Spider-Woman has always been a character with missed potential, and that’s likely due to her origins. Despite her name essentially announcing her as the female equivalent of Spider-Man, she’s largely unrelated to Marvel’s premiere hero. Showcasing this weakness was the heroine’s Ultimate Universe counterpart, who finally fixed that grave mistake.
Ultimate Spider-Woman was related to Peter Parker in a very literal way, finally putting her front and center in his world. Combining the identities and costumes of the most well-known Spider-Women, this incarnation truly was Spider-Man’s female counterpart. Here’s why Ultimate Marvel’s Spider-Woman was the best version of the web-slinging heroine.
Ultimate Universe Spider-Woman Was a Clone of Peter Parker
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, Ultimate Spider-Woman debuted in Ultimate Spider-Man #98. This was part of the Ultimate Universe’s version of the infamous Clone Saga, though the result was much different from the reviled ’90s event. This incarnation of the storyline reimagined several spider-based Marvel heroes as being related to Spider-Man, even if their variants in the 616 Universe were unrelated. Spider-Woman was one of many clones of Spider-Man created by the brilliant Otto Octavius at the behest of the CIA and FBI. One of these clones was a female variant that came to be known as Jessica Drew.
Jessica would be a fierce ally of Peter’s thereafter, though she came to resent her own existence and saw herself as a “thing” made from Peter Parker’s DNA and not a real person. Trying to distance herself from Peter while still honoring the young hero’s legacy after his death, she would come to be a partner and mentor to the inexperienced Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man. Like the rest of the Ultimate Universe, she would be essentially forgotten following its seeming destruction. Nevertheless, she’s easily the best version of Spider-Woman thanks to her consolidating the other incarnations while being related to Spider-Man himself.
Ultimate Jessica Drew was the Most Interesting Version of the Heroine
The Ultimate Universe Spider-Woman was far better than the normal 616 incarnations for a variety of reasons. For one, her being a clone of Peter actually made her a part of his world, which has always been needed for her to succeed. It never made sense that a heroine with a seemingly obvious connection to Marvel’s premiere hero was named as such simply due to marketing desires. Though she’s the most iconic Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew has never really been iconic on her own.
Ultimate Jessica Drew’s identity issues were also a far more interesting version of both the Clone Saga and classic Jessica Drew’s past. In her original comics, Jessica questioned her existence and her relationships, though this plot element came off as contrived. The Ultimate Clone Saga gave its Spider-Woman a much more organic reason to dislike and question herself, and it mirrored Ben Reilly’s initial resentment of Peter Parker. Even her costume was more reminiscent of Spider-Man, which made perfect sense from the marketing perspective that spawned Spider-Woman. Sadly, she’s since been forgotten by Marvel Comics, but her brief prominence showcased how the somewhat failed Spider-Woman identity could succeed.