Publication Date: 25th Apr 2019
Written By: Daytripper.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.

BIOGRAPHY - page 4

Her personal crisis behind her, Spider-Woman found herself pulled into a professional one. Following the death of Mockingbird, the departure of Hawkeye and recent events in Genosha [Bloodties crossover], the Avengers West was in disarray. The remaining four members of the team, Spider-Woman included, were summoned to the Avengers Mansion in New York, where they were sat in judgement by their east coast counterparts. When it was put to a vote as to whether the West Coast branch should be shut down, Spider-Woman voted against the closure of the team. Nevertheless, the east coast team had the numbers and when Iron Man cast his unanticipated vote for disbanding, the decision was made. To the surprise of the now only active Avengers, the former Avengers West resigned en masse, rather than become reservists. Spider-Woman joined them, despite Hank Pym’s plea for her to stay specifically. Outside the mansion, Iron Man explained his reasoning for his vote, which was that he had his own plans for a new team and wanted both Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman on it. [Avengers West Coast #102]

Before her scheduled appointment to meet with Iron Man on his proposal, Julia opted to take Rachel on a road trip to San Francisco to get away from Avengers business. No sooner had they arrived that they were stopped by Dr. Druid, who had recently taken over Dr. Strange’s pet “Secret Defenders” project, and now sought to enlist Julia’s aid as Spider-Woman on a mission in the Bay Area. Spider-Woman agreed, allowing the doctor to mentally coerce a passerby to take Rachel safely to their destination. The mission quickly went sideways and both Spider-Woman and Druid were captured by the source of the magical problem, a sorcerer called Slaymaker. Their fortunes just as quickly turned around by the arrival of the USAgent, who had been called by a worried Rachel after arriving at “Aunt Evenlyn’s” house. Worried himself, “Uncle Jack” flew via Quinjet to San Francisco and had arrived just in time. Together with Cadaver, another agent of Dr. Druid, Slaymaker was defeated and Spider-Woman was able to return to her daughter. [Secret Defenders #20-21]

It was at the ruins of the former Avengers West compound in Palos Verdes that Spider-Woman, along with the Scarlet Witch, USAgent and Wonder Man, listened to Iron Man’s proposal. He voiced his belief that the world had changed so much since the Avengers first formed and, being much more dangerous, now needed a new team of heroes with a proactive approach to defend it. Like the others, Spider-Woman was undecided until Iron Man unveiled his Works HQ, a high-tech laboratory and facility in Ventura, California. Keeping her personal concerns as important to her as professional, Spider-Woman's mind was made up when she was showed the perfect living area that she would share with Rachel, and there was even room for Consuela to come along and continue to look after Rachel. Pleased that she was able to continue her important work as a super-hero and have Rachel close to her, Spider-Woman accepted Iron Man's offer. [Force Works #1]

The optimistic early days of Iron Man’s “Force Works” team was marred by tragedy when the team defended the Earth world from an invasion by the alien race called the Scatter in which Wonder Man was killed by a Kree bomb. Spider-Woman herself seemed vulnerable to psychic backlash from the aliens when her psi-webs were connected to them. Nevertheless, Spider-Woman herself pushed her psi-webs to the extreme, reinforcing a barrier to a Scatter-created portal and preventing their entry. In the end, Force Works succeeded in repulsing the aliens, saving the Earth in their baptism of fire. [Force Works #1-3]

Weeks later, upon returning from a mission, Julia decided to look in on her daughter, only to find her missing. A search quickly found her in the V-Room, Force Works' training suite where she and the team’s “handy man, Fisher Todd, had become locked in while a lethal “level nine” program was running. Realizing the danger, Spider-Woman broke into the training room and made short work of the creatures attacking her daughter, giving Fisher the opportunity to short-circuit the training room and ending the virtual reality program. Unaware that the malfunction had been the result of an enemy and he was not at fault, Spider-Woman warned Fisher Todd to stay away from Rachel, unaware that the young man had been trying to impress the young girl because he had become romantically interested in her mother. [Force Works #5]

Ever since her secret identity had become public following her final battle with Deathweb, Spider-Woman had considered abandoning her true identity of Julia Carpenter for a new alias in a government program. These thoughts had been pushed aside since joining Force Works, as Julia considered hers and Rachel’s relative seclusion would provide the security they had been without for so long. However, after surviving a suspicious shooting at a shopping mall, which almost seemed to be targeting her, Julia changed her mind and decided to quit the team. She intended to inform her daughter upon picking her up from school, only for the same gunman, a deranged fan of hers, to confront Julia and Rachel at the school and shoot Julia in his rage. Fortunately, Julia survived and was rushed back to the Works facility for medical attention. While recovering, Julia informed Rachel of her decision, only for her daughter to shock her that she didn’t want her to give up being Spider-Woman, as for the first time they were both happy with their lives. Even more helpfully, Rachel provided the license plate number for their attacker, giving Julia a way to track him down. Ironically, as she was doing so, her obsessed fan attempted another attack, only to give Julia (as Spider-Woman) the opportunity to capture him. Feeling good about the life she and Rachel were leading, Spider-Woman realized that her place was indeed with Force Works. [Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #166-168]

Julia continued to have difficulties with Fisher Todd, especially when it came to Rachel and she was not impressed when he gave Rachel a fancy hover board at Christmas time. [Force Works #8] Unfortunately for Fisher, between her Force Works missions and being a mother to Rachel, Julia Carpenter never had the time for him to win her over, much less for romance. However, this suddenly no longer seemed to be the case when the hero calling himself Moonraker appeared in the Works, with every member of the team just as suddenly believing him to have been a member of the team since nearly the beginning. More surprising, his civilian identity of Slade Truman was dating Julia and had been doing so for over six months. Although he accepted this just as everyone else, Fisher Todd could not help but be jealous, as he still held feelings for Julia.

The apparent change to the timeline was not perfect, however. Odd discrepancies in cause and effect arose in mundane ways, such as when everyday tasks like Julie moving groceries or arranging flowers were negated, as if she had never done them. More telling of all was Rachel, who was unaffected by the changes. While all of Spider-Woman’s teammates accepted Moonraker as their teammate and that he had been dating Spider-Woman for half a year, Rachel had no idea who her mother’s boyfriend was at all. Unfortunately, her warnings fell on deaf ears, as the others assumed she was playing. [Force Works #16]

Seemingly the center of these temporal discrepancies, Moonraker was also drawn to them and convinced the team to travel to the country of Vietnam, which now no longer seemed to have existed. Their mission led to a temple in Cambodia, home to the priests of Pama, disciples of the Cotati and originators of the ex-Avenger called Mantis, who had since become mother the Celestial Madonna and mother to the “Celestial Messiah.” It was here that Moonraker remembered his true life as Gustav Brandt, formerly Libra of the criminal Zodiac. Learning of a threat to the multiverse, the mystical priests of Pama had placed Brandt’s spirit in the body of a hero called Moonraker from another universe, one in which that Moonraker had been dating Spider-Woman. Realizing that what she believed to have been her life for the last six months was a lie and that the love she felt was not real, Spider-Woman was crushed and felt betrayed by the man she thought she loved. [Force Works #19]

Ultimately, Force Works would learn that the threat to the multiverse was from the Avengers’ longtime foe, Immortus, who due to an elaborate game of deception was disguised as his previous identity, Kang. However, Spider-Woman, her fellow Force Works teammates and even the Avengers were constantly kept off guard by Immortus and his small army of Space Phantom. For most of the conflict, Force Works were led to believe that they had been betrayed by Iron Man, who had killed several friends and allies. Spider-Woman in particular took this further betrayal quite hard and sent Rachel to stay at her grandmother's during the further crisis as the heroes sought to bring Iron Man to justice. [Force Works #20-21, The Crossing crossover]

Although both the Avenger and Force Works survived the machinations of Immortus, they did so barely… and not for long. Of the two, it was Force Works that would last the shortest amount of time. With the membership down to four and their founder Iron Man apparently dead, Spider-Woman was the first to voice her desire for a break. When the Scarlet Witch seconded, intending to return to the east coast to see how the conflict had affected the Avengers, Spider-Woman asked to accompany her. Moonraker was there and Julia felt there were thinks about which the two should talk. Despite his objections, USAgent followed suit and Century departed for parts unknown. Force Works was done. [Force Works #22]

(Whether Julia ever reconnected with Moonraker is unclear, but it was rendered moot later when it was discovered that he had only been one of Immortus’ Space Phantoms playing a role and was not even truly human.)

While most of the former Force Works moved to the east coast in the weeks that followed, Julia remained on the west, most likely enjoying semi-retirement at her Newport Beach house. However, when she learned with the rest of the world that many of the Avengers and other heroes had died during battle with Onslaught, she decided to let the public know that not all of the heroes had gone away. While on patrol one evening, Julia was surprised to be approached by the empty (yet fully animated) costume of Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman. As if it were a person attempting to communicate, the costume spelled out “Help me” in Julia's psi-webs. Although somewhat unsure, Julia followed the costume to the San Francisco home of Lindsay McCabe, Jessica Drew's friend, who was meeting with an occult master named Shadow-Woman. Julia learned that the original Spider-Woman was trapped in another dimension and they need a woman of power to rescue her. Reluctantly, Julia followed Lindsay through a portal into a dark, otherly realm. There they discovered a captive Jessica, who seemed in a deathlike trance. She quickly reanimated when her animated costume, which had followed the pair into the realm, merged with her. Together, the three woman escaped the Void-Eater who was keeping Jessica prisoner by following Julia's psi-web back to reality and closed the portal before it could follow. The crisis passed, two Spider-Women spoke for the first time since Drew confronted Julia back when she was with Freedom Force. Jokingly, Julia asked Jessica if she wanted the Spider-Woman name back. [Sensational Spider-Man Annual '96]