‘Madame Web’: Who Is Mattie Franklin & How Did She Die?

mattie franklin comics ssu
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‘Madame Web’ is coming out soon, and it will be the fourth installment of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, aka the SSU. However, it will also take place in a different universe than Venom and Morbius so far, which means we’ll get to see how it all connects when the movie actually comes out. What we do know already is that we’ll get introduced to a lot of new characters. Apart from Madame Web herself, we’ll also meet at least three different Spider-Women, all of whom appear in Marvel Comics. One of them is Mattie Franklin, a Spider-Woman with unique powers and abilities whose fate in the comics is quite grim.  So, who is Mattie Franklin? How does she get her powers, and how does she die in the comics? Here’s everything you need to know.

  • Article breakdown
  • Martha “Mattie” Franklin was the daughter of a wealthy businessman and the niece of J. Jonah Jameson, the owner and editor of the Daily Bugle.
  • She got her powers when she secretly took her father’s place in a Gathering of Five ritual, where her amazing powers were bestowed upon her.
  • For a while, Mattie had the power of four Spider-Women and Madame Web, but it eventually faded, and she was left with only her powers and those of Charlotte Witter – a villainous Spider-Woman.

Who is Mattie Franklin in Marvel Comics?

Martha “Mattie” Franklin was only a regular, somewhat troubled teenager living in New York before becoming the third Marvel character to be called Spider-Woman. She is the daughter of Jerry Franklin – a wealthy businessman of questionable ethics, and the niece of J. Jonah Jameson – Peter Parker’s boss and the owner/chief editor of the Daily Bugle.

Mattie first appeared in ‘The Spectacular Spider-Man’ #262 in 1998, but she was first called Spider-Woman in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ #5 in 1999. Her story was quite tragic from the get-go.

mattie franklin spider woman comics

After her mother passed away, Mattie lived with her father, who was never around due to work. When she received her powers during a secret ritual she wasn’t supposed to be a part of, Mattie took over as Spider-Man briefly while Peter Parker was out of commission. Franklin was a long-time fan of Spidey and even had feelings for him.

In one situation, Peter actually saved Mattie’s life and started being Spider-Man again. Mattie tried kissing Peter while he performed CPR on her, but he politely rejected her, noting the big age gap between them.

During a fight with Charlotte Witter – a villainous Spider-Woman – Mattie briefly loses her powers to Witter before reabsorbing not only hers but also the powers of three previous Spider-Women, including Witter and Jessica Drew. She also got the powers of Cassandra Webb, making Mattie an incredibly powerful individual.

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Eventually, those powers went back to their original owners, and Mattie moved in with her uncle and aunt – the Jamesons. She was then kidnapped, drugged, and abused by her so-called boyfriend, who used her not only for prostitution but as a source of the Mutant Growth Hormone that he used to develop a new drug.

Mattie was saved by Jessica Jones, after which she herself became a private investigator. Eventually, Franklin moved to Los Angeles, where she was a part of the Loners team before she eventually met her sad, untimely end.

How did Mattie Franklin become Spider-Woman?

Unlike most ‘spider-people’ in Marvel Comics, Mattie Franklin wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider to get her powers. Instead, her powers came from a completely different, mystical source.

As I’ve mentioned, Mattie grew up living with her businessman father, who was a questionable person at best. One day, she overheard a phone conversation between her dad and Norman Osborn about a ritual called The Gathering of Five.

mattie franklin gathering of five

In the ritual, five people were surrounded by five ancient, arcane relics, and each of them was bestowed either incredible power or incredible peril. The five blessings and curses were power, knowledge, immortality, insanity, and death. However, neither was what it first seemed to be.

For instance, what first seemed to be power – which Norman Osborn sought and got – was actually insanity. What seemed to be insanity was actually knowledge, etc. Eventually, Mattie got the power Osborn strived for – granting her superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, reflexes, durability, and even flight at subsonic speeds.

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Her fascination with Spider-Man made her choose the Spider-Woman mantle – at first, she didn’t really have a clear connection to other spider-folk. That is until she absorbed the powers of Charlotte Witter, Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter, and Madame Web. 

While having all those powers, Mattie could produce bio-electric blasts and psionic webbing, grow four psychic spider legs from her back, and have mild telepathic and precognitive abilities. Jessica Drew, Cassandra Webb, and Julia Carpenter eventually got their powers back, while Mattie was left with her own powers and those of Charlotte Witter.

How did Mattie Franklin die in Marvel Comics?

First, Mattie lost her mother. Then, she was lonely and neglected by her father before being exploited for drugs and sent into prostitution. Even when she got out of it, saved by Jessica Jones, Mattie had a horrific time trying to get off the drugs her body became dependent on during her time in ‘captivity.’ And after all that, Mattie didn’t die once – but twice.

Her first death came during the Grim Hunt storyline with Kraven the Hunter. Madame Web and Mattie were both captured by the Kravinoff family, after which Sasha Kravinoff killed Franklin as a ritualistic sacrifice to try and resurrect her son, Vladimir.

mattie franklin comics death

Vladimir came back as a lion-like humanoid creature, but it was proven to simply be a test – the real sacrifice ought to be Spider-Man. Eventually, they resurrected Kraven the Hunter as well – but instead of being on their side, Kraven killed both Sasha and Vladimir in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #637.

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The second time Mattie Franklin died was after she and Madame Web were resurrected by the Jackal as clones in ‘Clone Conspiracy’ #2. The Jackal activated the signal to make all the clones Carrion zombies, but Mattie managed to resist and help save numerous people from the zombies.

She revealed to her uncle that she was a superhero, but Franklin eventually sacrificed herself again to save Silk from the zombies in ‘Silk’ Vol. 2 #17, turning to dust in Silk’s arms. Despite all the tragedy in her life, Mattie was still a pure superhero, sacrificing herself once again for the benefit of others.

What happens to Mattie Franklin in ‘Madame Web’?

Finally – we still have no idea about Mattie Franklin’s character in ‘Madame Web,’ as the movie doesn’t come out until February 14, 2024.

The only thing we know for sure is that the character will be portrayed by Celeste O’Connor and that she’ll be a part of the Spider-Women team, including Madame Web and at least two other Spider-Women – Sydney Sweeney’s Julia Carpenter and Isabela Merced’s Anya Corazon.

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However, we can use the comics to speculate a bit about what happens to Mattie Franklin in the movie. There’s a strong possibility that Mattie will, at one point, absorb the powers of other Spider-Women – that is, if the movie follows the plot from the comics.

Those powers would eventually go back to their rightful owners, but it could be the key to defeating Ezekiel Sims – the main villain of the movie, portrayed by Tahar Rahim.

mattie franklin madame web celeste o connor

Now, the next SSU movie in line after ‘Madame Web’ is ‘Kraven the Hunter,’ which is expected to come out in August 2024. I doubt we’ll get any Kraven in ‘Madame Web’ – aside from a potential cameo or a post-credit scene appearance – but the fact that Kraven is the next film in line might point to Mattie’s eventual future and fate in the SSU.

It doesn’t have to happen in ‘Madame Web’ or ‘Kraven the Hunter’ – but I bet that Mattie will eventually perish at the hand of Kraven the Hunter or the Kravinoff family, just like she did in the Grim Hunt storyline in Marvel Comics.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens in ‘Madame Web’ that drops on February 14, 2024, and ‘Kraven the Hunter’ that’ll follow, likely on August 30, 2024. Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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