Ratiing 4/5 – Most people know Jessica Jones from the Netflix series because Marvel plan for world domination is to literally translate their entire comic line into movies and TV shows therefore turning the planet into one legion of Marvel zombies. Apparently it’s working. We comic know Jessica Jones from her introduction series Alias and this comic series was a big deal. It’s what elevated Luke Cage, it connected to one of the most depressing Daredevil runs on the planet and the entire comic geek world wanted more Jessica Jones no matter what. Jessica’s marriage to Luke Cage was pretty much applauded. I had very specific problems with and some of Brian Michael Bendis‘ choices but the relationship work in context of the characters and the situation. Soon afterwards they had Jessica living in Avengers mansion with her daughter and she and Luke were a family. However, this did present a problem. Jessica Jones came out of a hard boiled detective series with mature themes and more f-bombs then you can find in a Joe Pesci movie. She was not a wife and mother and was taking a backstage to Luke Cage for many reasons. People might have had a yearning to see her dress up as Jewel again but it would never fit her character and after the mega-success of the Netflix series we all knew it was only a matter of time before Marvel gave her a series. But how do you do it? You can’t have super villains constantly attacking the home, that would get to old too fast. You’ve got the marriage and the baby, but lately Jessica has been showing in Miles Morales’ Spider-Man book at her old office looking very much as she did in her original series, while Luke is running around with Danny again in another Heroes for Hire book. So what do you do? Bring her back to the beginning.
Super Hero Jail
The comic opens with Jessica Jones in super-hero jail. This place is called “The Cellar” and I can’t say I remember hearing of it before – I thought the super people jail in New York was The Raft. Marvel makes a big deal about of having such facilities, and Jessica Jones can throw a car if she wants to so it makes sense that if she got into some kind of trouble this is where you hold her. We’re not told why she’s there only that she’s being released. Afterwards she’s back in her office looking for any job to come along to get some “normalcy” in her life. She’s visited by Misty Knight and Jessica Drew at separate points and a woman hires he to make sure her husband is from this Earth. In the end her husband, Luke Cage comes up and asks her where their daughter is. The book is done with the same art as Alias – by they same artists, but I’ll get to that. It makes you feel right at home with the old Jessica Jones. Alienating people, running away from something and always caught in the middle of the world she’s trying to get away from even though what she is locks her into that world anyway. Looks like they’re not going for the hard retcon but doing to Jessica Jones what Bendis did to Daredevil, tear her whole life down completely. The weird part is you actually like both sides of Jessica Jones, the wife and mother or loner detective. But since she’s the latter in the Netflix series Marvel wants to make her that in her new comic series.
Bringing the Band Back
Brian Michael Bendis is one of the best character writers in comics today. He’s excellent with dialogue and pacing, and when his characters talk it’s exactly how you imagine them to sound. Bendis is great at comic writing but awesome with hard boiled noir crime dramas. It could be about a criminal, a cop or a detective Bendis shines the most at these kinds of stories, and he also is extremely good at putting some form of realism in these types of stories when putting super powers in the mix. Powers is an excellent example of him at his best. Jessica Jones is no different. Bringing back artist Michael Gaydos and colorist Matt Hollingsworth – the same crew from the original Alias comic – and adding cover artist David Mack to the mix makes the new Jessica Jones series feel like you’ve come home again. Of course we’re going to have to get through the first arc of what got her from wife and mother to right back where she started and however things turn up this is the team to make it interesting.
This feels like a good jumping off point for mew Jessica Jones readers, but I would still suggest reading Alias, the Pulse, Secret War the four issue mini-series starring Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and at least the Avengers annual wedding issue. Jessica Jones is one of those few character where going back and reading her older stories is completely worth it. This felt like it should be Alias #40 instead of Jessica Jones #1, but I know why they had to start from number one and I’m waiting to see if I can forgive them for how they are going to make her a loner detective again. I’m sorry they have to do a “two steps back” thing because it would be more interesting if she had to balance being the detective while also being a wife and mother and involved in every big super hero thing that goes on. The truth is, she’s Jessica Jones, we fans want more of her and we’re ready to forgive just about anything. Whether is will be a good or bad thing remains to be scene with the full story arc, but so far they have a pretty good start.