Spider-Woman (Marvel Comics) soaring and crackling


(Jessica Drew) (Benchmark)


Spider-Woman appeared in 1978, as an off-the-cuff decision to stake a claim to the name before another company could use it. The character was surprisingly successful, and Marvel now had to do something with her. Perhaps as a result, her career was unusually chaotic.

These are older, gisted technical notes, not a full profile. The goal was mostly to explore modelization for her powers. Full chronological profiles have since started, with the first being Spider-Woman (proto-Jessica Drew) (earliest).



  • Real Name: Jessica Drew.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Jonathan Drew (father, deceased), Merriem Drew (mother, deceased). At one point it was revealed that Merriem Drew was actually the Viper II, but this was retconned.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Madripoor ; formerly Los Angeles and San Francisco (also for a time, London).
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 133 lbs.
  • Eyes: Lush green Hair: Light auburn (generally dyed jet black).

Powers and Abilities

Spider-Woman has superhuman strength and endurance, and is able to crawl on vertical an inverted surfaces by emitting an unknown adhesive from her palms and soles. She is a professional detective and has excellent training as a spy, as well as excellent hand-to-hand combat training from HYDRA.

The immunity factor described below was lost at one point in order to save Bill Foster (Giant-Man II). The venom blasts also described below were sacrificed in order to return her from the astral plane.

After losing both those powers she started packing and concentrated on her detective career ; she didn’t use guns as Spider-Woman I. It was revealed at one point that Drew could exude a high concentration of pheromones that would cause fear in women and pleasure in men.



Can you say “Chris Claremont ?”. :)

Very briefly, she’s the daughter of a close colleague of the High Evolutionary, and was irradiated on mount Wundagore. Her father tried something very experimental involving irradiated spider blood and a genetic accelerator to save her. Thus, while she was born in the 20’s, she spent decades in suspended animation.

She was released when she was healed, and lived a very simple life in Central Europe for a few years before an accident drove her away from home.

At one point, it was revealed that the Viper II was actually Jessica’s mother (and that the Viper’s real name was Merriem Drew), but this story was later retconned away.

Jessica was then seduced by an HYDRA officer and became a top-flight assassin for that terrorist organization. Among her first missions was the murder of Colonel Fury, but she flinched and fled. She became a San Francisco-based super-heroine some time later, dealing with the odd, quirky, strange and downright paranormal (and, to be frank, somewhat camp).

For a few years, she became a PI as Jessica Drew, conducting her missions under the guise of masked super-heroine Spider-Woman. Her grace and the lives she saved led to many people on the West Coast nicknaming her the Angel of the Night.

Early Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) gliding over the city

Spider-Woman lost her Lightning when Doctor Strange freed her astral body (which had been trapped by Morgan Le Fey), and sacrificed her Energy Absorption and Systemic Antidote in order to save the second Giant-Man. Left with few paranormal abilities, she concentrated on her PI career, retiring her Spider-Woman ID. For years, she worked as a troubleshooter in Madripoor.

Then, the original Spider-Woman was rescued from a magic dimension by her best friend Lindsay McCabe and the second Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter. How Jessica got there from her last appearance was something of her mystery, but at that point she had seemingly regenerated most of her powers.

She started working again as a superhuman P.I., getting tangled in the genesis of other Spider-Women – and at one point fighting alongside with fellow P.I. Jessica Jones.

Her next career move was to become a special S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (it’s a living), a job which led her into becoming a part of the New Avengers.


Jessica is an attractive woman in her late 20’s (probably early 30s by now) with jet black, short hair and something vaguely elfin in her eyes. She is rather tall and athletic. In her Spider-Woman identity, she wore a full red-and-yellow costume leaving only her lower face bare, and a knee-length black wig.

Due to the pheromones, Spider-Woman is considered to be incredibly hot ; she has grown used to it.

DC Universe History

Jessy would be the daughter of some obscure villain (professor Ivo, or doctor Milo for instance, or a WWII villain), and became his secret weapon during her late teens. She then fled to Frisco, and her career went on like it did in the Marvel Universe.

However, she would have had a number of adventures with Jason Blood and the Demon (those who wish to fully develop Spider-Woman and know about her full history might wish to replace either Mordred or Magnus with the Demon for a DCU campaign).


“Shew ! Escaping from death traps takes it out of a girl !”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Spider-Woman I

Dex: 06 Str: 08 Bod: 06 Motivation: Thrill
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 05 Occupation: Private investigator
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 03
Init: 018 HP: 040

Broadcast empath: 04, Cling: 09, Jumping: 04, Lightning: 03, Power reserve (Lightning): 06, Regeneration: 08, Systemic antidote: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Broadcast Empath has various Limitations (see below).
  • Regeneration only to cover damage from causes covered by her Systemic Antidote power (BC 10, FC 3).
  • Systemic antidote has Delayed effects (see below ; -2) and works against radiations (+1).
  • Power Reserve (Lightning) does not increase Lightning’s Range (-5 BC to Lightning).
  • Power Reserve (Lightning) has Attrition (see below, -2).

Acrobatics: 08, Artist (actress): 02, Charisma*: 05, Detective*: 05, Martial artist*: 06, Thief (stealth, security systems): 05, Vehicles (land, water): 05, Weaponry (firearms): 05

Area knowledge (Madripoor, San Francisco), Attractive, Buddy (Lindsay McCabe), Sharp Eye.

Street (Low), Underworld (Low), Wolverine (Low), Scott McDowell (Low).

Secret ID, Unluck.


  • The SPIDERWOMAN COSTUME had the following stats : [BODY 03, Gliding: 01].
  • As a private eye, Drew usually packed a Walther PPK [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 07, Q#2, +1 to Initiative when used, +1CS to dissimulate in clothing].
  • As a PI, when she expected *lots* of trouble, she would carry a SPAS 15 combat shotgun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06 (Diminishing), Range: 03, Ammo: 06, R#03, Recommended STR: 02, Advantage : Scattershot, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range – use the Range given next instead].

Spider-Woman’s immunity factor

When exposed to a noxious substance (non-corrosive poison, alcohol, drugs, radiations above UV frequencies, etc.) Spider-Woman quickly starts to build up an immunity. While she is normally affected at first, she quickly becomes immune.

In case of exposure to something covered by Systemic Antidote, the initial APs of Systemic Antidote are considered a 0. Each time the poison attacks, she gains 2 more APs of Systemic Antidote (to a maximum of 10), and the toxin’s effect is checked again against her new OV.

Any damage suffered is regenerated at an accelerated rate (Regeneration) ; thus poison/radiation/whatever damage should be tracked separately from normal damage.

Note that, while a standard Poison Touch toxin will, according to the rules, attack every Phase, most toxic attacks have a Limitation that their frequency of attack is much slower.

Spider-Woman’s venom blast

Spider-Woman’s physiology builds up enormous charges of bioelectricity, that can be shot as bioelectric bursts she calls “venom blasts”. Each blast takes one AP away from the Power Reserve ; at the end of a scene the bioelectricity charge can build up again.

The recovery time is (4 APs + APs to be recovered) APs of time, so recovering all 6 APs takes 30 minutes. If she has to use her bioelectricity again 10 minutes after the end of the scene, she would only have recovered 2 APs in her Power Reserve.

Spider woman’s pheromones

Spiderwoman can release peculiar pheromones in the air that will have a noticeable effect on the mood of most people close to her. Previously this effect was Always On, but it would appear she can now trigger or stop it more or less at will. The Bonuses and Limitations are :

  • Broadcast Empath has No Range, but has Area of Effect.
  • Mental resistances such as Mind field are useless against it, but Sealed systems adds its full APs to the target’s RV.
  • It is only effective against humans or peoples with near-human physiology, such as most mutants.
  • When used on a woman, the only emotion it can broadcast is apprehension.
  • When used on a man, the only emotion it can broadcast is contentment.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): Jeanne Burch’s defunct site, John Colagioia, Vinnie, Ethan Roe.