Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin)
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (November 2013)|
Spider-Woman from Spider-Woman vol. 3 #18.
Art by Bart Sears
|First appearance||Spectacular Spider-Man #262 (shadow) (November 1998)
The Amazing Spider-Man #441 (1998) (full appearance)
The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #5 (as Spider-Woman)
|Created by||John Byrne
|Alter ego||Martha "Mattie" Franklin|
Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin) is a fictional character who is a superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. She is the third character to be called Spider-Woman and the second to receive her own ongoing series.
The character first appeared in Spectacular Spider-Man #262 (in the shadows), in November 1998. Her first full appearance was in The Amazing Spider-Man #441 (1998), and her first appearance as Spider-Woman was in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #5 (1999), the beginning of a three-part crossover which lead directly into the launch of her own Spider-Woman series. Like Spider-Woman volume 1, Spider-Woman volume 3 pitted the protagonist against macabre and grotesque villains, and featured a closing story arc in which she looks into a mirror and sees her own face shriveled down to skin and bones. As a running joke, Spider-Woman constantly changes costumes throughout the series, including a four-issue run (#2–5) in which she adopts a new costume every issue. However, sales were mediocre and the series was cancelled with issue #18 (December 2000).
After two years' absence, Mattie Franklin returned for a six-issue story arc in Alias #16–21, but the character spends the entire story (save a three-page epilogue) in a semi-conscious state. The 2007–2008 limited series Loners thus represented Mattie Franklin's first active adventure in more than six years.
Fictional character biography
Martha "Mattie" Franklin is a troubled youth who grew up with her father after her mother died. After overhearing a phone call between her father and Norman Osborn about the The Gathering of Five, she takes her father's place during the Gathering and is endowed with the powers that Norman Osborn desired for himself.
During one of Spider-Man's temporary retirements, she wears a near-identical costume and fills in for him. Mattie has long been an obsessive fan of Spider-Man, who inspired her career as a superhero. This obsession is coupled with repressed romantic feelings for him. She is defeated by Shadrac, forcing Spider-Man to return to the costume and save her. After Spider-Man's return, she assumes the identity of Spider-Woman. Eventually Charlotte Witter, a villain also going by the name of Spider-Woman, attacks her and steals her powers. Mattie manages not only to reabsorb her own powers, but also to absorb the powers of all three previous Spider-Women. Assisted by Madame Web and Jessica Drew, she hunts down supervillains wherever she can find them.
Lonely from having only her constantly working father to live with, Franklin moves in with J. Jonah Jameson, a close friend of her father, and his wife Marla. They have Franklin (a straight A student) enrolled in a private school, where a classmate, Cheryl, spots her using her powers and becomes her friend and biggest fan. During this time, the powers Mattie absorbed from previous Spider-Women begin returning to their original owners.
While on a first date, Mattie is slipped a date rape drug. Since by this time she has completely lost the toxin resistance power she absorbed from Jessica Drew, she is rendered senseless. A small time drug dealer then exploits her to produce a drug called Mutant Growth Hormone. In order to keep her prisoner, he regularly doses her with psychoactive drugs. Private investigator Jessica Jones, with the help of Jessica Drew, rescues Mattie and returns her to Jonah and Marla. Mattie goes through counseling in order to get over her dependence on the drugs she was sedated with.
Mattie tracks down the dealers who were selling the MGH, and follows them to Los Angeles, where she attends Excelsior meetings and pretends to quit using her powers. In reality, she is using the meetings to recruit a partner to help her. She is joined by Darkhawk and Ricochet, who keep their activities secret from the rest of the group.
The trio's involvement in the MGH ring bust is revealed when Ricochet's later break-in at a Fujikawa lab results in Lightspeed being grievously wounded by Hollow (formerly Penance). The group is confronted by a woman leading armored guards and Delilah; they have come to reclaim Hollow. The matter is settled peacefully by Mickey Musashi; Mattie is frustrated about allowing the bad guys to leave. However, Mickey reminds her that she is undoing the damage for which she, Darkhawk, and Ricochet are responsible. It is revealed that another reason for her joining the support group was that she was secretly researching the Slingers. While over at Johnny's house she begins searching around, looking for evidence when she is caught by Johnny whom she sleeps with in order for him not to get suspicious. Afterwords, she privately contacts the father of Dusk, in which she confirmed that the former Slinger named Ricochet has no knowledge of Cassie's whereabouts. Mattie and Johnny later arrive at Mickey's apartment, in which they learn about both Phil and Chris fighting each other in Darkhawk armor. After defeating Phil, she learns about Phil also making a deal with Fumiko Fujikawa (just as Mickey did) and decides to leave the support group, no longer trusting them, pointing out that they forgotten about how to be heroes in trying to overcome their heroic pasts. Mattie also admits that she regrets sleeping with Ricochet.
The Gauntlet and Grim Hunt
While about to help Spider-Man against Lady Stilt-Man she is attacked by Ana Tatiana Kravinoff and captured. She awakens long enough to tell fellow prisoner Madame Web to tell Spider-Man that what happened to her is not his fault and that she didn't cry. She is then killed by Sasha Kravinoff as part of a ritual to revive her son Vladimir Kravinoff.
Powers and abilities
Mattie Franklin possessed a variety of superhuman powers, derived from her participation in the Gathering of Five and the absorption of the superhuman abilities possessed by the other Spider-Women and by Madame Web. Thus she possessed the following superhuman abilities:
- Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes/reactions, coordination, endurance
- Superhumanly acute hearing and heightened senses
- Adhesive touch that allows her to cling to walls and other surfaces via electrostatic attraction
- Immunity to all forms of non-corrosive toxins and poisons after an initial exposure to them. These initial exposures make her dizzy, but her metabolism quickly recovers and renders her immune to it.
- Immunity to all forms of radiation
- Venom blast: Spider-Woman can discharge a powerful toxin with her body's excess bio-electricity, which she focuses through her hands. These bio-electric blasts affect the nervous system, and their intensity can be regulated to deliver a minor shock, render someone unconscious, or even kill. (Their concussive force is powerful enough to puncture metal.)
- Pheromones: These chemicals can make her extremely attractive to men and tend to repulse women.
- Psionic webbing: By using psychokinetic energy, she can bind ambient free-floating molecules into strands of solid force. Her psi-webs can be used to wrap enemies, or focused into narrow web-lines that she can swing from. Due to its psychic nature, her psi-webs can be used in ways Spider-Man's webbing never could, such as causing webs to form from a distance, or controlling the movement of her webbing mentally.
- Psychic spider legs sprouting from her back. Occasionally, Mattie has been shown to be able to fire blasts of unknown energy from the tips of her spider-legs which are able to stun an opponent. Having the legs exposed is her natural state; she must concentrate in order to conceal them, which creates a constant feeling of pressure in her back.
- Moderate telepathy
- Precognitive flashes
Franklin had none of the training or experience of the earlier women who carried the Spider-Woman mantle. Due to her inexperience she was not be able to make use of all of these abilities.
In other media
- Mattie was intended to be one of Jessica Drew's alternate Spider-Woman skins in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, as was Julia Carpenter; this is shown in an unlockable concept art screen. However, in the game, she was replaced by Spider-Girl.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #441 (1998)
- The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #1
- Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #14
- The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #2
- The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #5
- Spider-Woman vol. 3 #1
- Spider-Woman vol. 3 #3–14
- Spider-Woman vol. 3 #3
- Spider-Woman vol. 3 #4
- Spider-Woman vol. 3 #5
- Alias #19–21
- The Loners #1
- The Loners #5
- The Loners #6
- The Amazing Spider-Man #611
- Amazing Spider-Man #634
- Mattie's profile at Spiderfan.org
- Profile of the MC2 version of the character in the Appendix to the Marvel Handbook