Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Review by PeteR
The first major story arc concluded with Jessica Jones #7 and what an arc it was. The series starts with Jessica being released from Jail. Not the local police department jail but, hard core time at Ryker’s Island jail. No one knows where her baby is. Jones’s Avengers card has expired and the entire superhero community has turned against her. Luke Cage is not talking with her. Her life has sunk about as low as it can get.
Rather than deal with her domestic issues, Jessica Jones takes on a new client, a woman whose husband claims that his life is all wrong because he is from a separate dimension. The husband has rejected his spouse, his job, even the place he lives. A perfect distraction for someone who desperately wants to avoid confronting their personal crisis.
There is also a shadow organization who employs the super-villain, the Spot, who receives the 2017 award for most obnoxious Marvel bad guy of the year. Three major plot lines. Lots of interpersonal dialogue that has grave import not just on superhero stuff, but also on Jessica’s personal life and those she cares about. This sounds like a writing job for Brian Michael Bendis.
Although Bendis did not originally create the character Jewel, he certainly has created the universe of her Jessica Jones identity. Bendis has made Jones’s exploits far more interesting than Jewel, and her unrequited infatuation with Captain America. Jessica Jones and her attempts at private investigating may not be the stuff of Robert Parker’s Spenser, but they do carry a solid emotional punch in the gut that makes both her and her clients human and sympathetic. Like Spenser though, she often leads with her chin and follows the people hitting her to figure out what is going on. How’s that for an unhealthy personality type.
I am not a fan of Michael Gaydos art style. That said, I keep buying the books that he illustrates. Manhunter, Alias even The Black Hood over at Dark Circle/Archie, Gaydos method sets a tonal atmosphere perfect for personal anguish and disarray. His ability to create such personal intensity maybe why I find his art off-putting. I didn’t enjoy the movie Awakenings. It was brilliant but incredibly upsetting and poignant. That to me is Michael Gaydos’s art.
As long as we are talking about setting tones, Matt Hollingsworth’s colors for Jessica Jones continues to enhance the artists he works with. Regardless whether it’s Hellblazer, Preacher or Daredevil, Hollingsworth is able to take the artist’s vision and accentuate it with the proper palette.
As alluded to earlier, one of the hallmarks of Brian Bendis’s work is his reliance on dense amount of dialogue. VC’s Cory Petit’s lettering for the numerous talking head panels keeps the reader’s attention focused on the crisp, sometimes circuitous conversations. For a letterer, that is heavy lifting and Petit successfully bears the weight.
Why you should buy this book? As enjoyable as Netflix’s Jessica Jones series was, it does not match the rawness of the comic series. Bendis, Gaydos and Hollingsworth are able to provide a narrative for Jessica Jones’s disappointment in people and her singular ability to shoot herself in the foot whenever she does try to reach out to others. The black and red box on the front cover of each issue of Jessica Jones declaring “Parental Advisory! Not For Kids!” is very apt, not just because of the adult situations in the book, but also because a child would be confused and bored by the series. Kids do not have the emotional depth to appreciate the scenarios and repercussions of the Jessica Jones comic series. Hopefully, you do.
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