Alias: Jessica Jones

As this is likely the millionth post regarding the Netflix show “Jessica Jones,” I’ll try to keep it brief. Here’s the synopsis: if you care about such things and are unaware, then you’re some kind of paranoid conspiracy theorist who’s been living in an underground bunker for the last two years. No one’s talking to you. When “Alias” (the comic) was first released as the flagship title of Marvel’s MAX line of comics, I was hooked. Brian Michael Bendis’s story blew me away and Michael Gaydos’s art was well and surely up to the task of rendering this street-level character’s day to day life. 

I’ve always enjoyed such characters in the Marvel U. because they were seeing the situation from an entirely different—and more accessible—perspective. While the Avengers and Fantastic Four were dealing with the next cosmic, world-slamming event, all the other heroes were fighting to keep order in their own cities or neighborhoods. Jessica Jones’s story is the direct descendant of those heroes (and anti-heroes) that came before her, struggling to keep the innocent safe. Luke Cage, Shang Chi, Iron Fist, White Tiger, Moon Knight, Daredevil, and others only get better over time when their stories are mired in normal, human matters, as it were, and inextricably mixed with the sort of crimes we read about in the news everyday, albeit with a comic-book twist. Perfect for adaptation to a serialized television format. Which is why I can’t wait for “Luke Cage” or the next season of “Daredevil.”

—SPOILER ALERT, nerds. Read no further if you haven’t watched the series yet.—

I enjoyed a lot about the show. From go, because comics are a visual medium, I wasn’t entirely convinced with Krysten Ritter’s appearance as Jones—though I am glad she didn't smoke, I think she has enough vices. I got over that pretty quickly. She did a great job emotionally as physically as the sardonic and acerbic P.I. As her best friend, Patsy Walker, Rachael Taylor proves that in our wildest comic-book nerd dreams she might be able to pull off Hellcat—but I seriously doubt that will happen. Mike Colter left me a little cold as Luke, but I expect he’ll have more to do in his own series. But he sure looks the part! David Tennant was wonderful as Purple Man—Kilgrave—a completely delusional, sociopathic, narcissistic stain on humanity who can control people’s minds. In fact, the reinvention of the Purple Man character in the Alias comic was an example of how these “lesser” characters can be used in street-level antics. There’s so many of them that have been tossed off over the years, I know there’s a horde of writers and artists out there who’d love to work with the B catalog of characters. (Hell, even the C catalog!) Kilgrave’s depravity is what’s eating Jessica Jones in both the comic and on the television series. In fact, that depravity is also used to highlight the disconnect between the regular Avengers-types and what the innocent are dealing with when it comes to these sorts of super-villains.  I thought the wrap-up of that story line was more satisfying in the comic than on the TV show, but it couldn’t have ended any other way in the more pragmatic Marvel Cinematic Universe. Otherwise it wouldn’t have ever ended and that would start to suck real quick.

Anyhow, here’s a list of what filled me with inexplicable joy during the show:

  1. Luke Cage says, “Sweet Christmas.” Twice!
  2. Patsy Walker has red hair. The actress is currently blond. Then it’s explained. And she studies Krav Maga. #winning
  3. Name drop: Angela Del Toro. She was one of my favorites and, as a character, has been treated rather poorly in the comics I’ve read.
  4. Purple Man! Not purple, but that’s cool, he needed to be more inconspicuous in the MCU. He does wear purple, however, and get all purple-veiny under duress.
  5. The “Jewel” costume and mask! Rightfully ridiculed.
  6. Frank Simpson. “Nuke.” Almost unbearable in comics, mostly unbearable on television. I can’t imagine how that asshole is going to factor back in. Oh, yes I can; the mysterious organization that created him and possibly Jones. Is that connection going to stink up season 2? I’m fifty-fifty on that prospect. Epic fight in Jones’s office/apartment, though, dug that, and Walker stepped up! Will the pills have a lasting effect or the taste of that adrenaline rush mess with her brain?
  7. The idea of trying to operate on a patient with steel-hard skin who has a brain injury? Priceless. Nurse Clair Temple’s solution? Most excellent.
  8. Speaking of Claire; yes, the Night Nurse, turns up. Who can deny Rosario Dawson? Not this guy. Besides, I like seeing all these brown people on the screen, the more the merrier.
  9. Speaking of Cage, I do like how his and Jones’s relationship is stumbling along. It worked in the comics and it’s working here. In the original comic, their relationship is complicated until the two of them can make some other changes in their lives. (I’m not a fan of the pregnancy, however, there’s no turning back from that.) Is Jones going to show up on Cage’s show? I hope so.
  10. The only thing that initially bugged me was the connection between Jones and Cage, the death of his wife at her hands under Purple Man’s control. I thought they were going to royally screw Cage’s origin story, but the story is redeemed near the end of the series with a brief conversation. So we’re seeing the comics-adapted Cage on Jessica Jones somewhere just before the middle of his life, the part I expect to see on his show. Okay, panic averted.