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Marvel Spotlight #32: Review

Feb 1977
Archie Goodwin, Jim Mooney

Story Name:

Dark Destiny!

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Marvel Spotlight #32 Review by (July 19, 2021)

Review: Okay tale for having to be rushed into print to prevent Filmation from copyrighting a Spider-Woman character (whose name then became Web-Woman). Check out Brian Cronin’s Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #28 for further details. The whole origin thing is pretty bizarre (she’s really a genuine spider? No way!) and she seems over-emotional, crying and moaning (what even the bad guy calls her “overwrought moments”) when things get too crazy. Eventually everything would work out and she would get a real origin, a real personality, real hair (Bendis called it the best hair in comics), and her own title for a while. But this initial exploit is not to be missed. 

Comments: First appearance/“origin” of Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew); her origin would be quickly retconned. Her next appearances are in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #29-33. The Bullpen Bulletin notes the addition of John Romita Jr. to the Marvel staff.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Spotlight #32 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

On the Riviera, Spider-Woman glides through the air to the building housing the Mediterranean branch of SHIELD. She reaches the roof unseen and enters stealthily. She is on a mission for Hydra: kill Nick Fury….

Fury has been called to the site to interrogate a captive Hydra Agent named Jared. As he beats the captive trying to extract information from him, Spider-Woman enters and fires non-lethal venom bolts to take out everyone in the room but Nick Fury to rescue the man she loves….

Flashback: Arachne’s earliest memory is of being driven out of a small Alpine village because of her strange powers. She was taken in by Count Otto Vermis who was an area commander for Hydra. After they used a mind probe on her to uncover her full memories (to be revealed later in the tale) she was trained to use her various powers, given a costume and code name—and she fell in love with her trainer Jared. And then Jared was captured by SHIELD and Arachne was assigned to kill Nick Fury and rescue Jared…

…and now that’s what she is doing, firing venom bolts at Fury who is dodging them and then she accidentally wounds Jared in the fight. Then she sees Jared’s file on the video screen, revealing that he, like all Hydra agents, is a ruthless killer. The dying Jared tells her he never loved her but was assigned to pretend so that she could be more easily duped into this mission. Angered by the deception, Arachne returns to Hydra HQ in her flyer, which she sends crashing through the roof, shooting down bad guys—and SHIELD is right behind her to mop up. She pursues and captures Vermis who offers to tell her of her real identity if she lets him get away. They go to his secret rocket plane and he fills her in on her origin: she was an actual spider, turned human by the High Evolutionary. The other New Men hated her so she fled to a nearby village where she fell in love with a guy but accidentally killed him with her venom powers. This trauma is what caused her amnesia, leading to her recruitment into Hydra. While she is agonizing, Vermis hurls a poison gas pellet at her and takes off. But her natural venomous nature makes her immune to the poison and she flies after the ship, bending its tail so that Vermis crashes into the mountain as she glides to safety. Back at the HQ Nick Fury can’t find Spider-Woman who has run off into the woods to come to terms with her strange nature….

Jim Mooney
Joe Sinnott
Janice Cohen
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
? (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Sal Buscema. Letterer: Irv Watanabe.


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