Netflix premiered the new Marvel TV series Jessica Jones on Friday, so for those of you gearing up for your binge watching, we thought we’d let you know exactly who it was you were about to get to know. For details on just what the original comic series Alias was all about check out our INTRODUCTION TO JESSICA JONES. This entry will give you more insight into Jessica the character, and click here for a look at the history of Killgrave, The Purple Man! Warning! Potential/Likely Spoilers Ahead! Who is Jessica Jones? Well, initially she was supposed to be someone else altogether. Brian Bendis, succeeding on his Daredevil run and with several interesting creator-owned projects under his belt, had always had one favorite Marvel character he was hoping to write. So he did a proposal for Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman, that found our always conflicted anti-heroine (who had begun as a Hydra experiment, who may have been a spider transformed into a human, whose major distinction was that – despite the name – she had very little in common with Spider-Man and she had pheromones that made people hate her) down on her luck again and out of costume as a private investigator. Pretty much the ideal Bendis sad sack, powerful but conflicted, a checkered past, and a wide open future if she could just get it together. She’d also died and been resurrected a few times, and in fact had tried this very shtick before. TPTB at the time were skittish about taking such a risk with a legacy property (dating back to the 1970s), but they liked most of what they heard. So Jessica became a new character, with a different (but not too different) power set and occupying a retconned space in Marvel history. Bendis came up with a different origin, and the more perfunctory beats (origin, super-villain, endless bad luck) were more a post-modern gloss on Marvel’s whole formula for solo titles than a lack of creativity. Jessica’s origin was somewhere between Spider-man and Daredevil, an accidental encounter with radioactivity, but hers gave her unreliable powers while killing the rest of her family. When those powers manifested fully, she donned a ridiculously bright costume (and the comics series was always brilliant in giving us Michael Gaydos for the dark current reality, while shiny Bendis familiar Mark Bagley gave us the more four-color past, even in its worst moments) and tried to emulate her teenage idols. Until her fall, engineered by Killgrave (aka the Purple Man) led to months of abuse and captivity – months of absence that no one in her life even noticed – ending only with her attacking the Avengers and injuring regular Bendis soft target the Scarlet Witch. While the Avengers, being the Avengers, could forgive someone acting under the influence (especially after violently beating her into a coma, despite knowing her), Jessica could never really forgive herself (or them). Killgrave had turned her into a weapon, and he delighted in her debasement. Her powers, standard as they are (a vague but considerable degree of invulnerability and strength, limited flight) made her a formidable journalist and private detective when she recovered, and it is in this mode that she ends up contributing most to the heroes she felt she’d wronged. She befriends Luke Cage along the way, who seems to understand even her lowest points, and, in a crucial moment, proves herself a true ally to Captain America when he most needed loyalty. The series was notable for its frequent dark tone, for the trademark Bendis way with long but naturalistic and partially incoherent conversations, and for the way Jessica’s story, as full as it was of violation, alcoholism and existential despair, was actually a redemption arc, and for more characters than just Jessica herself. At one points she meets her inspiration, Jessica Drew (also out of costume, also with an oddly unreliable power set) as both are trying to rescue yet another Spider-Woman who has fallen into a kind of super-hero slave trade. Though they meet cute in battle, they become allies over time, and Jessica Jones’ friendship with Carol Danvers (another Bendis favorite from the House of Ideas era) is a reliable source of understanding and needed reality checks along the way. In fact, after her solo series, she marries, has a baby with Luke, and eventually becomes an Avenger herself for a time. Looks like the Netflix show is sticking to the bad old days, at least at first, but it’s the perfect property through which to see the larger Marvel Universe unfold, on the similar mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen trod by another gritty street fighter in red. And Bendis ultimately wrote two Spider-Woman series (the first of which was better), but maybe in a way it was because he was hitting beats with Jessica Drew that Jessica Jones had already landed. One thing about her is now clear: her punches connect. See larger image Alias Omnibus (New Printing) Once, Jessica Jones was a super hero. But not a very good one. Now a chain-smoking, self-destructive alcoholic, Jessica runs Alias Investigati ons – a one-woman private-investigative firm specializing in superhuman cases. But Jessica’s life becomes expendable when she uncovers a famous hero’s true identity. Thrust into the midst of a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels, has Jessica burned too many bridges to turn to old friends for help? Plus: Jessica investigates the disappearance of a teenage girl rumored to be a mutant in a prejudiced small town. COLLECTING: ALIAS 1-28, WHAT IF JESSICA JONES HAD JOINED THE AVENGERS? New From: $109.66 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.