This past Friday, November 20th at 3 AM EST, the new Marvel Cinematic Universe series Jessica Jones dropped. In what one could say was a highly anticipated series second to Daredevil. Marvel’s Jessica Jones gives us the very first female Marvel superhero to be thrust into the spotlight of her own solo series. If you listen, you can hear Black Widow sobbing somewhere. However, passing up everyone’s leather clad super spy in lieu of a more down to Earth grunge, and dare I say thuggish, character is absolutely what fans didn’t know they wanted!
Jessica Jones the Netflix original streaming TV series is a very noir style pulp series like a modern-day 1920’s mystery. It has that feel of a big bad city and all the stories and lives which live within, which makes the opening theme “Of Monsters and Men – “ all the more awesome. Speaking of the introduction, the art is painted by David Mack who did the covers for the first 28 issue series of Alias back in 2001-2003.
Created in 2001 by writer Brian Micheal Bendis, Alias (the name of the Jessica Jones comic at the time) was about a female superhero who due to a traumatic experience no longer wears the tights or hangs with the superheroes of the Marvel Universe. Having previously been an Avenger named Jewel, with the powers of flight and super strength; Jessica was best friends forever with Carol Danvers, Ms Marvel. She doesn’t talk about her high-flying superhero days often or in much high regard. What has become of Jessica? Jessica has retired to become a private investigator who helps the everyday person. As events unfold and we get to know this character who has always been here in our world. Although the reality of what happened to Jessica becomes clearer as she is contacted to help with a missing persons case and realizes that her darkest nightmare has reared its ugly head… Dr. Zebediah Kilgrave, the Purple Man. Jessica, back in her days as Jewel, took on the Purple Man and lost. Not only did she lose, she lost nine months of her life to being his, for lack of a better word, sextoy. At the end of those nine months, Purple Man sends Jessica after Daredevil as that was his intention altogether. In a haze of red, Jessica attacks Scarlet Witch mistaking her for Daredevil and takes on the might of the entire Avengers team. Jessica even takes an attack from Mjolnir in the face. This sends her in a coma and once she comes too with the help of Jean Grey who places barriers in Jessica’s mind so this sort of thing can never happen again. Jessica then retires.
From Page to Screen:
In a lot of ways when comic books are adapted from the comic to the screen, they lose a bit of what makes them special or what they are at the core. Lately this has not been the case with such series as The Flash, Daredevil and even Supergirl. We are met by a woman, Jessica Jones, who is beautifully portrayed by Krysten Ritter. Jessica is broken. She is desperately trying to pick up the pieces of her life. This is a woman who for all intents and purposes wanted to play ‘house’ and ended up with her teeth kicked in.
Some really notable changes are the BFF in the way of Carol Danvers is dropped for Patsy Walker. We all know Patsy is the ever fiery haired Hellcat in the comics. The series Jessica Jones makes no allusion to the possibility that we may see Patsy become Hellcat at some point. Other cameos are Officer Simpson who is a victim of Kilgrave’s mind control. We find out this man was once part of a super solider project and after the events against Kilgrave, he wants back in. Simpson is controlled by pills, three types; Red for the stimulant, Blue to brig him down and White to level him out. And finally, there is Luke Cage himself! Luke is the love interest of Jessica Jones in the comics; they even have a baby together. In the opening season for Jessica Jones, we see how her and Cage meet and the tragic experiences which bring them together in the shadow of the Purple Man himself, Kilgrave.
Kilgrave, played by the extremely talented actor David Tennant, is a sight to behold. He has such beauty and grace in his portrayal of the misogynist Kilgrave. Never once calling him The Purple Man on-screen, they certainly keep with his purple motif. At one point when he tries to enhance his mind control powers, he takes an elixir which is purple and in a moment of agony his veins run purple and his skin even takes on a purplish hue for a brief moment! This is what makes these Marvel TV series so spectacular is they don’t ignore the base roots of characters. While yes, they have to work and take strides to adapt them for television, they never forget what makes these characters who they are.
Jessica has believed Kilgrave to be dead. As she is haunted by his ‘ghost’ in the first two episodes she learns over time that he is not dead and that he has returned. Kilgvrave has returned to finish what he started with Jessica. Now having an unhealthy fascination with her, Kilgrave believes he loves her. The series is one huge cat and mouse game, a chase where at one point positions are changed where the pursuer becomes pursued and vice versa. We even get a moment where Jessica has to fight a Kilgrave-controlled Luke Cage!
Yes indeed the famous catch phrase of Luke Cage is indeed there and not just once but TWICE!
The series is all about starting over. Picking up the pieces of whatever you may have had before and moving forward after adversity. Even for the villain Kilgrave; he has issues in his past which he feels makes him who he is. Moving from a sadist to someone who obviously cannot tell the difference between reality and fiction, Kilgrave even becomes the victim during some moments but it all comes back to a man who simply takes what he wants because he can. Let us just say, Kilgrave’s fate is rather finite in a shocking “Oh shit!” moment.
Jessica Jones is clearly Marvel’s answer to Wonder Woman but on such a smaller stage. She is a woman who at her core wants to always do what’s right. always has the little man’s back at the cost of her own. even when Jessica is wanting to be left alone, she steps up to bat for people who can’t bat for themselves. People wanted a strong heroine type, here she is! Without beating around the bush, Jessica Jones is a rape victim who fights to become a survivor. Her rape was more than physical, it was more mental in that she is made to feel she wants to commit the acts Kilgrave has forced upon her. Not only does she move past all that, she is able to confront the source of her nightmares, confront her attacker and even at one point try to make him understand reason that he can achieve more good than evil with his abilities. When over, when Jessica makes the hard decision, she is still herself in the end. For once, a superhero; a person with extraordinary powers becomes down right able to relate and certainly believable without taking away what makes it what it is in the end… a comic book-inspired television series.
Jessica Jones is a series about strong women who are in control of their lives and their sexuality. There are some heavy-handed sexual moments between Jessica and Cage but Jessica is in control of these moments every step of the way. The series doesn’t preach… it doesn’t say men are evil while women are strong. No, it gives us an evil man who these characters do not let define how they see the rest of the male population. I actually look for her to throw down with Daredevil and kick his ass!
Jessica Jones is everything Agent Carter wanted to be but failed to deliver. I was excited for this series and not only watched it once but watched it twice before the end of Saturday evening. Jessica Jones did not disappoint and it’s sure as hell not going to disappoint you!