Boasting unlimited power bestowed upon her in a ritual, Mattie Franklin becomes the arachnid-like Spider-Woman.
A Powerful Gift
When Jeremy Franklin declines an invitation from former business associate Norman Osborn, AKA Green Goblin, to participate in the arcane ritual called the Gathering of the Five, his precocious 15-year old daughter, Mattie, takes his place. The mystical Gathering requires five participants: three are granted power, knowledge, or immortality, while two are cursed with insanity or death. Mattie receives the gift most coveted by Osborn—power—while Osborn is driven more deeply insane.
During a period when Spider-Man, AKA Peter Parker, gives up super-heroics, Mattie disguises herself as her role model, Spider-Man, in a padded costume. When injured fighting the fiery Shadrac, recipient of a living death from the Gathering, Spider-Man comes out of retirement to assist her. Mattie continues crime-fighting, calling herself Spider-Woman.
Mattie's powers, which stem from the shard used in the Gathering of the Five, include flight, invulnerability, superhuman strength, lifting up to 10 tons, reflexes, stamina and agility. Proximity to other shards may cause Mattie to faint. The extent of her “ultimate power” may not have been reached.
Mattie temporarily absorbs the other Spider-Women's abilities including psionic webbing, bioelectrical “venom blasts,” mild telepathy, and psionic spider legs. She can fold her psionic legs into her back, and mentally control their aesthetics, though they may be lost if their original owner, Charlotte Witter, awakens from dormancy.
The power she receives at the Gathering of Five brings her in contention with Charlotte Witter, granddaughter of psychic Cassandra Webb, AKA Madame Web. Witter undergoes genetic manipulation by super-criminal Otto Octavius, AKA Doctor Octopus. She seeks to claim the Spider-Woman name, siphoning super-powers from former Spider-Women Jessica Drew and Julia Carpenter before confronting Mattie. Despite Spider-Man's interference, Witter absorbs Mattie's powers. With guidance and support from Madame Web, Drew and Carpenter, Mattie locates Charlotte. By force of will, Mattie takes her powers back, and also absorbs all the other super-powers Charlotte had developed or stolen.
Later, in disrupting a drug ring, Mattie comes face-to-face with the hate-powered mutant Nekra Sinclair, AKA Nekra. Suffering a few powerful blows, Mattie works with fellow Super Heroes, the Loners, to take her down.
Found Family and Spider-Friends
When Mattie loses her parents, she’s raised by her father’s friends, J. Jonah Jameson and Marla Jameson, who become akin to her uncle and aunt.
Going up against spider-foes, Mattie teams up with Spider-Man and other spider-heroes, such as Madame Web, Jessica Drew and Julie Carpenter.
While investigating Cassie St. Commons, AKA Dusk’s disappearance, Mattie joins the Super Hero team, the Loners, to get close to her only lead, Johnny Gallo, AKA Ricochet. She learns just how committed they are to the heroic cause of helping people and ultimately quits the team.
A Heroine's Journey
Moving in with her father’s close friends J. Jonah Jameson and Marla Jameson, Mattie stayed in New York while secretly operating as the sole Spider-Woman. Shortly after adopting the Spider-Woman name, Mattie was transported into a “Contest of Champions,” where the alien Brood Imperiatrix tricked heroes into battling each other. Spider-Woman lost her battle against Johnny Storm, AKA Human Torch, and remained depowered by airborne nanites until the Brood Queen was defeated and Mattie was rescued by Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, and Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye.
Back on Earth, aided by Madame Web and Drew, Spider-Woman battled the grotesque Flesh and Bones sisters and their parents Miss Itch and Mr. Scratch, the ancient Egyptian magician Shadowcaster, the Cluster (aliens in Death Valley testing if Earth was conquerable), the psionic exomorphic projections of Brian Leighton (creating a Rhino/Doctor Octopus/Venom amalgam), and a cloistered werewolf-nun over the course of several cases. Spider-Woman repeatedly modified her costume’s appearance during these adventures.
The Jamesons sent Mattie to attend a private high school, where she encountered vicious bullies and befriended meek Cheryl Lansing. Meanwhile, Spider-Woman's borrowed powers gradually returned to their original owners, reawakening Witter. After another defeat by Spider-Woman (with help from Spider-Man), Witter was once again rendered unconscious, allowing Mattie to retain her powers.
Mattie's father passed away, leaving her an orphan since her mother had died of an illness when Mattie was very young. The Jamesons became Mattie’s foster parents, with Jonah honored and humbled by the opportunity. She was later seduced into a dark world of drugs by boyfriend Dennis “Denny” Haynes, who used Mattie's own flesh to produce the drug called Mutant Growth Hormone (MGH), temporarily granting its users superhuman powers. Aided by Madame Web, she was rescued by Jessica Drew and detective Jessica Jones, and her abilities were revealed to Jonah. Feeling violated by the drug dealers, Mattie spent time in counseling afterwards, and initially swore off costumed adventuring; but she soon bounced back, though she retained a vehement hatred for MGH manufacturers. When the Superhuman Registration Act (SHRA) was passed, requiring all superhumans to register with the government, Mattie complied.
Mattie eventually learned of another young heroine, Dusk, who had gone missing, and agreed to help Cassie’s parents find their daughter. Cassie had been a member of the teenage Slingers super-team alongside Eddie McDonough, AKA Hornet, Richie Gilmore, AKA Prodigy, and Ricochet. Hornet had been slain and Prodigy was in prison for refusing to register, so Ricochet was Mattie’s only real lead. Johnny had moved to LA, retired his costume and joined the Loners, a support group for former teen Super Heroes trying to kick the hero “habit.” To get close to him, Mattie moved to the West Coast and joined the Loners too, taking Gallo as her sponsor, despite feeling that the group’s members were shirking the great responsibility of helping others that came with their powers.
Mattie initially told the Loners that her experiences at the hands of MGH dealers had made her feel uncomfortable around New York’s costumed set; however, discovering evidence of an LA-based MGH manufacturing ring using both willing and kidnapped donors, Mattie changed her story, telling fellow Loner Chris Powell, AKA Darkhawk , that she had pursued the ring that had abused her after they relocated to LA, and only joined the Loners because Jonah had insisted. Intent on busting the drug dealers, and perhaps wondering if Dusk was among their victims, Mattie convinced Darkhawk to join her in raiding the dealers’ warehouse; having overheard their discussion, Ricochet followed, which proved lucky when Darkhawk and Spider-Woman (back in her first costume minus the pony tail) were confronted mid-raid by Nekra, one of the MGH dealer’s willing donors. Working together, the trio overpowered Nekra and found evidence of a much larger MGH network; Mattie tried to convince her two reluctant partners they had a duty to pursue this information in order to protect others from falling victim to MGH.
Heeding her words, Ricochet and Loners member Julie Power, AKA Lightspeed, investigated a Fujikawa factory that Gallo believed was involved in the MGH trade, discovering dozens of tubes apparently containing super-powered women, but Power was severely wounded when one of the incarcerated females, the razor-clawed Hollow (formerly Penance of Generation X) escaped and attacked her. Gallo quickly evacuated Julie to the hospital, where he was joined by the other Loners, including Mattie. After confirming Julie would recover, the Loners debated what to do next, with Mattie insisting they had a responsibility to free the factory’s other captives; however, their discussion was interrupted by Hollow, who had tracked Gallo, and then by Fuyumi Fujikawa and her armed retinue, intent on reclaiming the escapee. When Fuyumi berated them for interfering in matters that were not their concern and warned them to back off, Mattie attacked her; however, before a full-scale fight could ensue, the Loner Mickey Musashi, AKA Turbo, brokered a deal with Fuyumi. It remains unclear what Turbo offered in return, but the Fujikawa operatives withdrew, leaving Hollow in the Loners’ care, and subsequently sent the new cyborg UJ1- DX model Namie, AKA Red Ronin, to join the Loners. Having tracked the Loners down at their group therapy session, the vengeance-seeking Nekra attacked them, defeating the entire group, including Mattie single handedly, before Namie incapacitated her.
Seeking to get Gallo alone to surreptitiously question him about Dusk, Mattie agreed to hang out at his apartment after the battle; while he was showering, she began searching his apartment for evidence that he might have had contact with Dusk, unaware that Dusk was apparently hiding as a shadow nearby. Caught red-handed by Gallo, to cover herself Mattie claimed she had been looking for protection and impulsively seduced Gallo. Regretting her own impetuousness almost immediately, she called the St. Commons to tell them her investigation had drawn a blank. Soon after, Loners co-founder Phil Urich, formerly the heroic Green Goblin, had a mental breakdown and stole Darkhawk’s amulet and armor. Donning their costumes once more, the Loners swiftly caught him and retrieved the stolen items, but in the aftermath, Mattie chastised the others for forgetting what it meant to be a hero. Loudly decrying her seduction of Gallo, she abruptly quit the team.
When Sasha Nikolaevich and Ana Kravinoff, AKA Kraven, desired to resurrect their fallen family members Sergei, AKA Kraven The Hunter, and Vladimir, AKA the Grim Hunter, they captured Mattie along with Madame Web. Doubting her time as Spider-Woman, Madame Web reassured her that she should be proud of how many lives she saved, and promised there would be balance in her death. She asked Madame Web to tell Spider-Man that she didn’t blame him and that she didn't cry. Mattie was then taken and sacrificed at an altar where Max Dillon, AKA Electro, assisted the process, and they soon killed Madame Web as well to get what they wanted.
A year passed, and both Mattie and Madame Web were brought back as clones thanks to the Jackal, former Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly. Mattie became the Jackal’s errand spider, but soon met Cindy Moon, AKA Silk, who she initially fought with but came to realize the Jackal’s plans to reduce her and other clones to zombies, and resisted him. She came to save Jameson and revealed her Super Hero status to her foster uncle, but perished while protecting Silk.