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Spider-Woman (II)

REAL NAME: Julia Cornwall Carpenter
KNOWN ALIASES: Arachne; considered using Ariadne
IDENTITY: Secret, known to certain government officials
OCCUPATION: Mother, otherwise currently unrevealed; formerly adventurer, government agent
CITIZENSHIP: U.S.A.
PLACE OF BIRTH: Los Angeles, California
KNOWN RELATIVES: Rachel Carpenter (daughter), Walter Cornwall (father), Elizabeth Cornwall (mother), Larry Carpenter (ex-husband, deceased)
GROUP AFFILIATION: Formerly Avengers, Queen's Vengeance, Force Works, Secret Defenders, Commission on Superhuman Activities, Freedom Force
EDUCATION: College dropout, federal agent training
FIRST APPEARANCE: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 (1984)

HISTORY: An athletic young single mother, Julia Carpenter was drawn into a covert double life by an old college friend, federal agent Valerie Cooper, who believed Julia would be an ideal test subject for a secret government super-agent program. Cooper promised her cash-strapped friend lucrative employment and manipulated Julia into undergoing a series of experimental treatments, including injections of a formula incorporating rare Amazon jungle plants and spider venoms. The formula gave Julia superhuman powers, and she became an operative of the Commission on Superhuman Activities (CSA) as Spider-Woman.

Spider-Woman was present in a suburb of Denver, Colorado when it was transported to a distant location in outer space by the alien Beyonder to become part of the Battleworld he created as the setting for the first of the so-called “secret wars.” Spider-Woman has claimed she has “good friends” living there; but in truth it was she who was living there. Seeing evidence of the fighting taking place on Battleworld among the superhuman beings that the Beyonder had brought to the planet, Spider-Woman, in costume, sought out the team of superhuman champions from Earth and offered her assistance, which they accepted. She served as an effective member of their team, and, at the conclusion of the “secret war,” was, like most of her teammates, teleported back to Earth.

Julia's ex-husband Larry had lost custody of their daughter Rachel after Julia divorced him for cheating on her; but when Julia's secret Spider-Woman career led to frequent unexplained absences on her part, Larry sued for custody of Rachel and won. Meanwhile, Spider-Woman served reluctantly with the ruthless CSA-sponsored super-team Freedom Force until they arrested the Avengers on false treason charges. Spider-Woman, who greatly admired the Avengers, was severely troubled by seeing the treatment they received from Freedom Force, Cooper, and National Security agent Henry Peter Gyrich. Gyrich had the Avengers incarcerated in a special prison for superhuman beings called the Vault. Spider-Woman went to the Vault wondering if she should do something to help the Avengers. She worried that doing so would mean that she would have to leave Freedom Force, and that Freedom Force would retaliate against her. Spider-Woman had decided not to intervene until she saw how the Avengers were treated at their trial, but then she accidentally set of an alarm. Now her presence was known, thinking she would never get another chance to do so, she decided to free the Avengers. She destroyed the controls for the feeding mechanisms in the team’s cells, enabling the Wasp to escape. All the Avengers were soon free and escaped the Vault. The Avengers finally cleared their names of wrongdoing, but Spider-Woman had fled.

Cooper later gave Carpenter a second chance, employing her as a solo operative supervised by unscrupulous CSA agent Mike Clemson; but after aiding the Avengers against the Pacific Overlords, Spider-Woman joined the Avengers and cut her ties with the CSA. While serving with the western Avengers roster, Spider-Woman fought the criminal trio Deathweb; their powers, like hers, came from the formula of the CSA's Dr. Carter Napier. Deathweb and their employer, the Manipulator, fought Spider-Woman several times, killing Larry and Napier, threatening Rachel and menacing Spider-Woman's parents, the Cornwalls, who as Amazon jungle guides had helped locate the ingredients for Napier's formula; but Spider-Woman ultimately defeated the villains.

When the Avengers decided to close their west coast base, Spider-Woman resigned in protest and joined several other ex-western Avengers in founding new Force Works super-team, though it soon disbanded. She was later forced to retire from super heroics after a crippling attack by a rival criminal Spider-Woman, Charlotte Witter, who drained away Carpenter's superhuman powers. Julia is currently working in Denver while raising her daughter.

HEIGHT: 5 ft. 9 in.
WEIGHT: 140 lbs.
EYES: Unrevealed
HAIR: Strawberry Blonde

STRENGTH LEVEL: Spider-Woman possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) at least 10 tons, although the limits of her strength still remain unknown.

SUPERHUMAN POWERS: Spider-Woman apparently has the ability to mentally control the flux of inter-atomic attraction between molecular boundary layers. This ability to affect the attraction between surfaces is limited to Spider-Woman’s body (especially concentrated in her hands and feet) and another object, with an upper limit of several tons per finger. She can use this ability even through her costume’s gloves and boots.

Spider-Woman can also create a “web” of psionic energy through a combination of mental concentration and physical gesturing. She cannot cause the web to materialize instantly; instead, she must “weave” it through the means described above. The psionic web has great strength, but beings with sufficient superhuman strength can break through it.

Spider-Woman’s superhuman strength enables her to leap to great heights. The Limits of her leaping abilities are as yet unknown.

SIGNIFICANT ISSUES:
Secret Wars (Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6-12, 1984-1985)
Joined Freedom Force (Uncanny X-Men #206, 1986)
Betrayed Freedom Force for Avengers (Avengers Annual #15, 1986)
Joined Avengers (Avengers West Coast #70-74, 1991)
Fought Death Web & Manipulator, Larry Carpenter slain (Avengers West Coast #84-86, 1992)
Left Avengers for Force Works (avengers West Coast #102/Force Works #1, 1994)

NOTE: Information updated from "Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Avenger 2005."

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