Before Paul starts our upcoming Jessica Jones reviews tomorrow, Alias superfan Jamie Gerber has provided an anticipatory Prelude to Watching article before she binges the show and will return at the end of the run to provide a Post Mortem overview! I remember the first time I picked up Alias. Initially, it was a bit confusing, because at the time, there was a TV show of the same name, which was completely unrelated. I had been reading both Daredevil and Ultimate Spider-Man obsessively and so when I saw that Brian Michael Bendis was behind Alias, I wanted to check it out. Immediately, I recognized David Mack’s stunning cover art, because I was a fan of Kabuki as well. As soon as I opened the first trade paperback, I was completely transported by Michael Gaydos’s gorgeous and gritty artwork. The series was well underway by that point, but I caught up as quickly as I could, breezing through the first couple books and then collecting the issues, so that I could read it monthly. It didn’t take long to fall for Jessica Jones, the failed superhero turned private investigator. She was a damaged, hard drinking, mistake-making woman, who fully embraced her sexuality and didn’t take shit from anyone. In other words, she was like no one else I’d seen in Marvel comics. This was in part due to the fact that many elements of Jessica’s story could only have been published under Marvel Max, the company’s new imprint for more explicit material, which launched with Alias. The dialogue was Bendis at his best, snappy, clever and engaging. He managed to put us right in Jessica’s head, showing her at both her best and worse. Michael Gaydos’s art was perfect for New York’s seedy underbelly and for Jessica’s state of mind in general, especially when we see how far she’s fallen. Aside from Gaydos’s masterful work, Bendis enlisted the help of other top-notch artists. His Ultimate Spider-Man collaborator Mark Bagley wonderfully rendered Jessica’s dream sequences, taking us to a brighter, shinier, if more naïve place in her head. David Mack’s brilliant cover art wound up bleeding into the interior of Alias, in the form of mixed media journals created by a missing girl that Jessica was searching for. On top of that, my all time favorite artist Bill Sienkiewicz even lent a hand, illustrating the pages of a fictional book, which served as the backdrop for another of Jessica’s cases. Alias ran for twenty-eight issues and although it had a superb ending, I had a difficult time saying goodbye to Jessica Jones. Luckily, Bendis brought her into the regular Marvel Universe with The Pulse. It was a fine story, but never took root in quite the same way that Alias did. This was no doubt partially due to the fact that Bendis no longer had the freedom to write Jessica in the manner to which he had become accustomed. He had to tone her down and while I did like The Pulse, I felt that he lost a bit of Jessica in the process. When I found out that Jessica Jones would be one of the characters getting her own Netflix series, I was, well excited would be a hideous understatement. I waited with baited breath for each new scrap of news I could find. The casting choices were strong. Kristen Ritter’s work on Breaking Bad proved that she could handle Jessica’s fucked-up psyche and Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 showcased her comedy chops, which would also come in handy in portraying the PI, who lets not forget, is funny. I’ve really enjoyed Mike Colter in both film and television, so I’m sure he’ll make a great Luke Cage. As for Killgrave, they couldn’t have chosen better than David Tennant. Although the Purple Man had humble beginnings as a goofy Daredevil villain, Bendis turned him into quite a monster and Tennant will no doubt bring all the necessary layers to the role. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the involvement of the Purple Man. He is Jessica’s true adversary and the architect of her downfall. In the comic, we get to know her before learning her secrets. Jessica doesn’t confront Killgrave until the final arc, so it seemed early to bring him in. However, once I considered the rules of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, I realized that there probably would not be that many stories that they could pull directly from the comic. The opening arc of Alias has Jessica caught in the middle of a conspiracy to unmask Captain America and if one thing is for sure, it’s that Steve Rogers will not be making an appearance. Aside from that, several of the stories are very mutant heavy and Marvel can’t even utter that word in the MCU. From what I’ve seen so far, no one is trying to clean up Jessica Jones, which is good, because she’s supposed to be a mess. So often, the essence of an unlikable character gets lost in translation from page to screen, because of the fear that they won’t be relatable enough. The thing about Jessica is that she is rather bellicose, but that is precisely what makes her just like the rest of us. She has great power, but flounders with the responsibility piece of the superhero puzzle. Jessica is down, but never out and while she considers herself to be done with heroics, she just can’t help herself, because she is, in fact, a hero. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.