Madame Web

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Madame Web
Madame-Web.png
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man #210 (November 1980)
Created by Denny O'Neil
John Romita, Jr.
In-story information
Alter ego Cassandra Webb
Species Human Mutant
Abilities Gifted intellect
Telepathy
Clairvoyance
Precognition

Madame Web (Cassandra Webb) is a fictional supporting character in the Spider-Man comic book series.

Publication history[edit]

Madame Web was created by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist John Romita, Jr., and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #210 (November 1980).[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Cassandra Webb was born in Salem, Oregon. She is a paralyzed, blind, telepathic, clairvoyant, and precognitive mutant, allowing her to work as a professional medium. She was originally stricken with myasthenia gravis and was connected to a life support system designed by her husband Jonathan Webb, which included a series of tubes shaped like a spider-web.

When Spider-Man approached her to help find kidnapped Daily Globe publisher K.J. Clayton (actually an impersonator), Madame Web used her powers to help him locate and rescue both the real and the fake Clayton, but disclosed to him that she had divined his secret identity.[2] In the "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut!" story arc, she contacts Spider-Man for assistance when Black Tom Cassidy dispatches the Juggernaut to capture her in the hope that her psychic powers would help them defeat the X-Men, only for her to nearly die after Juggernaut separated her from her life-support system. This triggered a vicious fight between Spider-Man and the Juggernaut, who was subsequently trapped in a construction site's wet cement foundation.[3] From the shock to her system, however, Madame Web apparently lost her memory of Spider-Man's secret identity.[4]

Webb is the grandmother of the fourth Spider-Woman, Charlotte Witter. She participates in an arcane ritual known as the "Gathering of the Five", gaining immortality; she is restored to youth and her myasthenia gravis is cured.[5] Webb serves as a mentor of sorts to the third Spider-Woman, the young Mattie Franklin.[6]

Madame Web has resurfaced[7] and her psychic powers are intact after Decimation. However, since House of M (in which she did appear young) she seems to have regained her aged appearance, though the myasthenia gravis remains gone;[volume & issue needed] this could indeed be taken as an effect of Decimation.[volume & issue needed]

Madame Web again returns in a back-up feature in The Amazing Spider-Man #600. She looks into the future, showing what are apparently quick looks into Spider-Man's future, only to see someone "unravelling the web of fate", and fearfully exclaiming "They're hunting spiders." After that, she is attacked by Ana Kravinoff and her mother, Sasha. The pair incapacitate her and then claim "we now have our eyes".[8] She is seen still captured by Ana and her mother, as they inspect their new quarry, Mattie Franklin. While still bound in a chair, she apologizes to a then-unconscious Mattie,[9] who is later killed by Sasha Kravinoff.[10]

At the conclusion of "Grim Hunt" Madame Web has her throat slashed by Sasha Kravinoff in retaliation, as Sasha believed that Madame Web was deceiving her and knew the outcome of the events that transpired. Before dying, she reveals she is no longer blind, and passes her psychic powers over to Julia Carpenter.[11]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Madame Web is a mutant that possesses psychic sensory powers including telepathy, clairvoyance, prescience, and the ability to sense the presence of psionic powers in others. She can also perform psychic surgery and appear to others in spirit (astral) form. She has a gifted intellect.

When dying she displayed the ability to transfer her mutation to another individual, Julia Carpenter, as well as her blindness.[volume & issue needed]

Madame Web was a victim of myasthenia gravis, a disorder of neuromuscular junction transmission. As a result, she was an invalid entirely dependent on external life support for survival. This is no longer the case as she was cured of the condition some time ago. She is also blind. Madame Web is cybernetically linked to a spider-web-like life support chair which attends to all of her bodily needs.

Other versions[edit]

  • A version of Madame Web makes a brief appearance in the heroic fantasy world of Avataars: Covenant of the Shield as "the Widow of the Web", a spider-goddess who grants Webswinger (the Spider-Man parallel) his powers.[volume & issue needed]
  • Webb also appeared during the "House of M" storyline as a therapist employed by S.H.I.E.L.D.[12]
  • Madame Web died in the MC2 universe, but her reputation has inspired an entire temple of prophetic acolytes.[volume & issue needed]
  • Madame Web appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man. In issue #102, she is part of the psych team that plans to change Ultimate Spider-Woman's memories.[13] She appears in a wheelchair (implying paralysis) and blind, similar to the classic version. However, she is younger than that version of the character.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Animated Madame Web, as she appeared in the 1990s animated series.
  • Madame Web appeared in the Spider-Man animated series voiced by Joan Lee (the wife of Stan Lee). In the cartoon, she had a recurring role giving Spider-Man cryptic yet always vital advice and eventually led him to the Beyonder. Spider-Man's relationship with Madame Web was reluctant as he wanted to live his life autonomously, whereas she insisted he would need her knowledge for the upcoming difficulties. Instead of being a mutant, Madame Web was a cosmic entity of great mystical power (dwarfing Doctor Strange's powers) thus ignoring her human origin from the comic book. In the series, her role was typically to act as cryptic adviser to Spider-Man, offering him strange clues and riddles that would ultimately help him, as well as supposedly training him for the upcoming 'Ultimate Battle'. Madame Web's first appeared in a cameo in the third season's premiere episode "Doctor Strange". She made a full appearance in the next episode "Make a Wish" introducing herself and revealing her knowledge of Spider-Man's life and secret identity. In the episode "The Ultimate Slayer," she saves Spider-Man from Alistair Smythe giving Spider-Man the cryptic riddle on why Alistair Smythe is attacking on Kingpin's behalf. In the episode "Tombstone," Madame Web gives Spider-Man a cryptic riddle that would help Robbie Robertson save his son Randy Robertson from joining up with Tombstone. In the episode "Venom Returns" and "Carnage," Madame Web tells Spider-Man that the only way to stop Baron Mordo's plot to release Dormammu is to keep his friends close but his enemies closer. This resulted in Spider-Man working with Iron Man and Venom to stop Baron Mordo and Carnage. In the episode "Turning Point," Spider-Man tells Madame Web that he wants to end their relationship as Madame Web states that he will one day yearn for her wisdom on the day when the "two-headed monster" rises from the Netherworld. After Mary Jane and Norman Osborn's disappearance, Spider-Man calls Madame Web and she instantly appears after saying out loud it cannot end like this. He asks her if she can bring both of them back and that he promises that he will do anything she wants. Madame Web says she is unable to help and says this is path for himself and once this decision is made, there is no turning back. She also says this is yet another thing that he will have to learn. Spider-Man unmasks himself yelling he's tired of Madame Web, her riddles, her lessons and her supreme arrogance, and she doesn't ever enter his life again. Madame Web tells Peter he's still the Chosen One and when the time comes for the Ultimate Battle, she will return and send for him. Madame returned at the end of "The Return of Hydro-Man" Pt. 2 to tell Spider-Man that the "Ultimate Battle" (analogous to the Secret Wars) will begin and stating that if he cooperates, she will tell him where the real Mary Jane Watson is. In the episode "Arrival," she takes Spider-Man to an asteroid and introduces him to the Beyonder who holds his "Secret Wars" on a nearby planet. In the episode "I Really Really Hate Clones," she revealed that she and the Beyonder had been testing multiple alternate Spider-Men to help resolve a crisis caused by the Spider-Carnage of an alternate universe, whose actions had led to the destruction of all reality. Madam Web and the Beyonder had managed to rewind time to stop the destruction from ever taking place, but required the aid of the Spider-Men to stop it happening again. In the episode "Farewell Spider-Man," Madame Web continues the mission with the Spider-Men after Beyonder returned to his world following him sending the Man-Spider back to its reality. Madame Web transports Spider-Man from Ben Reilly's reality to the high-tech Spider-Man's reality where Spider-Carnage escaped to. After the Spider-Carnage had been defeated, Web briefly took Spider-Man to the real world to have a brief conversation with Stan Lee (who was stricken by her beauty, possibly an allusion to the relationship of the voice actors) and subsequently departed with him to search for Mary Jane Watson (who had vanished into a dimensional rift back in the episode "Turning Point"), as Peter was "certainly entitled to some happiness".

Video games[edit]

  • Madame Web appears in Spider-Man's Questprobe game.
  • In the video game Ultimate Spider-Man, the Human Torch may mock Spider-Man during the game's races by saying, "Madame Web is faster than you, and I don't even get the reference!", an allusion to the fact that Madame Web did not exist in the Ultimate universe at that point.
  • Madame Web appears in the video game Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, voiced by Susanne Blakeslee. She tells Spider-Man about the Tablet of Order and Chaos, and orders him and three other dimension counterparts to retrieve each of its pieces in their respective universes and repair the damage Mysterio has done.[14] She provides instructions to the Spider-Men about their powers, including new ones given by her such as Spider-Man's spider sense upgrade which allows him to see through objects, Spider-Man 2099's spider-sense, Spider-Man Noir's web-swinging, and uses her telepathic powers to keep Ultimate Spider-Man's symbiote from overwhelming Peter (although he still has outbursts of rage now and then). When it came to Spider-Man's next visit to Madame Web, Mysterio has followed him where he has threatened her life so that Spider-Man can bring the remaining fragments. After Mysterio is defeated, Madame Web thanked the Spider-Men for saving the Tablet of Order and Chaos. During the credits, Madame Web is visited by Spider-Ham who quotes to her "So, what'd I miss" as Madame Web is surprised at Spider-Ham's arrival.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1980s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 116. ISBN 978-0756692360. Writer Denny O'Neil's newest contribution to the Spider-Man mythos would come in the form of psychic Madame Web, a character introduced with the help of artist John Romita, Jr. 
  2. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #210
  3. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #229
  4. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #230
  5. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #441
  6. ^ Spider-Woman Vol. 3 #1-11, 14, Alias #17
  7. ^ as of Sensational Spider-Man #26 (Part 4 of "Feral")
  8. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #600
  9. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #611
  10. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #634
  11. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #637
  12. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #2
  13. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #102
  14. ^ "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Video - SDCC 10: Opening Cinematic (Cam)". GameTrailers. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 

External links[edit]