Brian Michael Bendis and Jessica Jones: A Retrospective

Comic Book News

by Joane 34 Views 0

Jones

17 years ago, Brian Michael Bendis, with help from David Mack and Michael Gaydos, created Jessica Jones. From the pages of ALIAS to the DEFENDERS, Bendis has included Jessica in nearly every Earth 616 book he’s written. She starts as a disgruntled, former-superhero PI with a tragic past. With time, she confronts her demons and her traumas. Eventually, she becomes a superhero again, this time on her own terms. Not only is Bendis’ Jessica Jones a beautifully written character, but she’s also served as an empowering figure for people who suffered some sort of mental or physical abuse. She fights through PTSD and faces her abuser head on.

We’ll take a look back at Jessica’s major life moments throughout Bendis’ 17-year tenure writing her. Read on and find out why we love Jessica Jones!

JESSICA JONES #13 Review: Devil’s Return

Jessica Jones: Private Investigator

Jessica Jones first appeared in 2001’s ALIAS #1, one of the first books in Marvel’s then-new MAX imprint of mature readers books. Bendis created an exhausted, disillusioned superpowered private investigator who specialized in superhero and villain cases. The readers’ first impression of Jessica comes when she punches a disgruntled, chauvinistic client through her door, a scene recreated in her Netflix series. With only the first issue, Bendis sets up Jessica as a fascinating, multifaceted character. It certainly drew me in seeing a deeply flawed main character, who differs from her other flawed superpowered counterparts in the Marvel Universe. Her actions and the world she inhabits seem more realistic and down-to-earth than many other Marvel heroes.

Jessica wades through the seedy underbelly of the Marvel Universe. She deals with superhero trafficking and small-town anti-mutant hysteria. Eventually, we learn of Jessica’s past. She was a naïve young superhero who tried to take down the Purple Man. He used his persuasive powers to brainwash her into being his slave. While he never took advantage of her sexually, Purple Man still violated Jessica. He used her body to commit crimes and fight the Avengers.

Not long after Jessica creates Alias Investigations, Purple Man returns. Luckily, after the last encounter with Purple Man, Jean Grey actually implanted a suggestion in Jessica’s mind that blocks his powers. Jessica defeats him, but not before he makes Jessica see horrible sights, like a hallucinated vision portraying Scott Lang’s (her boyfriend at the time) body eaten by ants.

During this era, Jessica meets Luke Cage and eventually becomes pregnant after a one night stand with him. She moves in with him at the end of the ALIAS series.

Jones
ALIAS #25. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Jessica Jones: Journalist

After moving in with Luke, Jessica Jones temporarily stops private investigating and gets a job at the Daily Bugle. During ALIAS, she actually saves J Jonah Jameson’s adopted daughter, (Mattie Franklin — Spider-Woman) from a Mutant Growth Hormone harvesting ring. In return, Jameson hires Jessica to be a superpowered consultant to reporter Ben Urich’s new section, The Pulse.

Jones
THE PULSE #14. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Starting in THE PULSE #1, Jessica works with Ben to tell positive stories about superpowered individuals, a far cry from Jameson’s usual fearmongering articles about heroes. While pregnant, Jessica investigates a number of disappearances of Oscorp employees. It leads to Jessica discovering that Norman Osborn is the Green Goblin. Jessica and Ben wind up outing Osborn in the pages of the Bugle.

Jessica follows some other stories, including Nick Fury’s “SECRET WAR,” which actually involves Luke Cage. She also helps Daredevil keep Foggy Nelson safe while Matt Murdock is being operated on by the Night Nurse. Eventually, Jessica and Luke’s life takes a major turn.

Jessica Jones: New Avenger

A supervillain breakout at the Raft prison eventually leads to the formation of a new team of Avengers, after the longstanding team was disassembled. Luke Cage joins and moves to Avengers Tower with Jessica. Soon after, Jessica gives birth to their child, Danielle. After angering Jameson by reneging on her prior agreement to give the Bugle exclusive coverage of the birth, he writes a slanderous piece about the New Avengers. In retaliation, Jessica quits her job and becomes a full-time member of the New Avengers.

Jones
NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Jessica marries Luke not long after. However, when the Superhuman Registration Act goes into effect, Luke and Jessica temporarily separate. Luke joins Captain America’s underground anti-registration team while Jessica moves to Canada to wait out the battle. After Cap’s death and the end of the war, Jessica decides to return and register with the government for Danielle’s sake. After Norman Osborn takes over the Avengers in “Dark Reign,” Jessica returns to Luke’s underground New Avengers team, which she actually stays with even after Osborn is deposed and defeated. She winds up donning her old Jewel costume again to help rescue Hawkeye from Osborn’s tower, even though the costume reminds her of her dark days with Purple Man. Eventually, the New Avengers disband and Jessica and Luke go their own way for a bit.

Jessica Jones: Defender

After a brief stint leading the Mighty Avengers (which Jessica helps out with, once even punching the Superior Spider-Man after he threatens Danielle), Luke goes back to being a street level Hero for Hire with his former partner, Iron Fist. During this time, Jessica Jones reopens Alias Investigations. Her first case leads her to kidnap her own daughter and hide her from Luke. S.H.I.E.L.D. hires her to infiltrate a new villain’s rank. The villain, Alison Green, is wrongly apprehended by Captain Marvel during the second Civil War, leading her to swear revenge on superheroes. Jessica needs to go under deep cover, going as far as lying to her own husband about it. Once Green is apprehended, Jessica explains her actions to Luke, and after some time they move back in together.

Jones
DEFENDERS #4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Once they reconcile, Jessica joins Luke in a new street-level team called the Defenders, consisting of Luke, Jessica, Iron Fist, and Daredevil. As a team, they battle Black Cat and a newly revived Diamondback, who both got into a crime war to see who would become the new Kingpin of Crime. Diamondback severely beats Jessica, landing her in the hospital. After recuperating, Jessica helps the team arrest Diamondback. Wilson Fisk (who is mayor at this time) actually lets him go free, but the team eventually places him away in jail for good.

Is Jessica Jones a Strong Female Character?

Jessica Jones: Survivor

After Diamondback’s arrest, Purple Man returns to Jessica’s life. He mentally tortures Jessica, even taking hold of Danielle for a bit. Jessica tries to set up some countermeasures, such as ensuring Luke would stay away from NYC until she takes care of Purple Man. Jessica and Purple Man wind up meeting face-to-face in her office at Alias. There, he pleads with her to help him be a force for good. He believes that he can use his powers to positively affect the world. Jessica knows that he’d end up just relapsing, though. She explains all the ways that he’s hurt her and ruined her life over the years. Eventually, Purple Man leaves and seemingly drops dead on the street outside of her office.

This act is one of the most empowering moments in Jessica Jones’ life. She decides to confront her main aggressor head on instead of hiding and becoming frightened. Jessica confronted him once before, but she simply gave him a severe beatdown which, while cathartic, didn’t allay her fears that he would one day return to ruin her life and kill her loved ones. Once she stands up to him this time, though, she sees him not as the boogeyman who haunts her, but rather as a pitiful human being who relies on human suffering to feel something. Because of this, she doesn’t forgive Purple Man. This action shows that she’s not letting him control her life anymore. By carefully explaining what a horrible person he is and how much pain he’s caused her, the heavy weight she’s carried around is lightened.

Jessica Jones: Empowering Icon

Bendis has made Jessica Jones into someone people can relate to. She’s gone through a highly traumatic life experience. It originally leads her to a dark place, where depression, guilt, and remorse about her actions plague her. She originally drinks copious amounts of alcohol to cope and put on a surly, angered face in order to hide her true pain. This is something many people have faced in real life.

Jones
JESSICA JONES #17. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Jessica Jones is empowering because she takes this terrible trauma and she eventually uses it for good. Instead of wallowing in her misery, she decides to help people and, eventually, build a loving family that eases her burden. However, Jessica’s prior trauma isn’t immediately cured by her relatively stable family life. Bendis doesn’t patronize her fans by making her complacent once she meets Luke and has Danielle. They are a real family. They have their arguments, but in the end, Jessica stays the same person she was in ALIAS. She’s simply more self aware; Jessica is a character who evolves.

She even becomes an Avenger, which shows that while she’s not over her trauma, she doesn’t let it stop her from doing the right thing. During ALIAS, she despises the idea of being a hero because of Purple Man, but she pushes through this once she realizes Danielle needs a future where she’ll prosper.

On top of this, she takes control of her life’s narrative and doesn’t let her abuser ruin it. Many people look up to Jessica for this reason. Thank you, Brian Bendis, for creating this icon.

Jessica Jones and Bendis: The Perfect Team

Bendis created Jessica Jones. He gave her life, and that life went on to inspire fans around the world. We will miss Bendis’ unique take on the character. However, we’re also excited to see what’s to come for this inspiring figure.

Comments