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Appearing in "You Can't Go Home Again (Especially If You Weren't Really There the First Time!)"

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Synopsis for "You Can't Go Home Again (Especially If You Weren't Really There the First Time!)"

After her battle with Therak of the Deathweb, Spider-Woman has a nightmare of wandering through a cave when she is suddenly swarmed by venomous spiders. She wakes up screaming about poison, frightening her visiting parents and her daughter. When Walter Cornwall, Julia's father, tries to calm her she pushes him aside without thinking about her strength, frightening her mother -- Elizabeth -- who just discovered that her daughter is Spider-Woman a short while earlier. After everyone calms down, Julia confirms that Doctor Carter Napier is dead and that his body is waiting to be picked up by the authorities. Julia realizes that she has something to look into, and tells her parents to take her daughter ahead with them on their trip to Peru and that she will catch up with them later. Julia then changes into a fresh Spider-Woman costume and rushes to the Avengers compound in Palos Verdes to borrow a Quinjet.

Spider-Woman flies to Washington, D.C. and arrives there in the early hours of the morning. She has come here because Doctor Napier was involved in the Commission for Super-Human Activities, the same organization that gave her her powers. The serum that was used was also the same that gave Deathweb their powers, and now that they have killed Napier she has come to get answers.[Continuity 1] She figures if anyone will have the answers it will be Valerie Cooper, the head of the Commission. Breaking into the Commission's office, Spider-Woman begins looking through the computer files they have on her and discovers something she had always suspected, she was set up. On the day that Val Cooper enlisted her into the Commission, she claimed that she contacted Julia on a lark while on a layover flight in Denver. However, the records indicate that Valerie's actually had planned on being in Denver to enlist her the whole time. Before she can uncover anymore, Spider-Woman is caught red-handed by Val and a team of guards. Although Spider-Woman takes out the guards in an attempt to escape, Val tells her not to bother because she is willing to tell Julia everything she wants to know about her "secret origin". However, Val warns Julia that she might not like the answers she is about to receive.

Val explains that the mandate of the Commission was to investigate super-humans and also to create their own government-controlled agents. To this end, she enlisted the aid of Doctor Carter Napier, as well as Peruvian born Doctor Sylvie Yaqua, and Japanese scientist Hashi Noto. On the day Cooper gathered them all together, she impressed upon them the urgency for government controlled super-heroes, calling others like the Fantastic Four and the Avengers nothing more than vigilantes. When this was met with concern from Napier, she was easily able to ply him with a very generous salary. At the beginning of their research, Doctor Yaqua's nationality provided them with the knowledge they needed to mount an expedition into the Peruvian Amazon to gather rare plants and arachnid venom for their experiments. Incidentally enough, the people who guided the scientists on their search were none other than Walter and Elizabeth Cromwell, Julia's parents. Back in the United States, their experiments began in earnest, and Doctor Cromwell had developed a serum that will endow a human being with the abilities of a spider, but they needed a test subject. Hearing this, Val was inspired upon hearing about the Cornwall's involvement, as she was friends with their daughter, Julia, when they were in college. That's when Cooper orchestrated her "layover" in Denver in order to reconnect with Julia.

Sure enough, Val's assessments on Julia were correct, she was still in relatively good shape and after her divorce from her husband, Larry Carpenter, she was willing to join a government program for the money she needed to support her daughter. Bringing Julia to Washington, Val put her under rigorous training to get Julia to the peak of physical perfection. From there, Cooper pushed for the testing to begin, reminding Napier that he is being paid more than well to comply with her orders. As the tests went on, the results were not coming as quickly as Val wanted and demanded that they inject Julia with a double dose. This caused Julia to pass out and when she was woken up, she was upset that they injected her with a double dose spider-venom. Furious that they almost killed her, Julia struck a wall and was surprised when her fist smashes through the wall. Explaining the serum gave her enhanced abilities, they then put Julia under a battery of tests to determine the limits of her strength. It was also through these tests that they learned that Julia also gained the ability to cling to walls. Later, when they tested her ability to create psi-webs, making Julia test out this new power on the facility janitor, a man named Theo. Considering the operation a success, Julia was given a costume and a codename. At first, Julia wanted to be named Arachne after the Greek goddess. However, Val insisted that Julia take on the name Spider-Woman as it was more media savvy. However, before they could reveal Spider-Woman to the press, Julia found herself embroiled in the cosmic conflict known as the Secret Wars, something that Val knows about even though the super-hero community has tried to keep it under wraps.[Continuity 2]

However, once Julia was back on Earth, Val had Julia become a member of Freedom Force, something that Julia didn't like much since most members of that group were criminals forced into government service.[Continuity 3] Things went sour when Julia's ex-husband won custody of Julia's daughter, prompting a change in Julia's position and she assisted the Avengers in breaking out of the Vault when they were imprisoned there.[Continuity 4] Hearing all this, Julia points out that the Commission was employing villains while locking up real heroes. Plus, Val didn't give her much choice, and this also led to Julia becoming indentured to Mike Clemson, who not only had a secret vendetta against Julia but was also an agent of some secret shadow government agency calling itself the Conclave.[Continuity 5]

Still, despite their differences and these bombshell revelations, Julia has come to know what Doctor Napier died trying to reach her home in Newport Beach, and why Deathweb was after him. This news comes to a shock to Val Cooper, and she quickly realizes that she has to tell Spider-Woman more than she intended. Val explains that after Julia defected from the Commission, the government put any projects that would create more super-humans on hold. This didn't stop the villain known as the Manipulator got ahold of the serum they created and used it to create Deathweb. Those who were injected with these new serums were all involved with the Commission. The first was Theo, the janitor, who was transformed into the massive spider-creature now known as Therak. Offered a great deal of money, both Doctor Yaqua and Noto underwent the experiments. Noto gained the ability to teleport becoming the Trapdoor Spider themed Antro, while Yaqua could spin webs and took on the name that Julia originally wanted for herself, Arachne. Carter Napier was the one who conducted all of the experiments, giving in when the Manipulator paid him a large sum of money but warned him that he would be killed if he talked. When Deathweb first appeared, Val put two-and-two together and blackmailed Napier into continuing to work for the Commission in the hopes he would lead her to the Manipulator. Things got complicated because the serum that Napier gave Deathweb was tampered with so that each member needed regular antidote shots in order to stay alive, forcing them to remain loyal to the Manipulator. She figures that Deathweb was running low on supplies and Napier went to warn Julia's parents before he was killed. This angers Julia because this whole situation has put her parents and her daughter in harm's way. Before Spider-Woman can leave for Peru, Val refuses to allow her to go, explaining that she told Julia everything in order to learn where her parents have gone. Unfortunately, when Cooper sends guards to subdue her, Spider-Woman easily restrains them with her psi-webs and leaves.


Continuity Notes

  1. The origin of Spider-Woman, Deathweb, and their connection with Carter Napier was detailed in Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #8486.
  2. The Secret Wars took place during Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #112, Spider-Woman taking part of the war in issue #6 of that series.
  3. Freedom Force was formed out of former members of Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in Uncanny X-Men #199. As revealed in Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #84, Spider-Woman was pressed into service with the group in Uncanny X-Men #206.
  4. As explained in Iron Man #214, Larry Carpenter got full custody of his daughter when Julia couldn't account for her absences due to her employment in the Commission. The Avengers were locked up in the Vault in Avengers Annual #15. Their freedom was thanks in part to Spider-Woman helping break them out.
  5. Clemson forced Julia into working for him in Iron Man #214 in order to get her daughter back. This situation was also resolved during the events in Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #8486.

Chronology Notes

A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:

  1. Spider-Woman:
  2. Walter Cornwall
  3. Elizabeth Cornwall:
  4. Val Cooper:
  5. Manipulator:
  6. Carter Napier:
  7. Sylvie Yaqua:

See Also

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