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||(In shadow):
Spectacular Spider-Man #262 (November 1998)
The Amazing Spider-Man #441 (1998)
The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #5
|Created by||John Byrne
|Alter ego||Martha "Mattie" Franklin|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina and reflexes
Flight at subsonic speeds
Psionic spider legs and webbing
Precognitive "Spider Sense"
Ability to cling to solid surfaces
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 an almost 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, which she revealed during a state of delirium after suffering a head injury in battle. 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 who happens to be her aunt. 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. 
She is featured in the series Contest of Champions II. Having escaped from brutal gladitorial fights other Earth superheroes are unwittingly brainwashed into it, she flees into a mysterious jungle and is almost slain by foe and naive friend alike. She ultimately teams up with all original heroes and veterans Iron Man and Psylocke.
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, as well as using her for prostitution. 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 with which she was sedated.
After the events of Alias, Mattie had retired from being a superhero and became a private investigator. However, she dons the costume once more to track 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 had 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. Madame Web expresses a great amount of grief before she is killed, tearfully comforting her and saying she was a fine Spider-Woman who saved lives.
Powers and abilities
Mattie Franklin possessed a variety of superhuman powers. After participating in the Gathering of Five ceremony, Mattie was given the gift of "Power". This granted her superhuman strength on par with Spider-Man's, as well as superhuman speed, agility, stamina and reflexes, and invulnerability. Mattie also gained the power to fly at subsonic speeds.
After a battle with Charlotte Witter, Mattie briefly lost her powers before regaining not only her own powers, but also those of Witter, the two previous Spider Women, Jessica Drew and Julia Carpenter, and Madame Web. This granted her the ability to produce powerful blasts of concentrated bio-electricity, create webbing of psionic energy, grow four "psychic spider legs" from her back, as well as mild telepathic and precognitive powers. Due to her inexperience, Mattie was not able to make full use of the previous Spider Women's abilities.
After a short time, Julia and Jessica regained their powers, which left Mattie with her original abilities and those of Charlotte Witter.
Spider-Man pursued Norman Osborn sooner than he did in the main continuity, and therefore, interfering The Gathering of Five ceremony. Mattie fled with the artifacts needed, and later gained the gift of power.
A version of Mattie from an alternate universe makes a brief cameo in the Spider-verse storyline as part of the Spider-Army.
Marvel Universe vs The Avengers
When a plague turned the world's population into cannibals, Mattie was among the many superheroes who succumbed to it. She was seen battling Black Widow, alongside her infected mentor Jessica Drew.
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
- Spider-Woman vol. 3 #9
- 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
- Contest of Champions II #1-5 (Sept. 1999 – Nov. 1999)
- Alias #16–21
- The Loners #1
- The Loners #5
- The Loners #6
- The Amazing Spider-Man #611
- Amazing Spider-Man #634
- The Amazing Spider-Man #441 (1998)
- Spider-Woman vol. 3 #1
- Spider-Woman vol. 3 #5
- Spider-Girl #49
- Spider-Girl #39
- Spider-Verse #2
- Marvel Universe Vs. The Avengers #4