Call me old fashion but those practices I would rather see the villains performing, not the heroes.
There was another instance of Jessica seeing one of her attackers with the head of an animal. I'm not sure if this is going to be explained in the last issue or not. Spider-Woman's old origin had her living with the High Evolutionary who was surrounded by half human, half animal creatures. Maybe this is Bendis' way of paying homage to the original origin.