Issue(s): Spider-Woman #50
This issue, Spider-Woman herself is taken.
It turns out that everyone (nearly everyone that's appeared in the Spider-Woman series, and even some, like Killer Shrike and Dansen Macabre, that haven't) has been kidnapped by a vaudeville escape artist that's jealous of super-beings stealing the show.
His partner, it turns out, actually has super-heroes powers himself.
Spider-Woman is able to organize a breakout.
After that, at a party with the more heroic escapees...
...Jessica's boyfriend David Ishima breaks up with her. He's uncomfortable with the fact that she's Spider-Woman.
Then things get really weird. David is possessed by the old wizard Magnus who tried to help Spider-Woman find her father in the earliest issues of this series.
His spirit takes her back in time...
...so she can fight Morgan LeFey again.
Spider-Woman wins, but LeFey is able to kill Spider-Woman's mortal body in the present while they are fighting.
So that her death doesn't sadden her friends, Spider-Woman asks Magnus to cast a spell of forgetfulness to make the world forget Spider-Woman ever existed.
This comic had been struggling sales-wise even when Chris Claremont was writing it and doing some tie-ins with the X-Men, so it's not surprising that Nocenti's strange little run ended in cancellation. But it certainly seems spiteful to not only kill the character but literally wipe her out of existence. Not sure whose decision it was. But whereas She-Hulk was left available after the cancellation of her series and she soon became an Avenger, Spider-Woman has been erased.
Unless you're Roger Stern, in which case you can bring her back relatively easily, as we'll soon see in an upcoming issue of the Avengers.
The cover to this issue is a doctored photo with real-life actors, and it doesn't look so good.
Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story has some good quotes regarding Nocenti's short run on Spider-Woman:
Mark Gruenwald offered Spider-Woman to Ann Nocenti, who'd written only one short story for Marvel. "No female character has been written regularly by a female writer before... You'll bring a whole new perspective to comics." The only catch was, by the way, that Nocenti would have to kill the character... "I thought, 'Okay, it's just a cardboard cutout; it's a girl in a spider suit on a Slurpee cup. So I did four issues, and I killed her, and then got torrents of email from sad, horrified kids. I didn't understand the intense bonds that kids have for these characters. They're alive, you know? That was a real introduction to the whole Marvel universe."
Surely Nocenti wasn't getting email in 1983, but it's interesting to see someone new to Marvel getting their first taste of fan reaction.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
It seems very odd to kill Spider-Woman off in her book and erase her memory from existence, only to bring her back that same year in the Avengers. Gruenwald was the editor of both magazines. Was it really fan reaction that caused them to think it was better to return Drew (albeit without her powers)? Or was it something else. Very strange.
Posted by: Chris | August 31, 2013 2:41 PM
I think the problem was that erasing Jessica's memory from existence greatly complicated explanations of why everyone hates Rogue for what she did to Carol, since Jessica saved Carol from drowning after Rogue's assault. (Do they remember that Rogue didn't toss her off the bridge? That Rogue threw her off the bridge and someone else saved her? That Rogue didn't attack her on the bridge but absorbed Carol under other circumstances?) One would think that someone would have pointed this out before the story saw print, though.
Posted by: Michael | August 31, 2013 2:59 PM
Spider-Woman was brought back due to fan reaction according to the letters page in Avengers #235. Mark Gruenwald explained he and Ann Nocenti thought this was a good ending for Spider Woman's series. Then the negative fan mail started pouring in and they realized she had to be brought back to life, which she was a few issues later in Avengers #240-241.
Posted by: Rick | April 9, 2014 4:34 PM
Wasn't The Cat written by a female writer for Marvel?
Posted by: A.Lloyd | December 5, 2014 1:30 AM
Yes and Shanna the She-Devil and also Night Nurse if you count it. I guess the word "regular" in Mark Gruenwald's quote takes into account the fact that those series were short lived, although Nocenti's Spider-Woman run turned out to be the same length.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 5, 2014 8:02 AM
As Loki at the MCP pointed out recently, one of the prisoners in the second scan you posted looks like Tatterdemalion.
Posted by: Michael | March 8, 2015 10:37 AM
I'd like to see Tatterdemalion's specialized prison. Lined with air fresheners?
Posted by: kveto | March 8, 2015 10:57 AM
He must have escaped. Added Tatterdemalion back and lined the entry with air fresheners to keep him there this time. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 8, 2015 12:20 PM
How could anyone forget Jessica Drew with a rack like hers? ;)
Roger Stern not only brought her back, but we got that great issue of Dr. Strange drawn by Steve Leialoha.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | May 8, 2015 8:34 AM
How ironic that after the New Mutants are erased from existence by the Beyonder and only Kitty remembers them, the X-Men are staying at Jessica's house in San Francisco.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 11, 2015 12:07 PM
I like these little plots like the Locksmith where we find out a bunch of characters we haven't seen in a long while had been kept prisoner the whole time. Pleasant Hill and the Stranger are two others like this. You think it'd drawn some attention to the characters used, although it did in the Stranger's case with some of them.
This was a case where the series/story ends with the main villain winning. A rarity now, but it happened from time to time back in the day.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | August 16, 2016 4:32 PM
I just realized that this is Killer Shrikes only appearance in the Spider-woman series. It's nice that not every villain captured by the Locksmith has a connection to Spider-woman but Shrike still seems an odd choice. As far as I can remember, he has nothing to do with the West Coast. Unless I missed something.
Posted by: kveto | October 12, 2017 1:14 PM
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