Essential Spider-Woman—Volume 1

essential spider-woman volume 1 cover trade paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Love the early issues in this collection

The quality of the comic starts to leave later in the collection but is still enjoyable

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Marvel Spotlight (Volume 1)/Marvel Two-In-One/Spider-Woman (Volume 1)

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Archie Goodwin/Marv Wolfman/Mark Gruenwald/Michael Fleisher/Steve Grant

Artist:  Sal Buscema/Ron Wilson/Carmine Infantino/Frank Springer/Trevor Von Eedon/Steve Leialoha

# of Issues:  31

Release Date:   2005

marvel spotlight #32 cover 1st spider-woman

Marvel Spotlight (1) #32

Reprints Marvel Spotlight (1) #32, Marvel Two-In-One #29-33, and Spider-Woman (1) #1-25 (February 1977-April 1980). Jessica Drew…Arachne…Spider-Woman…terrorist. These are all titles to a mysterious woman who finds herself working for the covert terrorist agency HYDRA. Initially believing herself to be a spider-evolved by the High Evolutionary, Jessica sets out on a quest to find her true origin when she realizes her past is a lie. Traveling to America, Jessica tries to establish herself and starts on a new quest which involves being an unlikely superhero.

Written by Archie Goodwin, Marv Wolfman, Mark Gruenwald, Michael Fleisher, and Steve Grant, Essential Spider-Woman—Volume 1 presents Spider-Woman from her initial appearance in Marvel Spotlight (1) #32 and to the first half of her self-titled series. Like most all of Marvel’s Essential titles, the reprints are black-and-white and the collection features art by Sal Buscema, Ron Wilson, Carmine Infantino, Frank Springer, Trevor Von Eedon, and Steve Leialoha.

The stories collected in the edition are quite fun, and I love Carmine Infantino’s version of the character. They have a real ’70s feels with characters ranging from Spider-Man and the Thing to characters on the darker side like Werewolf, Shroud, Brothers Grimm, and Gypsy Moth. The Spider-Woman title almost seemed to fall between Amazing Spider-Man and something like Ghost Rider. The ’70s saw this resurgence of horror, and I like that Spider-Woman straddled this fence since usually titles were one way or another.

spider-woman #3 cover brothers grimm

Spider-Woman (1) #3

The first origin of Spider-Woman, I consider the real origin of Spider-Woman. Unlike many female super-heroes who have a female origin similar to their male counterpart, Spider-Woman is completely different than Spider-Man. In 2006’s Spider-Woman: Origin, Brian Michael Bendis decided to streamline and simplify Jessica’s past for readers of The Avengers. I thought it was almost more confusing. I realize the character has a lot of history and newer readers might not know the High Evolutionary and what he did, but rewriting the origin is almost an insult since once she uncovered what happened to her it made more sense than a lot of other characters (like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver who also were tied in to the origin).

The second half of this story is a little weak. I think that the first twelve issues of the series are quite strong and I like the mystic nature. The character of Spider-Woman is strong but kind of goes another direction after issue twelve, and in Spider-Woman (1) #21, the series really changes when Spider-Woman essentially becomes a bounty hunter (and this influences the rest of the series which is contained in Essential Spider-Woman—Volume 2).

I love old Spider-Woman and liked her origin. Essential Spider-Woman—Volume 1 is a great introduction to a character with a rich history. Essential Spider-Woman—Volume 1 is a great collection of stories that are becoming increasingly difficult to find with the resurrection of the character in The Avengers. With all the movie versions of Marvel Comics, I hope someday we get a live action version of the character…of course who knows where the right are held.

Related Links:

Essential Spider-Woman—Volume 2

Spider-Woman:  Agent of S.W.O.R.D.

Spider-Woman—The Complete Series Review and Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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