Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Cover Artist: David Mack
We are just a few short hours away from the release of Jessica Jones on Netflix on Friday. Spotlighting the Marvel “Defenders”, Jessica Jones is the newest and perhaps the least recognizable of the four characters (the others being Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist) in the Netflix package of shows for Marvel Studios. So let’s take a step back and look at the origins of the would-be superhero turned private detective.
Jessica Jones is looking for her place in the world. She was a one-time classmate of Peter Parker at Midtown High. An accident left her with super strength and the ability to fly. Naming herself Jewel, she hung out with the Avengers for a week or two, and then dropped out of the superhero scene. Years later, she still has her powers, but she spends her days working as a private investigator. Her clientele is mostly tracking down cheating spouses, but every now and then, she encounters a strange situation, like discovering Captain America’s secret identity.
Despite no longer wearing the spandex union suit, Jessica remains friends with many in the superhero community. She calls Carol Danvers her friend, and calls Matt Murdock her attorney. She gives Ant-Man a call for a date. And Luke Cage gives her a booty call – read into that what you will!
Over the course of the 28-issue series, we find out why Jessica no longer plays the hero, as she is forced to confront her “arch nemesis” of sorts, Killgrave, a.k.a. the Purple Man. Overcoming her fears and her foe, Jessica comes out at the end of the series stronger than ever, and firmly entrenched into the new Marvel Universe.
Alias ran for 28 issues as part of the Marvel Max line. The book/character was retooled and put into a new title, The Pulse, which was part of the Marvel Universe proper, but no longer carrying the MAX heading. Please understand this a MAX book like Alias is NOT a book you share with your young kids. Much like you will watch Jessica Jones after the kids go to bed, follow the same rules when reading the book.
Alias #1 was released September 5, 2001. While on face value that date is insignificant, the events of the world just six days later changed every. To me as the reader, seeing a title character who was questioning her role in life, the decisions she made, and managing the overwhelming helplessness she fought with daily, this book spoke to me at a time when when everyone, myself included, was asking those questions in a screwed-up world. Even though the project had been green-lighted many months in advance, I think this book benefitted by the timing of its release, being on the stands at the right time when a lot of people were looking for heroes that looked more like us, and not wearing a cape.
The Alias Omnibus was in-print, then out-of-print, then back in-print. The series has recently been reissued in trade paperback collections. However, to get the best experience, go track down the original issues in a back-issue bin. For those readers in the Kansas City market, I would point you downtown to Clint’s Comics. Located at 3941 Main Street, Clint’s has one of the greatest back-issue selections in the midwest, as well as new comic books, trade paperbacks, toys, t-shirts, and more. Whether tracking down copies of Alias or some other prized book from your past, Clint’s is a great place to start your back-issue treasure hunt!