Madame Web (Cassandra Webb) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Madame Web first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #210, published November 1980, and was created by writer Denny O'Neil and artist John Romita, Jr. She is usually depicted as a supporting character in the Spider-Man comic book series. She is depicted as an elder woman with myasthenia gravis and thus was connected to a life support system that looked like a spider web. Due to her age and medical condition Madame Web never actively fought any villains.

Madame Web was a clairvoyant, and precognitive mutant who first showed up to help Spider-Man find a kidnap victim. Madame Web was not one of the mutants that lost their power during the Decimation storyline. She was attacked by Sarah and Ana Kravinoff, who killed her, but not before she was able to pass her powers of precognition as well as her blindness on to Julia Carpenter, who became the next Madame Web. Webb is the grandmother of the fourth Spider-Woman, Charlotte Witter.

Publication history

Madame Web was created by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist John Romita, Jr., and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #210 (November 1980).

Fictional character biography

Cassandra Webb was born in Salem, Oregon. She is a paralyzed, blind, telepathic, clairvoyant, and precognitive mutant, allowing her to work as a professional medium. She was originally stricken with myasthenia gravis and was connected to a life support system designed by her husband Jonathan Webb, which included a series of tubes shaped like a spider-web.

When Spider-Man approached her to help find kidnapped Daily Globe publisher K.J. Clayton (actually an impersonator), Madame Web used her powers to help him locate and rescue both the real and the fake Clayton, but disclosed to him that she had divined his secret identity. In the "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut!" story arc, she contacts Spider-Man for assistance when Black Tom Cassidy dispatches the Juggernaut to capture her in the hope that her psychic powers would help them defeat the X-Men, only for her to nearly die after Juggernaut separated her from her life-support system. This triggered a vicious fight between Spider-Man and the Juggernaut, who was subsequently trapped in a construction site's wet cement foundation. From the shock to her system, however, Madame Web apparently lost her memory of Spider-Man's secret identity.

Webb is the grandmother of the fourth Spider-Woman, Charlotte Witter. She participates in an arcane ritual known as the "Gathering of the Five", gaining immortality; she is restored to youth and her myasthenia gravis is cured. Webb serves as a mentor of sorts to the third Spider-Woman, the young Mattie Franklin.

Madame Web resurfaced, and her psychic powers are intact after Decimation. However, since House of M (in which she did appear young) she seems to have regained her aged appearance, though the myasthenia gravis remains gone; this could indeed be taken as an effect of Decimation.

Madame Web again returns in a back-up feature in The Amazing Spider-Man #600. She looks into the future, showing what are apparently quick looks into Spider-Man's future, only to see someone "unravelling the web of fate", and fearfully exclaiming "They're hunting spiders." After that, she is attacked by Ana Kravinoff and her mother, Sasha. The pair incapacitate her and then claim "we now have our eyes". She is seen still captured by Ana and her mother, as they inspect their new quarry, Mattie Franklin. While still bound in a chair, she apologizes to a then-unconscious Mattie, who is later killed by Sasha Kravinoff.

At the conclusion of "Grim Hunt" Madame Web has her throat slashed by Sasha Kravinoff in retaliation, as Sasha believed that Madame Web was deceiving her and knew the outcome of the events that transpired. Before dying, she reveals she is no longer blind, and passes her psychic powers over to Julia Carpenter.

During the Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy storyline, Madame Web was cloned by the Jackal. She tipped off Prowler about a bank robbery vision she had which he managed to stop the bank robbery. When Prowler goes to get more information on the hacker from Madame Web, she tells him that she sees buildings filled with agony that cannot escape. When the villains at New U Technologies are getting out of control, Jackal sends Electro to find Prowler to put them under check again. Electro goes to Madame Web's room and tortures the telepath into giving her Prowler's location with the intent to kill him. Julia Carpenter senses that Madame Web's alive from telepathic feedback resulting from Electro's attack. Julia infiltrates New U Technologies and uses the opportunity to investigate the near-abandoned facility. During this time, Julia is led to Madame Web who refuses to take her medication to aid her in healing from Electro's attack. Madame Web has seen the future and refuses to be a part of it. Before dying from clone degeneration, Madame Web tells Julia to save Prowler.

Powers and abilities

Madame Web is a mutant that possesses psychic sensory powers including telepathy, clairvoyance, prescience, and the ability to sense the presence of psionic powers in others. She can also perform psychic surgery and appear to others in spirit (astral) form. She has a gifted intellect.

When dying she displayed the ability to transfer her mutation to another individual, Julia Carpenter, as well as her blindness.

Madame Web was a victim of myasthenia gravis, a disorder of neuromuscular junction transmission. As a result, she was an invalid entirely dependent on external life support for survival. This is no longer the case as she was cured of the condition some time ago. She is also blind. Madame Web is cybernetically linked to a spider-web-like life support chair which attends to all of her bodily needs.

Other versions

  • A version of Madame Web makes a brief appearance in the heroic fantasy world of Avataars: Covenant of the Shield as "the Widow of the Web", a spider-goddess who grants Webswinger (the Spider-Man parallel) his powers.
  • Webb also appeared during the "House of M" storyline as a therapist employed by S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Madame Web died in the MC2 universe, but her reputation has inspired an entire temple of prophetic acolytes.
  • Madame Web appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man. In issue #102, she is part of the psych team that plans to change Ultimate Spider-Woman's memories. She appears in a wheelchair (implying paralysis) and blind, similar to the classic version. However, she is younger than that version of the character.
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