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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Comics Explained: Jessica Jones

On the 20th November Marvel's Jessica Jones will be getting her own series on Netflix. Jessica Jones since her debut in Alias #1 in 2001 has quickly become a major player in the Marvel Universe. From Marvel's darker MAX imprint to starring in the mainstream New Avengers publication Jessica Jones is now a key character who deserves a greater spotlight.

Jessica's backstory was explained over the course of the Alias series and the later The Pulse series. As a teenager returning home from a trip to Disney World with her family their car was hit by a truck containing radioactive chemicals. Her family was killed and she went into a coma only to reawaken when the Fantastic Four fought Galactus. She was adopted by the Jones family and went to the same school as Peter Parker a.k.a Spider-Man. Quickly she found out that the chemicals had given her superpowers and after seeing Spider-Man battle the Sand Man she decided to become a superhero. 
Under the pseudonym Jewel she started a career as a superhero.

Early career
Her initial career did not start off well with her being mentally controlled by Zebediah Killgrave a.k.a The Purple Man. For eight months she was mentally controlled by Killgrave to use as a weapon when the time was right. When a newspaper report angered him he sent her to kill Daredevil and anyone who tried to stop her. However, after so long being influenced by his mental powers her mind started to become disoriented when she left him. When arriving at the Avenger's Mansion instead of attacking Daredevil she attacked Scarlet Witch which snapped her out of Killgrave's control. After being attacked by the Vision and Iron Man she was sent into rehabilitation where Jean Grey of the X-Men who would help her resist future mental attacks. In the final issue of The Pulse it was revealed that she gave up her Jewel identity and became a darker superhero called Knightress. After defeating a meeting organised by supervillain the Owl she gave up being a superhero and formed a relationship with Avengers member Luke Cage.

Alias and The Pulse
During the Alias publication she opened a private eye service specifically targeting clients with superpowers. This series was part of Marvel's MAX imprint which dealt with much more serious subjects and during her time as a private investigator Jessica Jones had to deal with many dark topics including domestic abuse and saving a young mutant girl from a town built on prejudice. During this time she also inadvertently video taped the identity of Captain America and became involved in the solving of a murder of one of her clients. During the Alias publication her relationship grew with Luke Cage and it became romantic. Her and Luke even became Matt Murdock's bodyguards when it was outed that he was Daredevil; they even fought Typhoid Mary together to protect him. Eventually she came across Killgrave again where he tried to use his mental powers to get her to kill one of her friends (all of whom happened to be Avengers members). This backfired and she savagely beat him thus closing a chapter on her life. In the final issue it is revealed that she is three months pregnant with Luke Cage's baby and their relationship became more committed as a result.
Starting with The Pulse #1 Jessica moved in with Luke Cage and became a vigilante analyst for The Daily Bugle. Working with Daily Bugle journalist Ben Urich each week they release the article The Pulse dealing with costumed heroes and vigilantes. After publishing an article critical of Norman Osborn (the identity of the Green Goblin) the Green Goblin attacks her resulting in a mid-air battle between the two. Luke visits Jessica in the hospital after the battle relieved that the baby is okay. On their way back to their apartment after visiting the hospital a mysterious woman blows up their apartment sending Luke into a coma. What follows is the outing that Nick Fury had convinced Luke Cage to help him overthrow the government of Latveria (a fictional country where Dr Doom once came from) who had been selling high-tech gadgets to supervillains and the blast was a means of retaliation. Luckily Luke Cage made a full recovery and would join the New Avengers. In The Pulse #13 Jessica gives birth to  daughter, Danielle Cage, and leaves The Daily Bugle after J. Jonah Jameson starts a smear campaign against the New Avengers. In the New Avengers Annual #1 Luke and Jessica would get married with Jessica keeping her family name. 

Civil War and After
During the events of the Civil War story arc, where superheroes fought one another when forced to reveal their secret identities to the government, like Luke she opposed registration and went to Canada to avoid it. Following the Skrull Invasion she went into hiding in the USA alongside Luke and various other superheroes as Norman Osborn became the head of SHIELD, now called HAMMER. During the Dark Reign story arc when Osborn's 'Dark Avengers' invaded Asgard she became Jewel once more and fought against Osborn. Since she has remained a major character in the Marvel Universe being one of the mediators between the X-Men and the Avengers during the X-Men versus the Avengers story arc and has been a member of the Mighty Avengers.

Jessica Jones is one of Marvel's most interesting characters and her addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the Netflix series highlights how she has become one of Marvel's most noteworthy characters alongside Dr Strange, Black Panther and Luke Cage.

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