Interesting Tidbit Vol. 4 #2: Madame Hydra first made her appearance in the pages of Captain America Vol. 1 #110 in 1969 as the villain Viper. She is an antagonist to The Avengers and X-Men. When she first fought Spider-Woman she became convinced that she was Jessica’s mother, Merriem Drew, who had been deceased since Jessica’s Hydra-terrorist father killed her. It later was revealed that Chthon implanted false memories in Viper so that he would be able to control both her and Jessica.
Be sure to comment below!
SPIDER-WOMAN: AGENT OF S.W.O.R.D #3
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTIST: Alex Maleev
LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit
MODEL FOR SPIDER-WOMAN/JESSICA DREW: Jolynn Carpenter
When we last left Jessica she was in a “HOLY $&*!” moment once she sees Madame Hydra right in front of her and sees her mow down a group of pursuing Madripoor policemen. Madame Hydra convinces Jessica to get into the hovering vehicle and takes her to Hydra’s base of operations in Madripoor. Hydra needs Jessica and Jessica needs Hydra…or so Madame Hydra says. While she plays her mind games with Jessica she takes her to a cell inside the base only to reveal a Skrull that was captured while attempting to infiltrate Hydra. Christmas came early for Jessica…
If I were to relate this issue to one moment in history it would be the temptation of Christ. This is all about the temptation of Spider-Woman by Hydra. It is almost difficult to read. Jessica starts the issue off with a stout attitude but as it continues and Madame Hydra keeps talking we see Jessica’s resolutions start to wane until it seems like she is giving in.
The central theme of this issue is the past relationship between Madame Hydra and Jessica. It is easy to read the tension between the two, either in the dialogue or in the art. The “darlings” and “dears” that Madame Hydra says rub me the wrong way and really put me in the perspective of Jessica. She increases the paranoia that Jessica feels (Hydra is everywhere, even in S.W.O.R.D.) and makes her question some of her universal truths (Hydra is evil…but are we fighting the same thing?). Madame Hydra gives Jessica an early Christmas present in the form of a Skrull. This is like dangling a carrot in front of a mule. Madame Hydra knows the reaction that it will elicit from Jessica and she is one step closer to getting her to come back to Hydra.
My outright objection to the issue is the fact that Jessica got into the car in the first place. Sure she argues that it’s the only way to prevent Madame Hydra from destroying a group of policemen, but she ends up taking down two helicopters anyway! There is always another way: she could have run away, leapt off the building…anything. I suppose one could rationalize that Jessica got into the car because, deep down, she was interested in what Madame Hydra has to say and still feels a connection to her roots. I just think that, for the first time, the writing did not fit the character. The other objection I have is the broken record feel of Madame Hydra. She seems to be repeating herself over, and over, and over again and it is rather vexing. I’m pretty sure we get the idea that Hydra needs Jessica and vice versa!
If it were possible, we have hit an even lower moment for the character. Besides self-chastising herself at the beginning for things she had no control over, she now appears to be accepting anything if it means bringing down the Skrulls. Jessica needs to get over this desperation for revenge if she ever wants to come out of this in any way whole.
4.0 out of 5.0 Webheads. Lower than the last two issues mainly because of Jessica’s ultimate decision to get in the car with Madame Hydra and because overall it was not as strong of an issue.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Girl!