In Jessica Jones #2, the comic suffers a little bit of a sophomore slump as Jessica’s estranged husband Luke Cage confronts her about the whereabouts of their daughter, Dani. This is one of the many questions that writer Brian Michael Bendis actually answers the comic as Jessica’s P.I. case is still ongoing, and he hasn’t really dug deep into the falling out between Luke and Jessica beyond yelling and destruction of property. This reliance on mystery doesn’t leave much room for characterization beyond Jessica being a bad mom, on the run, and trying to live a “normal life” if normal means investigating cases involving other dimensions and obscure Spider-Man villains.
However, the art in Jessica Jones #2 remains solidly laid out and filled with the raw emotion of Alias, but with more inventive layouts from Michael Gaydos. He and colorist Matt Hollingsworth show the evolution of their art style from the original series thanks to a flashback done like an issue of Alias. Gaydos’ new take on Luke Cage looks a lot like the actor Mike Colter from the Netflix TV show, and his use of jagged lines gives him a powerful energy in spite of Bendis’ one note characterization of him. Hollingsworth keeps his colors neutral or muted to keep the book looking “realistic” even if there is a lot of flying and even some dimension hopping. A few major superheroes make cameos, but he doesn’t focus on the colors of their costumes because this is Jessica Jones’ story.
The parts of Jessica Jones #2 that really strike home are when Jessica is coming to grips with her feelings, and this is where Bendis’ decompression works unlike the parts with Luke Cage and her case. Gaydos’ vivisection of the page helps too as she retreats in herself and wonders why she still can’t land after flying, or why she missed her daughter’s first steps. He also doesn’t reuse as many panels as he did in Alias using more poses like her lying down on the pavement after a long flight to New Jersey and trying to avoid superhero interlopers. Jessica’s longing for stability with her daughter and to be left alone to rebuild her life as a private investigator are the moments which will keep me continuing to read this series even if the whole tension with Luke plus run of the mill private investigator case that gets freaky and connected to superheroes is a retread of storylines in both Alias and New Avengers.(That is unless it somehow connects to Bendis’ work on the Ultimate Universe, which would be strange, yet cool and a good use of characters that he, Mark Millar, and others developed for over a decade.)
The main thing that keeps Jessica Jones #2 stuck in mediocrity is how Bendis writes Luke Cage, which is surprising because he was the writer that took him from obscurity, gave him a 7 year arc in his run on the Avengers titles where he went from an individualistic hero to a family man and a leader, and just made him so damn cool. A touch of this coolness remains in a flashback where he retells a funny story where he asked Dr. Doom for $200. But, in the present, his only character trait is anger that is channeled in highly unproductive ways like destroying his wife’s car, threatening her, and stealing her camera, which is important to her private detective work. It’s like Luke Cage went from a good, if occasionally goofy and reckless dad to borderline abusive overnight with no warning or reason. Hopefully, Bendis and Gaydos shade out his motivation and actions a little bit more, but for now, it reeks of a publicity stunt at best and a slap in the face to people, who have been the victims of their spouses abusing them verbally and through destroying their personal property.
Jessica Jones #2 is evidence of Michael Gaydos’ ability to draw out genuine emotions through poses and page layouts, but the plot is a bit of a police procedural snooze and Bendis falls back on old patterns when it comes to Jessica Jones’ characterization while being downright regressive with Luke Cage.
Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Michael Gaydos Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Story: 6 Art: 8 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review