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Review: Jessica Jones #15

JJ15For the first half of Jessica Jones #15, Killgrave won’t shut the hell up, and Brian Michael Bendis pens some incredibly creepy, gaslighting dialogue as he talks about how interesting Jessica is which is answered by sarcastic glances courtesy of artist Michael Gaydos. Then, Bendis, Gaydos, and colorist Matt Hollingsworth take things in more of a black ops direction as the comic builds to an action horror crescendo. However, the scariest part of this comic is the opening conversation as the Purple Man tries to be civilized and ends up sounding like a wannabe pickup artist/man-baby/psychopath. Bendis and Gaydos lean less on the mind control aspect of his powers and return to the whole abusive relationship part and make him more frightening. So, Jessica Jones #15 ends up being a talk-y comic book, but the extended monologue has the chilling effect of being like a man talking over a woman because he thinks he knows best. Yuck.

Mostly, Hollingsworth has used a drab, yet noir-ish color palette for his work on Alias and Jessica Jones. However, Jessica Jones #15 is filled with pops of purple and yellow for Killgrave that starts small when he is chatting with Jessica and then erupts when he is shot by SHIELD and uses his powers again. The purple in the scene where he possesses everyone around Jessica, Carol Danvers, Nick Fury Jr., and Kraven the Hunter (Of all people.) is like a circuit breaker exploding and setting the house on fire. Michael Gaydos bombards the page with figures and people with intense expression and busts up the grid format that he has utilized for most of the issue. Talking and Killgrave pretending to be a “nice guy” is over, and only action and mind controlling one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes is left on the table.

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Dialogue is one of Brian Michael Bendis’ strengths, or definitely signatures, which is interesting because comics are primarily a visual, not verbal medium. Killgrave gets a long villainous monologue in Jessica Jones #15 that stretches over almost the entire first half of the comic, but because comics don’t have sound like film/TV, it doesn’t have the same effect as if it was delivered by David Tennant. Plus Gaydos reusing poses and faces hinders the emotional effect of Killgrave’s words on Jessica. His art definitely picks up steam after Killgrave gets hit by a sniper bullet in a double page spread that shows the wound from different POVs from Suicide Squad wannabe Kraven the Hunter to a “dying” Killgrave and a vengeful Jessica, who gets to unleash the anger she’s been holding in all issue.

Bendis’ writing is smart and sobering with Killgrave displaying signs of abusers like telling his former victim that she should be happy that he isn’t doing something worse like “grabbing her by the brain” or making Luke Cage beat all the Avengers to death.  In a similar manner to outed abusers like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Donald Trump, it’s all a power thing for Killgrave, who feels insecure that Jessica has moved on from him and has a new life as a private eye, Defender, wife, and mother. She treats Killgrave like he’s pathetic with sassy quips, but by the end of the issue, Bendis and Gaydos remind us of how terrifying he is. With his immortality and mind control abilities, the Purple Man is one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe and sending multiple Avengers squads against only enhances his ability because he can turn these good guys bad with a snap of his fingers.

“Purple” is the best arc of Jessica Jones so far because the stakes have been so personal with Killgrave going after Jessica’s family, friends, and mental state instead of trying to kill all the Avengers like in their first meeting in Alias. Jessica Jones #15 is a fairly strong middle chapter of the storyline as Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, and Matt Hollingsworth continue to depict Killgrave as a gaslighting abuser with superpowers. They posit the friendship between Jessica and Carol as an equal reaction to him, but this relationship starts to become twisted in the Purple Man’s hands.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Michael Gaydos Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Story: 7.8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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