Name: Betty Brant Leeds
Identity: Publicly known
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record
Other Aliases: None
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Marital Status: Widowed
Known Relatives: Bennett Brant (brother, deceased), Edward "Nod"
Leeds (husband, deceased)
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: New York City
First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4
History: Little is known about Betty Brant before she dropped
out of high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to become a secretary for
J. Jonah Jameson, publisher of
the Daily Bugle. There she met freelance
photographer Peter Parker, who was secretly the costumed crimefighter Spider-Man.
Peter first realized he was attracted to Betty after hearing her defend Spider-Man
in an argument with Jameson. Peter and Betty first grew close during a talk
they had at the Bugle offices after they had been attacked by the criminal Vulture.
But it was after Betty impressed Peter with her kindness by visiting his ill
Aunt May in the hospital that Petty and Betty truly began falling in love with
Betty originally took the secretarial position to help her brother, attorney
Bennett Brant, pay back the massive gambling debts he had incurred from his
client, the criminal Blackie Glaxton. With the help of the superhuman criminal
Doctor Octopus, Glaxton kidnapped
the Brant siblings as insurance against anyone preventing him from leaving the
Glaxton double-crossed Bennett by refusing to free him of his debts. A fight
broke out between them as Spider-Man entered the fray and attempted to rescue
the Brants. Spider-Man battled Doctor Octopus in the midst of heated gunfire,
during which a stray bullet killed Bennett. Blaming Spider-Man for her brother's
death, Betty told him that she never wanted to see him again, unaware that he
and Peter Parker were the same person.
Soon afterward, Betty realized that Spider-Man had only been trying to help
her and Bennett, but she still did not want to see him again since he would
remind her of her brother's death. Peter Parker continued his romance with Betty,
although he now believed he could never tell her he was Spider-Man.
Betty feared without justification that Peter actually cared more for his classmate
Liz Allan than he did for her. This misunderstanding led to strains in her relationship
with Peter. Eventually, Betty began dating Daily Bugle reporter Edward "Ned"
Leeds. Leeds soon proposed to Betty, but she still loved Peter. However, Peter
decided that being Spider-Man made him an unsuitable husband for Betty, and
intentionally tried to alienate her. Although she still felt drawn to Peter,
Betty finally decided to accept Leeds' proposal. However, Betty and Peter remain
close friends to this day.
After an engagement that lasted years, Ned and Betty were finally married,
although the ceremony was interrupted by the costumed criminal Mirage, whom
Spider-Man then captured.
Jonah Jameson sent Betty and Ned to Paris on an all expense paid “working
honeymoon.” But it seemed the marriage was doomed from the start. Once
in France Betty began to notice a subtle change in Ned's behavior as he became
totally consumed by his work. While Ned was on one assignment or another as
an American with no friends and unable to speak French, Betty began to feel
even lonelier than before she was married. As Ned was covering an insurrection
in Cyprus, Betty separated from Ned and flew back to New York. There she sought
the consoling arms of her one good friend Peter Parker who had just been jilted
by Mary Jane Watson.
Once Ned discovered Betty's disappearance, he returned to New York and found
his wife in Peter’s company. He told Peter to take his hands of his wife
and then punched him in the jaw. Later, Ned tried to force Peter to never see
Betty again. Peter bitterly announced that he never wanted to see either of
them again, telling Betty that he was only interested in her to make Mary Jane
jealous. He hoped that this lie would help bring the couple back together, but
in stead Betty slapped Peter and broke down in tears. Ned castigated Peter for
being unnecessarily cruel and then left With Betty. Taking a leave of absence
from their work at the Daily Bugle to work things out, Ned and Betty began to
completely rethink their marriage.
During this period, however, the strain of Ned's job and marriage began to
take their toll on his mind. Betty was still having night-mares about Spider-Man
and Ned blamed his failed marriage on the wall-crawlers influence. Vowing to
rid the world of Spider-Man, an informant led Ned to an old hideout of the original
Green Goblin. Killing his informant,
Ned decided to use the Goblin's equipment to become the costumed criminal known
as the Hobgoblin.
As the Hobgoblin, Ned increasingly estranged from his wife Betty, who had no
idea that her husband led a secret criminal life. After almost being gunned
down by the Sin-Eater, Betty this time turned to her longtime friend Flash Thompson
for solace. Ned, suspecting they were having an affair, captured Thompson and
framed him for being the Hobgoblin.
Escaping from police custody, Thompson eventually found refuge with Betty after
her husband moved out of the apartment. The Hobgoblin attacked Thompson at Betty’s
apartment where he unmasked and she saw his true face. This revelation pushed
her already fragile mind over the edge. Shortly thereafter, Ned left for Berlin
on assignment where he was assassinated. Ironically, his last thought was to
tell the absent Betty that he was sorry.
When news of Ned's dealt death reached Betty, she experienced a complete mental
breakdown. Suffering from withdrawal and denial she carried on life as though
Ned was alive and had never been a super-villain. She also hallucinated that
her dead mother was still alive.
In such a frail state of mind, Betty was easy pickings for a young recruiter
working for a faction known as the Cult of Love. The promises of love and spiritual
healing he offered her were to good to pass. After losing everything in the
world she had ever loved, Betty relinquished all her possessions to a man known
only as Teacher, the one man she believed would help her.
Teacher was a consummate con-artist who led the Cult of Love. His specialty
was convincing people he could perform miracles. His most effective scam was
displaying “healing powers” very graphic ways.
Due largely in part to Flash Thompson's characteristically bold behavior, he
and Spider-Man literally brought the Cult of Love operation down around Teacher's
ears, who perished in a conflagration within his New Jersey house “house
of worship.” Betty Brant was successfully deprogrammed, but all her worldly
belongings either perished in the fire or were sold by the Cult. With no place
to live, Betty took up residence with Thompson.
During the evening of city wide chaos referred to as the "Inferno,"
Flash Thompson's domicile was attacked by two demons, one posing as Spider-Man
the other as Betty's dead husband. Ironically it was during this confrontation
that Betty to come to grips with reality. While she fought for her life against
the demon that resembled Ned, she witnessed the spirit of her real husband prompting
her to stand up and start fighting her own battles. Whether this apparition
was the true spirit of Ned Leeds or just a figment of Betty's imagination is
With renewed vigor and inspiration, Betty took the initiative and led Thompson
out of the apartment, narrowly escaping the blast of a makeshift bomb she manufactured
with Thompson old broken outdoor gas heater.
Betty is learning to enjoy her new life, and she works as a part-time secretary
for Kate Cushing city editor of the Daily Bugle. She also began to take steps
to become an investigative reporter. One of her first assignments was tracking
down the Foreigner, the man she believed murdered her husband, and battling
the Foreigner's high-powered assassins to a standstill.
Betty remains on the Daily Bugle staff as an investigative reporter.
Height: 5 ft. 7 in.
Weight: 125 lbs.
Strength Level: Betty Brant Leeds possesses the normal human
strength of a woman her age height, and build who engages in moderate regular
Known Superhuman Powers: None