Hello interweb, Nate here. So I figured with All-New, All-Different Marvel going on right now this is the perfect time to start reading characters that you’ve never read before. So I decided to go over the history of Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales. I’ll probably have Mile’s bio up soon but right now it’s all about Gwen.
Company: Marvel Comics
Universe: Earth – 65
Name: Gwendolyne “Gwen” Stacy
Alias: Spider-woman, Spider-Gwen (Editorial name)
Occupation: College student, vigilante/superhero, fugitive
Affiliations: A-Force and Web Warriors
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, reflex, durability, and endurance; Wall Crawling; Spider-sense; and a small healing factor
Equipment: Twin web shooters mounted on both wrists
Weaknesses: Very inexperienced
The concept of Gwen Stacy being bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker was first created by Dan Slott for the Spider-Verse event where all the Spider-Men and Spider-Women from the Marvel Multiverse joined together to take down a common foe. While Slott had the idea for this Gwen Stacy, Jason Latour (who would later write her comic) took the concept and altered it to his liking.
Her origins would be told in the stand-alone issue Edge of Spider-Verse #2 but due to the popularity of the character it was announced in the 2014 New York Comic-Con that the character would get her own series that hit the shelves in February of 2015. Due to the Secret Wars event, Spider-Gwen’s title will be one of the relaunches of the current All-New, All-Different Marvel and will be on sale in October of 2015.
Spider-Gwen comes from an alternate universe where Gwen Stacy was bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker. She than decided to use her new abilities to become the superheroine known as Spider-woman. However, Peter Parker grew jealous of Gwen’s new found powers and decided that he wanted to be special too. So using his scientific know-how, Peter whipped up a formula that transformed him into the Lizard. In his reptilian state, Peter was unable to control himself and Spider-woman was forced to battle him and ended up killing him.
When the police showed up, all they saw was Spider-woman holding the dead body of Peter Parker in her arms and declared her a criminal. Because of this, Spider-woman is now being tracked down by the police while capturing the attention of the Kingpin. The Kingpin sent his men after Gwen Stacy as he want Spider-woman to work for him. While looking for Spider-woman, Kingpin’s men found Captain Stacy (Gwen’s father and cop) and he would’ve been killed if Spider-Woman didn’t intervene. However while Gwen managed to saver her father, she also revealed to him that Gwen Stacy and Spider-woman is the same person.
Soon after this was Spider-Verse and this is where I’ll probably be spitting out a bunch of different Spider-men so just bear with me here. Gwen Stacy was found by Spider-man UK and asked to help the other Spider-Men in their quest to save the multiverse. When she met up on Earth – 616 (the main Marvel Universe), Peter Parker/Spider-man of Earth – 616 was hesitant to let her join due to the fact that he failed to save his Gwen Stacy. After they agreed to watch each other’s backs, Gwen went to recruit an alternate version of Peter Parker who went insane after Gwen Stacy’s death, killed the Green Goblin, and became the Hobgoblin (is it just me or is it super easy to drive someone to insanity in comics). Gwen tries to convince Peter Parker/Hobgoblin to join them before they are attacked. Hobgoblin sacrifices himself to save Spider-Woman and she is soon sent back to Earth – 65.
Back on Earth – 65, it is revealed that the Vulture of that universe has been terrorizing the city and people were asking where Spider-woman went even though they didn’t want her before she left. While this is going on, she ignores call after call by The Mary Janes (a band that she was in) who wants her back after she basically quite before Spider-Verse. How could she fix all this damage? How could she talk to her dad again? And how could she rejoin the band and her friends?
Gwen than decided that the best thing to do next was go after the Vulture. She spray-painted graffiti all over the city to draw him out and succeeded. After a quick fight with the Vulture, she found herself defeated and unconscious on a garbage boat. When she finally woke up, she was greeted by Spider-ham A.K.A. Peter Porker (long story short, he’s from a universe where all of the Marvel heroes are animals). Whole Spider-ham was just a figment of her imagination, she stayed with her during the rest of the story acting as her Jimminey Cricket of sorts. While Talking to Spider-ham she notices that her phone is missing which revealed that her Father managed to obtain the phone and hid it from the other cops.
Later that day, her friends from The Mary Janes found Gwen at a bar and brought her to Mary Jane’s house. She woke up and her friends argue about whether or not Gwen should be allowed to rejoin the band in the first place. Gwen asks Spider-ham why she brought her there and Spider-ham tells Gwen that sometime you just have to face real life. Gwen tells him that she just can’t and walks out on her friends.
Meanwhile Franks Castle (who on Earth-616 is the Punisher but here is an ordinary detective) is attempting to find leads on the Spider-woman fugitive. At the same time this is happening, Matt Murdock (who on Earth – 616 is the superhero Daredevil, is the Kingpin’s assistant here) is beating up the Vulture for fighting with Spider-woman who’s the Kingpin’s to take care of.
Gwen suits up as Spider-woman and swings alongside the imaginary Spider-ham, telling him that she can’t face her friends before taking down the Vulture. Spider-ham than tells her that she’s doing this for the wrong reasons and that she can’t change the past. She must face real life and not use Spider-woman as an excuse to avoid that. Spider-woman finally takes his advice and meets up with her father in an alley. Her father returns the phone and they both head over to their house with Gwen undressing from her Spider-woman uniform. Captain Stacy tells Gwen that she can’t be Spider-woman anymore and that she needs to stop all of her vigilante ways. But Gwen tells him that she can’t help people without Spider-woman and that Gwen Stacy is part of the problem.
During this emotional scene between daughter and father, Gwen’s spider-senses flare up as Vulture crashes into the room and fills the place with gas. He attacks Captain Stacy, asking what his connections to Spider-woman is. During this, Gwen slips off to suit back up and than attacks Vulture. They fight it out in the gas before Spider-woman lands the final punch and knocks Vulture unconscious. However the gas is starting to effect her and is making her dizzy as Frank Castle shows up wearing a gas mask and two weapons in each hand. Castle starts to attack Spider-woman but while the gas effects Gwen, Castle manages unmask her and is surprised to see that Spider-woman is actually a teenaged girl. While Castle’s guard is down, Gwen punches him with so much force that he falls onto a nearby police car and is knocked unconscious.
Gwen didn’t know where to go from here so she went off to the Parker’s house hold where her father went to during the fight. She walked over to their front door where she’s greeted by Ben Parker who invites her into their house. While there, Gwen notices some old newspaper clippings blaming Spider-woman for the death of Peter Parker. Aunt May shows up and convinces Gwen to stay and chat since they haven’t seen each other since Peter’s death. May tells Gwen how Peter fell in love with Spider-woman when she showed up and loved the fantasy and power that comes from being a superhero. May tells Gwen that before his death, Peter and May would collect newspaper clippings of Spider-woman and May just continued to collect them after he died because it felt right. She said that when Peter died she looked for someone to blame and since Spider-woman wore a mask and fled from the scene, she must have been the one responsible. But as she continued to collect the newspaper clippings, she realized that Spider-woman is trying to do the right thing and maybe is trying to make up for Peter’s death, but most important of all, maybe hiding behind her mask makes her pretend that she has no choice but to be a superhero so she doesn’t have to face reality.
Gwen takes May’s words to heart and decides that she must make up with her friends. She shows up to a concert being played and her friends decides to let her rejoin. But another band called the Black Cats (if you’re a Spider-man fan you should recognize that name) is also there and ninjas shows up to kidnap their lead singer. During the attack, Spider-woman shows up and meets Matt Murdock for the first time in person.
And that’s the last thing to happen to Spider-Gwen before Secret Wars. I really like this character and it was fun reading her first run. Now Spider-Gwen is still a fairly new character so it’ll be easy to simply find her previous run and read through that yourself. However if you just want to start reading her from All-New, All-Different Marvel and this bio should prepare you with all you need to know. Her current title is two issues in and is called Radioactive Spider-Gwen and I have enjoyed both issues so you can pick those up at your local comic book store.
- Edge of Spider-Verse #2
- Spider-Gwen Vol. 1
- Spider-Gwen Vol. 2 (current)