For quite some time Jessica Jones has remained a background character in the grand scope of the Marvel Universe. But now, after her hit Netflix series, Jessica Jones creator Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos return to bring back Jessica Jones in her new on-going series, 15 years after her original introduction in the pages of ‘Alias’.
This title brings back a rather forgotten genre to the Marvel Universe: mystery. Much like in the original series, the issue sees our protagonist working as a private investigator for everyday citizens. Most of her cases are the usual duds such as a cheating husband or a distrustful relative. However, this comic presents us with a scenario which truly embraces the universe it is set in. A client presents her with information on her husband that seems absolutely outlandish at best, delving into other-worldly possibility, but Jessica decides to take this case on anyway. Whatever pays the bills at the end of the day. But the life of Jessica Jones was never easy to begin with as multiple characters start pulling at the seems of a particular question which only Jessica knows the answer to: Where is the baby? Jessica now has to avoid those prying into her private life all the while trying to live a normal life in a not so normal world. And the reader is taken along with her.
I’m very critical of the way in which Brian Michael Bendis writes. He’s written amazing books, but more recently he’s written sub-par and unbearable books. Nowadays when I see a title with his name on it, I get put off of reading it. However, I have nothing but praise for his return to the world of Jessica Jones as Bendis proves that given a character he loves he’ll do amazing things with them. Seeing as how Bendis created Jessica, he understands the tone and feel that a Jessica Jones book should incorporate and, in this instance, it works in such a way that it feels like it directly continues from his other Jessica Jones titles. From the foul-mothered rants to the “without a care in the world” attitude, Bendis nails the personality of Jessica once more by returning her to her roots. It was always quite relieving to see that the Netflix show did not have a major influence on how the book was written; Jessica Jones was still being written as Jessica Jones and not Krysten Ritter. The use of characters such as Misty Knight, Luke Cage and Spiderwoman really helped ground the story in its street-level roots with these characters also helping establish what I can only assume to be the ongoing mystery of the first arc: Where is the baby? The way in which Bendis incorporates this story with the case of Jessica’s client is perfect and flows evenly without any sudden hiccups.
It’d be hard to imagine a Jessica Jones book without the iconic pencils of Michael Gaydos coupled with the water color art of Matt Hollingsworth. Thankfully, this duo returns and amplifies the book to the level of the original, to the point that without their art the book just wouldn’t feel the same. Gaydos uses his pencils to portray characters in a different light. While most other characters in comics are portrayed as sleek, rounded and flawless, Gaydos draws his characters with thick black lines, lots of shading and often shrouded in shadows, showing how the world of Jessica Jones and essentially this darker side of the Marvel Universe is far from perfect. It reflects the struggles that Jessica has been through and that, even though most of her nightmares are over, the scars still haven’t healed. Hollingsworth’s colors add a sort of distortion to the images, also reflects the darker tone of Jessica Jones, while embracing its noir-like roots.
Overall, Jessica Jones is a fantastic comic that hooks you in from the first page. With Bendis’s phenomenal writing of Jessica coupled with an interesting mystery and fantastic art, the title is a must-read for fans old and new of the former hero.
SPOILER SECTION: DISCUSSING THE PLOT (My More Informal Analysis)
The issue starts with Jessica being released from a prison known as the Cellar. She’s bailed out by an anonymous source, but not much else is revealed about this event. She returns to Alias Investigations and shifts through messages; one from Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, who asks if Jessica is alright. Misty Knight suddenly bursts in and questions Jessica, asking “Where is the baby?”. Jessica kicks her out and ignores her pleas, kicking off the mystery.
Jessica goes to meet a client, Sophie Brownlee, who claims that her husband has been acting strange, sating that ever since eight months ago, he’s been talking about how he was married to someone called Gwen, that they had a child called Norma and that Peter Parker is a liar. Sophie brings out some online research showing how she thinks he’s from a different earth in the multiverse, but Jessica dismisses it as crazy online theories, saying that she’ll find out the real reason. Jessica leaves to find out that Spiderwoman has been spying on her. Upon confronting her, Spiderwoman asks about the baby, and says that she needs to talk to “him”. On a little side note, Spiderwoman looks quite a lot like Krysten Ritter in this comic. That could be just me, however.
Jessica goes to scope out Sophie’s husband, who she finds standing on an empty sidewalk in the middle of the night. As she starts taking pictures in her car, Luke Cage confronts her, asking where their daughter is.
Since this is a mystery, I might as well provide my take on what happened. My theory is that Kilgrave aka The Purple Man has returned into Jessica’s life, and for the safety of the baby, Jessica has hid her away from everyone. This is important as Kilgrave would most likely use his mental manipulation on the people close to her in order to steal her baby. Kilgrave could have also made her commit a crime, linking back to why she was in jail at the beginning of the issue.