Brian Michael Bendis gives us another issue of Jessica Jones that reminds us why there should be more female writers, exploring female characters in the Marvel universe.
This issue has us on the hook for a solid five pages before we even get a glimpse of the title character. We are treated to five pages of set up involving Maria Hill because, all brunette, bad ass females are interchangeable. Bendis then goes into his character introduction of Jessica Jones by having two full panels of a fuzzy faced Jessica perusing the aisles of a liquor store.
The liquor store scenes could have been character building except when they’re coupled with the five pages of her saving a woman from her abusive date with the use of violence and then receiving a hug and immediate “friendship” for doing the right thing, you’re reminded that you’ve seen this all before. The next story arc for Jessica Jones spends the almost half of the comic book dealing with other people’s problems not on the one thing that we know is most important to Jessica, her family. Not only, is she relegated to a secondary story line in her own comic book, for the second time, the writer couldn’t even be original. We’ve seen this all before, the heroine looking for an escape, using liquor who saves a girl from abuse is the exact same start for the Elektra solo comic down to having someone else get multiple pages in the opening of the story.
If the unoriginal storytelling of the first half of the comic isn’t bad enough, Jessica is then forced to be subject herself to essentially begging Danny Rand to tell her where Luke and her daughter are and she gets not only mansplained to but, Rand proceeds to take care of her by telling her what she needs. Oh, you’ve lost your child? You should eat! If that cliched and condescending enough to all womankind, Jessica then briefly reunites with Luke and her daughter, which would be awesome if it was in any way rooted in reality. The reunion is all sweet and cheerful which makes little to no sense, because if Luke knew Jessica had no choice, then his BFF Danny would have known and told her but, if he didn’t this sweet reunion without any kind of talk before hand makes no sense. They have a brief conversation that takes up less than three pages and then Jessica, who has her family back and, possibly her good name is back off to the office, getting some rest and a drink, where she encounters a bloody and presumed dead Maria Hill.
Michael Gaydos gives Jessica’s world a dark, hopeless feeling. The panels are filled with harsh lines, deep shadows and the fallen Jessica Jones spots a gruff, hardened almost masculine face, like all of the women in this issue who are strong. There’s a sense of despair in the lines that show the sad state of disrepair that Jessica’s life has fallen into, she looks haggard, zombielike, and lost. In the earlier pages, Gaydos gives her the look of a junkie, her lost child and the return of her family seem to be the only fix that can save her soul. That would be story accurate except he gives Maria Hill the same masculine and haggard look. It appears that’s just how he draws women. I suppose in a way it’s a step up from sexualizing and filling the pages with a male gaze but, there was so little attention to detail and so much clinging to the monotony that Maria and Jessica are indistinguishable except for their hair color and hairstyle.
The issue uses dark, shadowy tones, which ironically enough complement the downward spiral and aftermath showcased in the story being told. Matt Hollingsworth‘s color choices do their job of making the reader feel just as lost, disorientated and saddened as Jessica. The style isn’t the most sophisticated, it doesn’t feel like a throwback to older comics nor, does it feel new and stylized. The art is simplistic, like the by the numbers cliched storytelling. It’s kind of like the artists gave up the second that they saw the story they would be conveying in pictures.
The story is convoluted, unrealistic, and hackneyed. It is the epitome of what men think women want and are like. Bendis portrays Jones as a one-dimensional, agencyless, manic pixie detective for hire in her own story. There are so many character cameos, Cage, Rand, and Hill, that it feels like Bendis really wanted to write these other comics but, didn’t get hired so he’s cramming them all into the Jessica Jones’ solo outing and forgetting to tell her story in an authentic way. He actually seems to take more care in the scenes that Rand and Cage are in making sure they’re featured than he does making sure that we know that it’s a Jessica Jones’ comic. Even the artwork is steadier and more detailed for the male characters than it is for Jessica. It’s insulting & derivative and trite and, both the readers and Jessica deserve more.
Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Michael Gaydos and Matt Hollingsworth
Story: 5.6 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review