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Jessica Drew Reading Order, the first Spider-Woman

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Spider-Woman / Jessica Drew Reading Ordere

Like with ‘Spider-Girl’, the code name ‘Spider-Woman’ has been used by several characters, and the first and original one was Jessica Drew. Created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin, the character first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #32, in February 1977, working for Hydra and with no memories of her past.

At the time, our Spider-Woman was not destined for great things, as she was just created in order for Marvel to secure the copyright for the name “Spider-Woman.” But with the success of her debut, Marvel decided that she would have her own solo series, written by Marv Wolfman who redesigned the character and gave her a human identity as Jessica Drew.

The comic book introduced her origin story and to put it simply, Jessica Drew has a bizarre backstory. It is complicated by contradicting origin stories, with Brian Michael Bendis revisiting her history in the 2000s and changing how Jessica received her powers.

Since her first appearance, Jessica Drew has been a spy and a superhero. She has been an agent of HYDRA, S.H.I.E.L.D., and S.W.O.R.D. but also a member of the Avengers and the Web-Warriors as well as a Private detective. And she will soon make her animated movie debut in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One).

Jessica Drew Reading Order:

Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman (1977 – 1983)

Following her first appearance in Marvel Spotlight #32, Spider-Woman soon headlined her own solo series which lasted 50 issues, written by Marv Wolfman, Chris Claremont, Ann Nocenti, among others, with art by Carmine Infantino, Steve Leialoha, and more. During that time, she was also the star of the animated television series Spider-Woman (1979-1980), voiced by Joan Van Ark.

After the conclusion of Spider-Woman with issue #50, the mystery of Jessica Drew is dealt with in Avengers:

During this series, Spider-Woman made a few appearances in other titles not collected in the essential editions. The most important ones are in bold:

Jessica Drew, Private Detective (1983 – 1999)

Following the events in Avengers, Jessica Drew has abandoned her Spider-Woman identity and pursued her life as a private investigator in San Francisco, assisted by Lindsay McCabe and, for a time, by Tigra.

During that period, Jessica Drew doesn’t have her own series and is mostly a guest star in other Marvel titles. Her path will cross with Wolverine more than once, as well as with the new Spider-Woman…

Spider-Woman, featuring Jessica Drew (1999 – 2003)

Mattie Franklin made her first full appearance as the third Spider-Woman in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #5, a story that led to the launch of her own Spider-Woman series (written by John Byrne). And the title featured all the past and new Spider-Women — including Jessica Drew, present during the first eleven issues. During that time, she becomes a mentor to Mattie. Due to mediocre sales, the title was canceled after issue #18.

  • Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #5 (1999)
    Collected in Spider-Man By John Byrne Omnibus
  • Spider-Woman #1-8 (1999)
    Not collected yet.
  • Amazing Spider-Man #14 (2000)
    Collected in Spider-Man By John Byrne Omnibus. To read after Spider-Woman #8 as the story told continues in Spider-Woman #9.
  • Spider-Woman #9-11 (2000)
    Not collected yet.

Jessica Drew  returned in 2003 for a very dark six-issue story arc in Alias, in which private investigator Jessica Jones track down a missing Mattie Franklin:

Jessica Drew by Brian Michael Bendis (2004 – 2012)

After writing the Alias arc, Brian Michael Bendis puts Jessica back on the map, making her a member of The New Avengers and writing most of her adventures for the next decade (see Bendis’ Avengers Reading Order). Though published a little bit later, let’s enter this new period in Jessica Drew’s life with Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed’s retelling of her origin story, told in a five-issue miniseries (and illustrated by the art team of the Luna Brothers).

Bendis’s era on the Avengers was launched with Avengers Disassembled (see reading order), leading us to his New Avengers in which Jessica Drew is an important member, back as Spider-Woman.

  • New Avengers By Bendis Complete Collection Vol. 1
    Collecting Avengers (1998) #500-503 And #500 Director’s Cut, Avengers Finale, New Avengers (2004) #1-10 And #1 Director’s Cut, And New Avengers: Most Wanted Files.

    • Event: House of M (see reading order) takes place between New Avengers #10-11. Jessica Drew made a few appearances, but it doesn’t play a role in her personal history.
  • New Avengers By Bendis Complete Collection Vol. 2
    Collecting New Avengers (2004) #11-25, New Avengers: Custom #676 – Army & Air Force, Giant-Size Spider-Woman #1, New Avengers Annual (2006) #1, New Avengers: Illuminati (2006) One-Shot And Civil War: The Confession.

    • Event: Civil War. Go to the full reading order for more information as everybody and their uncle was concerned by it. New Avengers #21-25 are tie-ins.
  • New Avengers By Bendis Complete Collection Vol. 3
    Collecting Civil War: The Initiative, New Avengers (2004) #26-37, New Avengers Annual (2006) #2 And New Avengers: Illuminati (2007) #1-5.

Alert Event! Jessica Drew is one of the major characters of the Secret Invasion event, as revelations will put into perspective Spider-Woman’s actions during the past few years. And obviously, it’s a story that will leave some scars on Jessica.

  • Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.
    Collects Spider-Woman Vol. 4 #1-7. The aftermath of Secret Invasion.
  • The New Avengers By Bendis Complete Collection Vol. 5
    Collecting Free Comic Book Day 2009 (Avengers), New Avengers (2004) #55-64, Dark Reign: The List – Avengers One-Shot, New Avengers Annual (2006) #3, New Avengers Finale, And Material From Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #601 And Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way #1.

    • Event: Siege. see the full reading order. After New Avengers #61, Siege deals with the culmination of the “Dark Reign” storyline, and the end of the New Avengers title.

The end of the Dark Reign era was also marked by the end of the New Avengers title, but Brian Michael Bendis wasn’t finished with the Avengers and Jessica Drew, leading us into the Heroic Age, Fear Itself, and Avengers vs. X-Men.

Jessica Drew during Marvel NOW! (2012 – 2014)

Marvel relaunched its universe in October 2012, in which Spider-Woman was still an Avengers. During that time, she is the star of Avengers Assemble, written by Brian Michael Bendis and Kelly Sue DeConnick.

Spider-Woman also appears as a recurring character in several titles:

Spider-Woman by Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum (2014 – 2017)

Four-five years after the last Spider-Woman series (the origin story), Spider-Woman left The Avengers to headline her new solo series, written by Dennis Hopeless. The title is launched as a tie-in to Spider-Verse before having Jessica strike out to make a new life for herself.

Dennis Hopeless’ work on the title is now collected in one book:

But here is a detailed reading order for this era:

Following the destruction of the Marvel universe as we knew it (see the Secret Wars event), another Marvel initiative saw the launch of the new Spider-Woman title, still written by Dennis Hopeless and dealing with a very pregnant Jessica Drew.

Spider-Woman during Fresh Start (2018 –)

Fresh Start is a 2018 Marvel Relaunch with a back-to-basics approach. Spider-Woman is first a member of a new super-heroes team, Strikeforce, before being again the star of her own title, written by Karla Pacheco and penciled by Pere Perez. She also, as usual, appears in a number of events.

  • Spider-Geddon: Covert Ops
    Collects Spider-Force #1-3, Spider-Girls #1-3. This is Part of Spider-Geddon event, the Follow-up to Spider-Verse. Jessica Drew’s story is told in Spider-Force and the last two issues of this event.

A new team of Superheroes! Created by writer Tini Howard and artist Germán Peralta, Strikeforce enters into action when the Avengers and other Marvel heroes can’t, doing the dirty jobs for them. The team features Angela, Blade, Daimon Hellstrom, Spectrum, Spider-Woman, Wiccan, and Winter Soldier.

Like a lot of Spider-people, Jessica Drew appears in the Amazing Spider-Man title for Nick Spencer’s storyline called “Last Remains”.

The story continues…

Last Updated on May 9, 2023.

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