Julia Carpenter, the second woman to bear the name "Spider-Woman" has at last received her very own mini-series. It features in our "Worst of the Worst" lookback sights.
I'm not disappointed. Spider-Dream sequence... Why didn't you tell us... You've killed your Father... Oh no, you haven't... Angst, angst, angst. Flip, flip on the pages.
OK, here we go. Julia goes to Washington D.C. to seek some answers, and her parents take her daughter and head to Peru.
Spider-Woman breaks into government headquarters, and seeks some information about her past. She runs into Val Cooper, who explains the whole sordid top-secret story. The explanation takes the whole issue. Are you sure you want to hear it? It's contrived, and complex, and very very unsatisfying!
Alright then. Here's the whole sordid story.
Val Cooper, Dr. Napier (died last issue, remember) and two other scientists were assigned to a super-hero government task force. They decided to make some super-heros, using some mystical plants venoms that could only be found in the Amazon. The two other scientists went to the Amazon to get them, and their local guides were Julia's Mom and Dad. What a coincidence!
They got the drugs and came back. They needed a subject. Val just happened to know Julia from high-school, and thought she would make a good subject. She met Julia "by accident" and twisted her arm into volunteering.
They fed her all the fancy drugs and made her into Spider-Woman, and then sent her to act as a government agent during Secret Wars.
"Oh, so most of what I thought I knew about my origin was a lie --" says Julia. This is a classic trick used by less than capable writers. They spend all their time playing around with origins, powers, and costumes, and never get around to telling a story. Procrastination is the thief of pages!
Anyhow, after Julia left to join the West Coast Avengers (and while Val Cooper was out of town) some guy called "The Manipulator" (does that sound rude or what) bribed Dr. Napier to give him the serums, and he used them on the janitor (creating that eight armed monster Therak guy), and also on the other two scientists formerly in Val's group. They all turned into baddies, and ran away to become "The Manipulator and his DeathWeb (tm)".
But hang on, what was Dr. Napier doing going to visit Julia's parents. Well, it seems that the three members of DeathWeb are addicted to the serum that the Manipulator gave them (he had Dr. Napier spike it), and they want to be un-addicted. But the antidote can only be created with more mystical Amazon drugs, and so they need Julia's parents to guide them into the Jungle.
According to Val, Dr. Napier (after accepting huge bribes to commit various felonies) felt so guilty that he thought he should risk his own life to save Julia's parents from a little expedition to Peru. I can't see it myself. In any case, the whole plot is so gratuitously overblown that we've finished the second issue before the story even starts! I did say that maybe you really didn't need to know the details, didn't I?
All we need know is a rescue in the Amazon, and a final climatic show-down. See, it isn't too hard to fill out a four-part limited series?
Shamefully, woefully bad. Just the one web, methinks.