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1982-02-01 01:01:10
Power Man & Iron Fist #78
1982/Box 17/EiC: Jim Shooter
Micronauts #38

Spider-Woman #42-43

Issue(s): Spider-Woman #42, Spider-Woman #43
Published Date: Feb-Apr 82
Title: "The Judas man" / "Last stands"
Chris Claremont - Writer
Stephen Leialoha - Penciler
Bob Wiacek / Stephen Leialoha - Inker
Denny O'Neil - Editor

Jessica drew is hired to find a woman's missing father. The father turns out to be a "Judas Man" which means that his body harbors a deadly virus that was implanted by the Red Skull. The disease also keeps him from aging. Viper and the Silver Samurai are after him and the daughter, whose genetic make-up contains the disease's cure.

The Judas Man plot was originally initiated by the Red Skull during World War II, but he never went anywhere with it. The flashback sequence setting up the plot feels like a reference to some old Captain America story...

...but this is in fact the first and only mention of the plot.

During the encounters with Viper and the Silver Samurai... becomes clear there is a relationship between her and Viper. They look enough alike that Spider-Woman is able to fool the Viper's henchmen.

A little too much melodrama: When Viper sees Spider-Woman for the first time and recognizes the similarity to Jessica, she thinks "I'll wager the soul I no longer possess that she and Jessica Drew are one."

Continuing that thought bubble just to show that Viper clearly knew Jessica: "Jessie... had brown hair when last I saw her. She was so young. It was so long ago. We have both changed." The Silver Surfer remarks to Spider-Woman that she and Viper "could be sisters".

We get one of Claremont's classic "The contest is brutal, and short lived-- quarter neither asked for... nor given." lines in issue #43 during a battle between a briefly de-powered Spider-Woman and an unarmored Silver Samurai.

It turns out that the Judas Man's disease has long since gone inert, so Viper's whole plot was a wasted effort.

While Spider-Woman is going after the Judas Man, Lindsey stays home with the daughter. She's helped by police lieutenant Sabrina Morrel, but Lindsey is still badly injured when the Viper shows up for the daughter.

After the danger has passed, Jessica visits Lindsey in the hospital and reveals that she's Spider-Woman, but Lindsey says that she knew all along.

I really love Leialoha's art and i wonder why this series didn't become a bigger hit on the strength of that alone.

Quality Rating: B

Historical Significance Rating: 4 - first signs of the Spider-Woman/Viper connection.

Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A


  • Spider-Woman is surprised to see Viper, since she was supposedly killed in Marvel Team-Up #85.
  • Jessica's client was referred by David Ishimia's brother Adam, since Jessica helped David in Spider-Woman #39.

Cross-over: N/A

Continuity Implant? N

Reprinted In: N/A

Inbound References (2): show

Characters Appearing: Lindsay McCabe, Madame Hydra (Viper), Sabrina Morrel, Silver Samurai, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)

Power Man & Iron Fist #78
1982/Box 17/EiC: Jim Shooter
Micronauts #38


This Viper subplot adds nothing to the character. Just typical Claremont excess.

Still keen to know the story behind Jessica being a Childe of the Darkhold.

It's not excess, it's largesse - and good storytelling in this particular format. Monthly comics (and to a lesser extent, television) are not self-contained stories. They have to keep going. They cannot, therefore, be told clean - it's not in their interest to be told clean. A writer can only ever reap what he sows (if he wants to be a GOOD writer), so it would behoove him to plant a lot of story seeds. He's going to have to tell more story every month, indefinitely. Claremont was brilliant at this.

If you would disagree with my argument here, I could point out countless comics where a new creative team came in and started everything from scratch, and how implausible it all really is, story-wise, if you really think about it. And jarring. Claremont never had that problem, he set several plates spinning one after another, so he always had somewhere to go next. You don't have to like it, but he knew what he was doing.

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