Monday, January 5, 2015

Guide to the Spider-Verse: Spider-Woman

Jessica Drew (despite not really being affiliated with Spider-Man) is almost as iconic to the Spider-Verse as Spider-Man. The first-and-current Spider-Woman began her path to superheroics when she was diagnosed with radiation poisoning as a small child. Desperate to save her, Jessica's father put her in a gene-therapy pod and infused her with the DNA of spiders to infuse her with the spider's resistance to radiation. Jessica hibernated in her pod until she was an adult, where she was found by the evil organization HYDRA. She emerged with a bizarre set of powers; while she had the basic spider-abilities of wall-crawling and proportionate spider-strength and speed, she also had the power to glide on air currents via glider webs under her arms, fire bio-electric "venom" blasts, emit emotion altering pheromones, and could develop immunities to any toxin or poison she was exposed to. HYDRA trained her to be their agent, gave her a red-and-yellow costume designed to resemble the deadly black widow spider, and sent their villainous Spider-Woman to kill SHIELD director Nick Fury. But she was stopped and saw the error of her ways, becoming a reluctant hero. Upon her switch to hero, she slightly altered her HYDRA suit, replacing the cowl with a domino mask, adjusting the yellow emblem, and reducing the size of her glider webs and adding a web-pattern. A darker, crimson-and-metallic gold spider-symbol emblazoned costume was designed for her but she never wore it. After an adventurous career as a hero, Spider-Woman lost her powers and found that Julia Carpenter assume the role of Spider-Woman. After a few years, Jessica tried to regain her abilities and found herself kidnapped by alien shapeshifters and was replaced by their queen. After the heroes of Earth repelled the shapeshifters, they found the real Jessica Drew and she regained her powers and identity of Spider-Woman. She became an Avenger, and a mentor to young spider-heroes such as Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon) and Silk. Spider-Woman later altered her costume, adding black leather accents and and a spider-emblem. In the Ultimate Universe, Jessica Drew is Spider-Woman, and a female clone of Spider-Man, with the same powers plus the power to fire organic webs from her fingertips. Initially she wore a dark garnet bodysuit with a white spider emblem, but deciding she wanted to be a different individual from Spider-Man, changed her identity to Black Widow (dying her hair red, and wearing a black-and-red bodysuit with a red jacket with a black spider on the back). In a possible future Jessica drew still fights as Spider-Woman in the land of the Dead, wearing a green-and-purple version of her original costume. In another future timeline, she fights as Spider-Woman in a suit that combines elements of her red-and-yellow suit and Spider-Man's. And in a timeline where mutants are hunted by the government, Jessica Drew is the deadly mutant killer known as Redback, possessing all of her original powers (plus the ability to release retractable stingers filled with venom from her wrists) and wearing an armored black-and red version of her original Spider-Woman costume and black tinted goggles.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Guide to the Spider-Verse: Arachne

Julia Carpenter was only trying to earn some money by taking part in medical studies, unknowingly taking part in a secret government experiment to create super-powers. Taking what she thought was a vitamin injection, she was injected with spider-venoms and plant toxins from the Amazon rainforest. The injection gave her spider-like strength and speed, as well as the power to climb walls and create webs out of pure psychokinetic energy. Given the codename Spider-Woman (an identity formerly used by Jessica Drew), and a black-and-white costume, Julia escaped her government handlers and joined the Avengers. After Jessica Drew returned and reclaimed her identity, Julia assumed the alias of Arachne. After the events of the Superhuman Registration Act, Arachne fled to Canada and joined the superhero team Omega Flight, creating a more stylized version of her classic costume to wear. She returned to America to help Spider-Man fight a cult of hunters who were targeting spider-powered people. Arachne tried to help spidery-pyschic Madame Web when the hunters gravely injured the elderly woman, only to have Madame Web use the psychic nature of Arachne's powers to link their minds and giver her own psychic gifts to Julia. Now the new Madame Web, Julia now had precognition, clairvoyance, and astral projection added to her powers. Giving her Arachne costume to Anya Corazon (the new Spider-Girl) the new Madame Web donned a red costume with a red trenchcoat over it. Underneath the trenchcoat, her costume has a white spider-symbol (similar to that of the original Madame Web) on a dark red bodysuit with light red gloves and boots with a pair of red spider-like goggles. In a reality created by a crazed sorceress, Julia is Arachne, a knight who wears an armored version of her original costume. In the future, Arachne is one of the last surving Avengers, clad in a version of her original costume, modified with stinger-blasting wrist gauntlets, belts, and no white boots.