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Review: Jessica Jones #1

jessicajones1coverJessica Jones is definitely off the couch and… fresh out of jail in Jessica Jones #1 as her co-creators, the creative team behind Alias reunites to weave quite the mystery. And Jessica Jones #1 definitely has an “Alias II” vibe with Jessica on her own, trying to avoid people who “care” about her, and having a weird P.I. client, whose case may end up connected to the larger Marvel Universe. (For example, the first arc of Alias seemed like a political conspiracy thriller, but ended up being about Captain America’s secret identity.) And then, there are also the visual and verbal hallmarks of Alias making their triumphant return, like Marvel heroes showing up in their civilian identities, snarky dialogue from Brian Michael Bendis, rough-hewn, yet subtly expressive art from Michael Gaydos, and a muted noir color palette from Matt Hollingsworth.

The first issue of Jessica Jones seems more concerned with the intrigue and mysteries surrounding our protagonist than her emotions or characterization, but Bendis and Gaydos still make sure her personality shines through beneath mentions of the multiverse, Fantastic Four, and guest appearances from Misty Knight and Jessica Drew, who weirdly is a dead ringer for Krysten Ritter. She is exasperated by the whole going to prison deal and just wants a simple P.I. case to take her mind off things.

Jessica gets a great character defining moment when Misty Knight shows up at her office and attacks her because Jessica and Luke Cage’s baby is missing. When it seems like Misty is going to deck her with her metal arm, Jessica grabs and kicks her in a simple, yet potent bit of choreography from Gaydos. And Bendis follows this up with a pithy bit of dialogue cementing her eternal underdog status in the Marvel Universe, “Didn’t know you were that strong.” “No one ever does.” Jessica Jones has great superpowers, a keen investigative mind, and even got an endorsement from Captain America at the end of Alias, but she has been stuck as a housewife for the past few years. This is all set to change in the new series.

On a pure entertainment level, Jessica Jones #1 is all hook. Even without the P.I. case, there are the three huge mysteries about the location of her baby Dani, why she was in a jail for supervillains, and why her and Luke’s marriage is in the rocks. The cliffhanger at the end of the issue might hold the answer for one of these burning questions though. Then, there’s the case itself, which is tangentially connected to the end of Secret Wars (and the Marvel multiverse), possibly Bendis’ work in the Ultimate Universe, and a big name Marvel character as a woman named Sophie thinks her husband is from another dimension or universe.

Gaydos does a nice job of making Jessica actually taken aback a little by this case with surprised glance and even jessica_jones_1_preview_3an eyebrow raise after Sophie mentions “Peter Parker”. Bendis, Gaydos, and Hollingsworth also make a little magic with a dark color palette, rough camera lens-like layouts, and confident dialogue about Jessica finding the husband and closing the case. If anything, Jessica Jones definitely knows she has P.I. skills and talks trash to Jessica Drew about this criticizing her form on a stake out.

Jessica Jones #1 isn’t flawless, and some parts of the comic seem like a band going back and playing their earlier hits instead of breaking new ground with some reused faces from Gaydos and ripping down the past 10 years of Jessica Jones’ history to make the new series more compelling. But, if anything, there is loads of tension in Jessica Jones #1 as Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, and Matt Hollingsworth have her way out of her comfort zone and lonely like her early days in Alias. This may seem regressive, but Jessica is channeling her rage and negative feelings to solve Sophie’s case instead of drowning it in a bottle of whiskey and is definitely more sure of herself than she was in Alias.

Jessica Jones #1 is a bold, high stakes start to Jessica’s new solo series, but its unique visual style and attitude from Bendis, Gaydos, Hollingsworth isn’t drowned out by the big time plot developments.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Michael Gaydos Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review