Saturday, January 23, 2016

On the Air: Jessica Jones (2015)

Jessica Jones doesn't have the decades-old publishing history of Marvel Comics compadres Daredevil, Spider-Man, or even Luke Cage. In essence, her story is still in the malleable stage.

Created by writer Brian Michael Bendis 15 years ago for Marvel's now-defunct Max line of mature titles, Jones is a failed heroine turned private eye who still has her powers, including flight and super strength. Rather than take an established character and do a total reboot, Bendis built Jessica from the ground up, from scratch.

At the heart of Jessica's problems is one Zebediah Killgrave, alias the Purple Man, a villain more associated with Daredevil. Bendis found a means to make Killgrave interesting again after years of inactivity. Due to an accident involving some odd virus, Killgrave gained the ability to control people's minds merely by talking directly to them. That control, as we find out, will linger, even if the man himself isn't around to witness his handiwork.

The first two episodes of Marvel's latest Netflix entry try to suggest that on one hand, Killgrave (David Tennant, ex-Doctor Who) is but a cipher, a ghost haunting Jessica (Krysten Ritter) because he's supposed to be dead. However, it's clear that the Purple Man is alive and well, as he manipulates a girl into killing her parents, then insinuates himself into the lives of another family. Meanwhile, Jessica gradually forges a relationship with hero-for-hire-turned bartender Luke Cage (Mike Colter). If you thought the barroom brawl on Legends of Tomorrow was wack, you have to see Luke & Jessica take apart a gang of thugs that supposedly were a rugby team.

Comics fans know that Luke & Jessica eventually would marry and start a family of their own. Whether or not that carries over here remains to be seen, as Jessica Jones has been renewed for a second season, likely to start in the fall, while Cage gets his own series, also later this year.

One supporting character that comics fans will recognize as having ties to Cage is attorney Jerryn Hogarth, who has been rebooted as Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), a lesbian barrister who has to keep Jessica out of trouble while finding assignments for the detective, balancing this with her complicated love life.

Let's take a look at a trailer:

I think over the course of the series, we'll see flashbacks to Jessica's career as Jewel, an otherwise obscure former member of the Avengers, at least per Bendis. From what I've seen so far, there's a lot more where this came from.

Rating: B+.

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