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Throughout the years, Spider-Woman has had quite a few solo runs, most of which if not all have been good and Steve Foxe’s 2023 run is no different. When Jessica was erased from the Great Web in 2022’s Spider-Man, I initially thought it was kind of funny that those events were just ignored everywhere, namely Captain Marvel, which Jessica was frequently appearing in. I was more than okay with that too, but Foxe’s run has been exploring the ramifications of that event and leading Jessica down some really interesting routes for the entire duration of his run, something that issue #6 continues in great lengths.

Jessica’s backstory and background are things that often come back to haunt her, but in Foxe’s book he takes a really interesting route with it: having Gerry live through what Jessica herself did and Jessica’s subsequent efforts to save her son. When Jessica Drew had her baby in her 2015 solo, it really was one of the first choices Jessica got to make with her body on her own and, considering her long history of being experimented on and the “replaced by a Skrull in Secret Invasion” of it all, it was a really big move for the character. It felt like the first time Jessica got to make a choice not just with her own body and about her body, but for herself. Jessica being a single mom ended up as a really cool choice for her character and readers quickly saw how much Jessica wanted to protect her son from growing up and suffering as she did.

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Foxe makes those horrors a reality and Jessica’s character takes some big strides with how she responds. Anyone who reads Spider-Woman knows that Jessica has a knack for self-destructing and falling into a deep pit of depression – they also know Jessica’s history with being overlooked in Secret Invasion and her reactions to being forgotten by characters like Carol Danvers when she was in an amnesia spell. Foxe’s Jessica is certainly off the walls and quick to respond, but she isn’t hitting the lows of Spider-Woman (2020) or Bendis’ Spider-Woman (2009) even though being erased from the Great Web and thus forgotten and her son being picked up and “raised” by Hydra would certainly be enough to warrant it. We certainly see Jessica depressed and upset, but we also see her moving forward, self reflecting, and have moments of levity.

Last issue, Jessica ran into Spider-Boy and this time, she meets another little boy – considering all that is going on with Gerry becoming Green Mamba and artificially aged, Foxe’s choices with these characters are really evident here. Jessica can be abrasive or brash, but she’s got her guard down with these little boys, whether it’s helping Spider-Boy and reminding him to get some sleep or smiling and offering a hand to the little boy on the train car she’s saving in issue #6. These characters and Jessica’s interactions with them are meant to remind us (and her) of her son, the driving force of this book and her desire to look out for them and let them know it’ll be okay is simultaneously everything she wishes she could tell her son right now. These are the gentle moments where this book not only shines, but really takes a step in a new direction for Jess, who has these light and hopeful moments in the darkness for once.

Star’s appearance is fun as well and she makes for an entertaining villain this issue. Star was one of the many concepts from Kelly Thompson’s Captain Marvel run that seemed to fit in so seamlessly – after all, Carol’s villains always do seem to be unhealthily obsessed with her. Star’s appearance is another fun connection between Jessica’s history and the connections (and adversaries) she’s gained through being such a big part of Carol’s books.

Foxe’s book has always had good artists, I think, and Ig Guara is no different. Guara’s art is fierce in action scenes and gentle when it needs to be. When Jessica is having a moment of sadness thinking about her son, it’s incredibly expressive but it shines in the softer moments like smiling as she offers the little boy a hand to take him to safety from a runaway train.

So far, Spider-Woman (2023) is another strong entry in Jessica’s solo catalogue and with the set up Foxe has thus far, I can’t wait to see where it goes and where this story winds up in the end.

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