Jessica Jones: Alias, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos (+ The Pulse)

Five stars, read throughout 2016.

Jessica Jones is one of my absolute favorite characters from Marvel comics. She is superhumanly strong, angry, and utterly unapologetic. She has relationships, and they are in no way the focus of her story. She is dealing with trauma, which makes her vulnerable, but never delicate. She wears heavy boots, a leather jacket, and JEANS (like, actual pants). She has brown hair. She’s beautiful in a normal way, and never sexualized (the covers are a slight exception). She is a character I needed in my life.

My entire reaction to volume one was just YES, and that basically went on to summarize the whole series. Jessica has superpowers, but she’s not a hero—she tried it for a little while, but it “didn’t work out” (as she usually explains it). She’s now a private investigator, doing what she can to help people in her own way. There’s at least one storyline in the series that I found a little odd, but never any of the let-down moments I get so often with a great female character, where I feel like both she and I have been betrayed by the creators. I have really good feelings toward Bendis and Gaydos for this.

Jessica gets angry when everyone assumes that her traumatic past must have been a rape (it wasn’t). She dates, and she dates men who treat her like a regular human person (as opposed to some sort of Barbie like they always do in the movies). Her Big Bad is a man with mind control powers, the most difficult counter to her physical strength (and a reversal of typical superpower roles that I really appreciated. Women are always given the “soft” psychic powers, and men usually have the super strength. Jessica Jones is no such cliche). There’s really great character development to go along with it.

I was about to throw myself into mourning when I finished the series, but then I found The Pulse, and now I’m hearing that Netflix is going to do The Defenders—I’m honestly really grateful that people are keeping Jessica Jones around for me to be fictional friends with. Speaking of the TV shows: If you have enjoyed the one starring Krysten Ritter, I would really recommend reading the comics. I was nervous about watching it because I like the comics so much, and I like Krysten Ritter but wasn’t sure she was right for the part. There was also the usual apprehension about how they always change things for TV adaptations. But now that I’ve seen a few episodes, I’m definitely sold, and I think it would probably work in reverse, too.

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