Painkiller Jane was created by Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada in 1995 for Event Comics. Initially she began as a supporting character for their 22 Brides series. Then she went on to get her own five issue series. When she began her own series, Palmiotti and Quesada changed her origin story. She has also crossed over to such titles such as Punisher, Vampirella and Hellboy. The Sci Fi Channel aired a made for television movie in 2005 that garnered enough attention to be made in a Sci Fi original series that aired in 2007.
Painkiller Jane’s origin tale in 22 Brides introduces her as Jane Vasco, an undercover policewoman who infiltrates the Fonti Mob family. The Mob Boss Joe Fonti plants a bomb on Vasco without her knowledge and sends her to deliver a message to his rival, a gang leader known as Adam.
Adam escapes the blast but Vasco is horribly injured. Adam revives Jane and cares for her. In doing so he mysteriously endows her with healing powers. Vasco quits the force and goes on to become the vigilante, Painkiller Jane.
In her own series, the origin of Painkiller Jane changes. In this one, Jane Vasco is a decorated Detective who along with her partner Maureen Quinn take on the Crime syndicate run by the Blanco Brothers. During one such operation, Quinn runs out on Vasco leaving her to the Blanco Brothers. The Brothers try to murder Jane by giving her a cocktail made from a bad batch of drugs. After taking the cocktail, Jane falls into a coma for over a year. Quinn feels guilty for leaving Jane and along with Dr. Seth Hiller, who falls in love with the comatose Jane, care and protect her. They find a dead Jane Doe and pass her off as Jane Vasco so the Blanco Brothers would think she was dead and then when she awakens, they begin to train her to get back into shape. They also find that somehow, the drugs and the coma made Jane able to heal quickly. So she is ready to fight back and becomes Painkiller Jane.
Though Jane is virtually indestructible with her ability to heal and regenerate, she feels each and every wound, as well as the process of healing. She feels her bones break and then snap into place. Her life is one constant sense of pain.
She has no powers beyond that, but is an expert marksman and skilled fighter.
A rated R movie starring and produced by two time Oscar nominee, Jessica Chastain is said to be in the works.