Friday, October 12, 2018

I hadn't read a lot of comics this week, but since we mentioned Spider-Woman yesterday, I did have a book handy with her. Or her corpse. Or her ghost. Or her corpse and her ghost. From 1984, Avengers #240, "The Ghost of Jessica Drew!" Written by Roger Stern, with story consultant Ann Nocenti, pencils by Al Milgrom, inks by Joe Sinnott.

I actually read Spider-Woman for at least a year back in the day: my little sister had a subscription, since I had one to Star Wars. But she let hers lapse before S-W's cancellation with Spider-Woman #50. In that final issue, sixth-century sorcerer Magnus brought Spider-Woman's astral form back in time for a final battle with Morgan le Fey. Morgan gets knocked out of her castle and reduced to a pile of bones by Merlin's spell, but back in the present Jessica discovers her body, dead; Morgan's revenge. She asks Magnus to cast a "spell of forgetfulness," erasing the memory of Spider-Woman from the world. It doesn't work as well as advertised: her close friends (which included the Shroud and Tigra) remember immediately, and the gathered Avengers recall her with a little prompting. But Magnus had an ulterior motive in the spell, wanting Jessica to stay with her in the astral plane.

In San Francisco, Tigra has brought Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel, and She-Hulk to Jessica's hospital room, where she lies barely alive. The Avengers bring in Dr. Strange and Dr. Henry Pym; with this being Hank's first time with the team since his and Jan's divorce. While everyone can tell she's pretty wrecked about this, Jan keeps it together. The doctors realize Jessica's mind, her soul, aren't home; while Magnus explains Morgan has turned her venom-blast power against her, using it to keep her out. Willing to risk it to live again, Jessica asks Magnus to cast the spell, with neither realizing Morgan le Fey was watching--and ready to take Jessica's body for herself!

There's more than a little exposition this issue, a lot of set-up for the next, but still some decent character beats. Some years back, we checked out the Marvel Two-In-One issue where Spider-Woman lost her "immunity factor," and she's on her way to losing her venom blasts here. In 1988 she would be back in Wolverine, as private investigator Jessica Drew, with short hair and down to wall-crawling powers, I think. I don't recall her getting a lot of play, though; her resurgence was still a few years--and another Spider-Woman or two--away.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

I'm curious as to the reasoning why the powers that be decided to reduce Spider-Woman's powers and superhero status in such a drastic way like that. Sure she got better eventually, but why de-power her and shove her off to the side like that?