|“||You're a good cop, dad. You put on that badge and carry that gun because you know if you don't someone who shouldn't will. When I put on this mask, I only did it -- Because it freed me from responsibility. I thought I was special. And Peter Parker died because he tried to follow my example. I have to take responsibility for that. To make his death mean something. But I can't do it in a jail cell. This mask is my badge now. If I don't define what it means... monsters like this will. This is where I'm needed most.||„|
|~ Spider-Woman (Gwen) to her father.|
Spider-Woman (Gwen Stacy), commonly referred to as Spider-Gwen, is a fictional superheroine in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez, the character debuted in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, as part of the 2014–15 Spider-Verse comic book storyline. This led to the ongoing series Spider-Gwen that began in 2015.
The character is a variant of Spider-Man and an alternate-universe version of Gwen Stacy. She resides in what Marvel official nomenclature dubs Earth-65, where, instead of Peter Parker being bitten by a radioactive spider and becoming Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy is bitten and becomes the superheroine Spider-Woman.
The character is featured in other alternate universes and appears in other Marvel media such as an animated television series and video games, and in merchandise such as action figures.
In the primary continuity of the comic books comprising the Marvel Universe, college-student Gwen Stacy was the girlfriend of Peter Parker, whom she was unaware was also Spider-Man. This primary version of Gwen Stacy was killed in The Amazing Spider-Man #121 (cover-dated June 1973). The concept of an alternate-universe, spider-powered Gwen Stacy was first conceptualized by longtime Spider-Man writer Dan Slott for the "Spider-Verse" story arc across multiple series. Slott had suggested "Gwen Stacy as a Spider-Woman" to Spider-Man editor Nick Lowe, who then approached Jason Latour to write a series based on that character. Latour was concerned restoring Gwen Stacy to life in even an alternate-universe form, given the canonical consequences of her death more than 40 years earlier, but eventually conceded. Latour then approached Robbi Rodriguez to design the character. Latour prompted Rodriguez to keep her mysterious and to avoid anything that would prematurely reveal her identity, and which "should feel like anyone could be under that mask." Slott, conversely, had envisioned a costume based on her clothing in the two-part, 1973 death story, The Night Gwen Stacy Died, except red and blue with web patterns and a half mask. She would also have had a trench coat that would have been red with webs. Regardless, Slott preferred and approved Rodriquez' design. The character debuted in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 on September 17, 2014.
Latour was inspired with helping create the character when he originally asked himself what he really knew about Gwen Stacy outside of being a "fridged" character who got killed off for the sake of the hero as a plot progression. Which he felt like wasn't a whole lot. Latour also felt like he grew up in times where white males were dominant in superhero comics. So Latour saw Gwen as a potential heroine to better represent women saying, "The fact that it's a woman does change the meaning and subtext of everything that's going on. As a creator, that's really enjoyable and it opens up the story to go in a lot of directions it wouldn't have gone before.
In October, Nick Lowe announced at New York Comic-Con 2014, that the character would be getting her own ongoing series after much demand. The first issue of Spider-Gwen was the third-best selling comic of February 2015, selling over 250,000 copies. The first volume ended after the fifth issue with the character carrying over into the second volume of Spider-Verse as part of the Secret Wars event. After the conclusion of the event, a second volume by the same creative team began with issue #1 as a part of Marvel's All-New, All-Different Marvel imprint entitled The Radioactive Spider-Gwen.
Spider-Gwen was featured as a major character in a multi-part crossover entitled Spider-Women. It started with Spider-Women Alpha #1 and ended with Spider-Women Omega #1 with certain issues of Spider-Woman, Silk and Spider-Gwen depicting part of the storyline in between. Spider-Gwen also stars in a team-up with the alternate Spider-Man themed characters from the second volume of Spider-Verse in a series titled Web Warriors, a name that was coined by Peter Parker from the Ultimate Spider-Man TV series during the original Spider-Verse.
Fictional character biography
In the alternate reality designated Earth-65, Gwen Stacy is the one bitten by the radioactive spider and becomes a superhero going by the name of Spider-Woman. She is also a member of a band alongside Mary Jane Watson, Betty Brant and Glory Grant, simply called the Mary Janes. Shortly after Gwen begins fighting crime. Peter Parker attempts to exact revenge on those who bullied him in Midtown High School, becoming Earth-65's universe's initial version of the Lizard. Gwen subdues him, but Peter dies towards the end of the battle due to the chemical he used. Spider-Woman is blamed for his death, causing an outcry for her arrest, led by J. Jonah Jameson. Her father, who is also a police chief, begins a hunt for her along with Captain Frank Castle and Detective Jean DeWolff. At a gig of the Mary Janes playing, an assassin named Aleksei Sytsevich (hired by Kingpin's top advisor and corrupt lawyer, Matt Murdock) is sent after Gwen's father, who is in the audience. Gwen defeats the assassin, the audience and band clearing out during the battle. While they are alone, Captain Stacy holds Spider-Woman at gun point, with Gwen taking off her mask to reveal who she is. Shocked upon learning Spider-Woman's identity, he tells her to run before he changes his mind. In the distance, the Captain Britain from Earth-833 called Spider-UK is watching, saying that Gwen will "do quite nicely."
During the "Spider-Verse" storyline, Gwen is recruited by Spider-UK to team up with other Spider-Totems across the multiverse, and next appears on Earth-616 with Old Man Spider-Man of Earth-4 and Spider-Man of Earth-70105 (who in that reality is Bruce Banner) to rescue Kaine, who was under attack by the Inheritors. Earth-616 Peter is hesitant to put Gwen in action and she is told by the others of how he failed to save her in his world. However he does recruit her for a mission and they both agree to look out for each other. Gwen is sent to recruit an alternate version of Peter Parker who is driven insane after he failed to save the Gwen Stacy in his dimension, killed the Green Goblin, and became the Hobgoblin. She tells him that he can become the man he once was if he joins them, but they are attacked by the Inheritors. Hobgoblin sacrifices himself to save Gwen.
After the events of "Spider-Verse", Gwen returns to her home of Earth-65 where she continues her career as Spider-Woman in her own solo series, Spider-Gwen. She begins a hunt for the Vulture who has been terrorizing the city in her absence while trying to make amends with her fellow band members following her lengthy absence, but ended up being attacked in her own home by the Vulture, and having her secret identity exposed to police captain Frank Castle. Afterwards, Gwen is able to make some peace with Peter's death after a talk with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, and returns to her band. After returning to her band, they team up with singer Felicia Hardy and her band known as The Black Cats. Felicia is later revealed in the concert as attempting to kill Matt Murdock for revenge on killing his dad and Spider-Woman intervenes by knocking her out. Murdock reveals to Gwen that he still plans to fold her into Kingpin's criminal empire.
On the Battleworld domain of Arachnia during the Secret Wars storyline, Gwen finds herself wandering around New York aimlessly as a superhero while trying to remember her life. She begins investigating and discovers that she was apparently murdered by Mayor Norman Osborn, Spider-Man's arch enemy before Spider-Man disappeared years ago. Gwen sneaks into Oscorp to discover a file in one of their tablets titled "Sinister Six", which contains pictures of Gwen, Anya, Pavitr, Billy, and two more spider-people Spider-Ham and Spider-Man Noir. Snooping around some more, Gwen finds Spider-Ham hooked up to several machines until she is caught by Mayor Norman Osborn.
The duo escaped from the building after being discovered by Mayor Norman Osborn and was later found by Spider-Man (Pavitr Prabhakar), Spider-Girl, and Spider-UK. Pavitr brought them to his hideout in Chinatown where he had devised a machine to track the exotic resonances of the spider-heroes in this dimension, the device subsequently picked up another Spider. The signal brought the spider-heroes to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Once there, they stopped the criminals Carnage and Tombstone, and discovered the origin of the signal in the form of the Spider-Man Noir of Earth-90214. The spiders were soon interrupted by the arrival of the Sinister Six (consisting of Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Sandman, Scorpion, and Vulture).
The Sinister Six defeated the Spider-Men and brought them to Mayor Norman Osborn who stated he wanted to help them and showed no ulterior motives. Mayor Osborn had developed lenses that could focus in fifth-dimensional space and created the mapping of a tattered web that appeared to be the structure of the universe using the resonances of the heroes. All of the Spider-Heroes decided to stay at the Ozcorp Tower except for Gwen. When she went to the Mount Olivet Cemetery to visit the gravestone of her deceased counterpart, she was startled by the arrival of this domain's native Peter Parker who stated that he used to be Spider-Man.
Gwen and Peter were soon attacked by Venom who was sent by Mayor Osborn to follow Gwen at a discreet distance and Peter (who had lost his powers a long time ago) was captured by him, but Gwen was able to save him and defeat Venom. Afterwards, Gwen devised a plan to bring down Mayor Osborn. Her along with the rest of the Web Warriors eventually defeated Mayor Osborn.
All-New, All-Different Marvel
After Secret Wars, the multiverse is restored and Gwen Stacy returns to her home world of Earth-65 where a new Lizard appears (this time revealed to be Dr. Curt Connors). On the hunt for Connors she discovers multiple Lizards and runs into S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Captain America (Samantha Wilson). Captain America and Spider-Woman team up to defeat Connors as the Lizard and Captain America reveals that the Lizards were human experimentation from a mutagen of the organization known as S.I.L.K. Gwen later reunites with her old friend, Harry Osborn, who left after feeling guilty about Peter's death. He reveals he is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and that he plans to bring Spider-Woman to justice. Spider-Woman turns herself in but later tries to reason with him after realizing Harry plans to kill her. Instead Harry is convinced to drink the Lizard mutagen, transforming himself into the Green Goblin. Captain America then steps in to help Spider-Woman and attempt to cure Harry with an suppressant of the Lizard mutagen, but is later knocked out by Harry. S.H.I.E.L.D director Peggy Carter tells Gwen of the suppressant through Captain America's helmet radio which Gwen then uses to cure Harry, and lets him escape. Captain America after waking up expresses support for Spider-Woman as a superhero and salutes her.
In Chicago, After visiting Earth-616's Jessica Drew and Silk, Gwen Stacy takes them to Earth-65. During a battle with Super-Adaptoid, Gwen's dimensional wristwatch is stolen with the two Spider-Women friends trapped in her world. They discover that the Earth-65 version of Cindy Moon, leader of S.I.L.K., was the mastermind behind the stealing of the wristwatch. She revealed her plans to Silk and Gwen that she plans to steal technology to take over the world. Earth-65's Cindy also revealed that one of her spiders was behind the bite that gave Gwen her powers. She proceeded in taking Gwen's power away with the use of her technology and framed her Earth-616 counterpart of Silk. Gwen, Jessica and Cindy later team up in defeating Earth-65's Cindy.
Gwen deals with the effects of her power fading due to the time Earth-65's Cindy taking her power. Meanwhile, Captain Castle remains obsessed over catching and arresting Spider-Woman. With the help of Reed Richards to bring back her powers, Spider-Woman is determined to stop Frank.
Despite being warned off his dogged pursuit of Gwen Stacy (in his belief that she is Spider-woman) by his superiors, Captain Frank Castle is observing the movements of Gwen from afar. Gwen who is wondering if her recent de-powering (at the hands of Cindy Moon from Earth-65) maybe for the best and that her negative public perception is warranted. She is persuaded in having a night out with her friends By Glory Grant. At the close of the night, after being shown a shortcut to the Dollar Dog restaurant she almost attacks a homeless man which prompts her to almost destroy the power-up isotopes charges she has been given that will restore her powers temporarily. Before she can however, The restaurant becomes the location of an attempted armed robbery. Frank Castle, who has maintained his visual of Gwen, is there to prevent the robbery and attempts to apprehend Gwen, but she activates a power-up and manages to hurl Castle through the restaurant window, which is witnessed by her friends (and Mary Jane band members). Gwen flees into the night with a renewed sense of purpose in being Spider-Woman.
The day after the events at the Dollar Dog, Frank seeks help from Kraven the Hunter in his pursuit of Gwen. Gwen, now home after her power-up ended abruptly during the apprehension of a street mugger, reveals to her father, George Stacy, the loss of her powers and her limited number of power-ups. Their home is soon invaded and Gwen and her father are attacked by a succession of animals under the control of Kraven. May Parker, dropping by for a visit, help fight them off, but the attack culminates in Kraven himself besting a powerless (her power-up bracelet broken in the animal attacks) Gwen and removing her mask (which she had quickly donned) while being observed and photographed by Castle from a little distance away. George manages to subdue Castle and destroy his camera. Gwen is released from Kraven's grasp after he is hit by a passing car and George attempts to explain that he has called the police and that he is prepared to turn himself in as an accomplice but that Gwen needs to leave right away. Instead, Gwen renders her father unconscious and flees the scene with him in her arms. Kraven reveals that during the melee he has obtained one of the power-up isotopes which he promises to use to settle his debt to Castle.
During the Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy storyline, she poses as the Earth-616 Gwen Stacy to find out more about the location and to assist Peter in escaping the New U as she and Kaine discovered that Peter allying with Jackal and using his technology has resulted in global disasters on other Earths in the form of the Carrion Virus. After being recognized as a different Gwen Stacy by the clone of George Stacy, she and Kaine assist Spider-Man into escaping from New U Technologies and inform him about their mission.
Gwen Stacy's Spider-Woman is depicted as harboring much of Earth-616 Peter's personality, such as receiving negative media attention of herself and having the conflict of being a superheroine over her normal life of being a band member. Overall, she's still a sarcastic, wisecracking heroine when fighting criminals and supervillains. Spider-Gwen (Vol. 2) #1's summary of the character reveals that she originally used her powers for attention. After advice expressed to Gwen by her father that Spider-Woman could use her powers for good, she was motivated to stop bullying, which the Peter Parker in Earth 65 was a victim of. Spider-Woman became an idol to Peter and he used an experimentation of himself to become a superhero just like her. Which lead to his demise. She was branded a criminal after Peter's death, having been blamed for killing him. Jesse Schedeen of IGN felt that was the most intriguing change of her story. Peter Parker becoming "both Gwen's first major villain and the defining, Uncle-Ben-style tragedy in her life." Evan Narcisse from Kotaku explained that it was a role reversal that felt "enriching" to what the creators attended to do. Which is giving Gwen Stacy "a reason to live".
After saving her father's life and revealing her identity to her father, she vows to use her powers to stop crime. Captain Stacy is then depicted as choosing his daughter over his job. Meagan Damore of Comic Book Resources opined that even though Captain Stacy is no Uncle Ben, he fills the wise mentor role for Gwen very well.
Powers and abilities
Spider-Woman is depicted as having similar powers of Spider-Man which originated from a bite by a radioactive spider. These power include sticking and climbing on walls, a sixth sense to danger (that she has yet to master) and being able to lift approximately 10 tons. Although she has currently been depowered.
She owns web-shooters that were given by her and created by retired crime fighter and billionaire mogul, Janet van Dyne. The mechanisms help filter moisture from the air that help create an adhesive web-fluid that can create web nets, ropes and globs and many other shapes. They also help her swing building to building. The web-shooters do not require refill as long as moisture is present. She also has a possession of a wristwatch that helps her travel to other multiverses due to the "Spider-Verse" events. She is commonly depicted as using her smartphone for superhero equipment.
Being the daughter of police captain, George Stacy, she is depicted as having detecting skills and analytical thinking. She's untrained in fighting and only picked up on fighting from kung fu films. She's also depicted as being skilled at being a drummer.
Outside of the events that happen in Earth-65, she is still depicted as a core member of the Web Warriors helping protect the Spider-Verse from many disasters throughout the Multiverse.
During the 2015 "Secret Wars" storyline, a version of Spider-Woman appears in the pages of A-Force. This version resides on the Battleworld domain of Arcadia. She saves Mary Jane Watson during an invasion of the Marvel Zombies after Arcadia's Loki had fired at the part of the Shield that was closest to Arcadia.
A child version of her appears in Giant Size Little Marvel: AVX as a new kid that Tony Stark tries to ask out on a date. She rejects him because he's a kid with a goatee and mustache.
A version of Spider-Gwen appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series as a denizen of the show's version of the Ultimate Universe, voiced by Dove Cameron.
On Earth-8, Spider-Gwen is married to Miles Morales and is the mother of Charlotte and Max Morales, both of whom also have Spider Powers as well.
Promotion and reception
Gwen Stacy's Spider-Woman has received a popular reaction to both journalists and comic book fans. Her design has especially received positive reception and is a popular choice for cosplay and fan art after her debut. Evan Narcisse of Kotaku opined that the character design is in part of what made the character so popular and "is one of the best riffs on the Spider-Man motifs in decades." Andrew Wheeler from ComicsAlliance felt that even though Gwen Stacy should stay dead; the costume inspired him to want Gwen back from the dead. He also cited it as a potential favorite superhero costume in years. The creative director of Marvel Games, Bill Rosemann, described it as "one of the greatest modern superhero designs."
Jesse Schedeen from IGN reviewing the first Spider-Gwen issue felt that the character never came across as merely just a female variant of Peter Parker and is also distinct from Jessica Drew, Spider-Girl, Anya Corazon, and many other female-themed Spider costume characters as well. Jessie felt that Gwen had her own set of hang-ups and her own brand of humor to stand apart from her own. Doug Zawisza from Comic Book Resources described Gwen as "likeable and humorous, conflicted but determined and quick with a zinger." He also felt that "Latour gives Gwen real world problems as well as superheroic ones. She has family problems and perception problems."
The character has drawn critical attention on a feminism perspective. Aja Romano of The Daily Dot felt that the new take on Gwen Stacy was a fresh take on the original Gwen Stacy due to a common trope of women dying for the sake of men's angst. She praises the fact that instead of taking the role of superhero's girlfriend, Jason Latour gives her the chance to shine instead by turning her into a "fully formed person." Joshua Rivera of Entertainment Weekly felt that "Spider-Gwen succeeds because it isn't a superficial inversion, but an examination of what makes Spider-Man an important character."
Gwen Stacy's Spider-Woman was listed as the seventh best Spider-Men by Newsarama. Ryan Lynch of Screen Rant placed Spider-Gwen as the second greatest alternate versions of Spider-Man opining that she was "a unique take on the Spider-mythos that provided unique stories based on fleshed out characters with clever writing." Chris Sims from ComicsAlliance ranked her as the second greatest alternate take on Spider-Man. Mark Ginnochio of Comicbook.com placed her debut as the fourth greatest alternate Spider-Man story ever told claiming that even though she is a newly created character she's on her way to be establishing herself as one of the most popular superheroines of Marvel.
Gwen's Spider-Woman inspired 20 Marvel variant covers of Gwen Stacy being a wide array of Marvel heroes. Which brought to life popular hybrids such as Gwenpool, a variant of Deadpool. A real life band called Married With Sea Monsters was inspired to sing a song named "Face It Tiger" which was based on the song sung by Spider-Gwen's fictional band called The Mary Janes.
The character's popularity has spawned merchandise of the character including shirts and action figures of the superheroine. Figures have been sold to companies such as Diamond Comic Distributors and Hasbro among others. In addition, Funko released bobblehead figures of the character. In Australia, Harley Davidson has teamed up with Marvel to create custom hero-themed motorcycles including a design based on Spider-Gwen.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man vs. the Sinister Six and Marvel Rising, she was voiced by Dove Cameron, who also played Liv and Maddie Rooney, and Mal.
- In Marvel's Spider-Man (2017), she is voiced by Laura Bailey, who also voiced Tohru Honda, Rayne, Nadine Ross, Supergirl, and Mary Jane Watson.
- Bailey also voiced the character in Spider-Man: Unlimited, where Gwen is an unlockable character.
- In Marvel Heroes, she was voiced by Ashley Johnson, who also voiced Peter Shepherd, Gretchen Grundler, Jinmay, Terra, Gwen Tennyson, Ellie, and Petra.
- In Marvel Avengers Academy, she as voiced by Catherine Luciani.