How strong is Spider-Woman? Powers and weakness explained

Christopher Baggett
Julia Carpenter as Spider-WomanMarvel Comics

The Madame Web trailer has introduced Julia Carpenter, the Spider-Woman of the ‘90s with whom modern Marvel fans may not even be familiar. 

With the release of the Madame Web trailer, fans are getting their first live-action look at a now somewhat obscure Spider-Man character

Julia Carpenter was the Spider-Woman of the ‘80s and ‘90s, with a unique costume that, in canon, may have inspired Spider-Man’s symbiote costume

Once a member of the Avengers and Force Works, Julia all but disappeared when the original Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, made her return. If you’re new to the character, here’s everything you need to know about Marvel’s ‘90s Spider-Woman. 

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Who is Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter? 

Struggling single mother Julia Carpenter agrees to participate in a study exploring the benefits of physical exercise. In reality, she joined a secret experiment by a government group known as The Commission that wanted to make their own superhero. 

Julia is exposed to a variety of chemicals, plant extracts and spider venom that grants her special powers. Though she attempts to take on the codename Arachne, Julia is instead bestowed the name Spider-Woman.

Thrust into the Secret Wars, Julia spends the next several years as something of an anti-hero before joining the West Coast Avengers, Iron Man’s Force Works team, and having her own solo adventures. 

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Julia Carpenter as Spider-WomanMarvel Comics
A secret government experiment turned Julia Carpenter into the second Spider-Woman

Julia’s appearances drop off after the ‘90s when she is briefly depowered and focuses on being a mother. Though she later gets her powers back, she ditches the Spider-Woman name in the wake of Jessica Drew’s return. Finally going by Arachne, she sides with Captain America’s anti-registration forces in the Civil War event. 

During the events of the Grim Hunt, Julia would be bestowed with Cassandra Web’s premonition powers, becoming the second Madame Web. Since then, she’s been an ally and advisor to all the Spider-adjacent heroes. 

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Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman’s powers & weaknesses

As a result of the cocktail of plant extracts and spider venom that Julia received, she has many of Spider-Man’s powers. This includes enhanced strength, speed, and reflexes. Her ability to endure and heal from injury is also far greater than a normal person’s, such as surviving a full blast of Therak’s venom directly to her face. 

Julia Carpenter as Madame WebMarvel Comics
Julia Carpenter abandoned her Spider-Woman identity to become the second Madame Web

Julia does have wall-crawling and webbing abilities akin to Spider-Man, as well. However, these are part of a psionic powerset rather than tactile or mechanically aided. Though the Commission was confident she had mental abilities, they never actually explained why she gained them. 

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After receiving Cassandra Web’s powers, Julia also lost her eyesight, implying Web’s blindness was a result of her clairvoyant gifts. Julia can see through the mystical web of life all Spiders touch, granting her a multiversal vision to see the future. However, that vision was severely diminished after Superior Spider-Man damaged the web of life. 

That’s everything you need to know for now about Julia Carpenter. For more Madame Web and comic book news, be sure to follow all of Dexerto’s coverage

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About The Author

Christopher Baggett started writing about comics on the Internet when he was 14 years old. Since then, he's written professionally for a host of sites, including ComicsBeat, Comic Book Resources, and The HomeWorld. He's most knowledgable about the legacy heroes of the '80s and '90s that he grew up with and believes Wally West is the best Flash - and he'll fight anyone over it. For tips, news, press and more, contact Christopher at