What is it?
You could be excused for dismissing Jessica Jones as ‘just another Marvel show’, but if you did, buddy, you’ve missed out! The brainchild of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos, Jones first appeared in the 2004 comic series named Alias, and since then, has had 2 other comic book series, appeared in a couple video games and was even in a couple of Marvel’s video games.
You can absolutely watch the TV show without any knowledge of the comics, so I’ll shut up about them. Jones in the TV show is portrayed by Kristen Ritter as a surly, skillful private investigator who drinks a lot and tries very hard to keep her superpowers under wraps. This doesn’t go so well, since Jones is recovering from being under the thumb of (arguably) the creepiest and most existentially horrifying powered villain, Killgrave, played with frightening skill by David Tenant.
If you’ve seen other Marvel TV shows, I’d rate this on the very nebulous scale of “more wrenching than Daredevil but less confronting than Punisher”. Jessica Jones is one of those stories where the characters who are extra-human are grappling viscerally with what it means to be human. Jones is clearly an emotionally traumatised individual who is self-medicating with alcohol – but she manages to be fiercely compassionate, hilariously sarcastic and stubbornly unafraid.
Jones was not born with her powers, she developed them during childhood, when a car she and her parents were in collided with a military vehicle full of ‘experimental chemicals’. Much like Peter Parker, who she goes to school with in Alias, she becomes super powered at the cost of losing both parents, and any chance of a normal childhood. The show picks up one year after Jones has managed to break free of Kilgrave’s control, and is only getting out of bed to keep Alias Investigations, her one-woman private investigating firm, open.
How do I get into it?
Season 1 is on Netflix Australia right now, with season 2 premiering on the 8th of March.
The comics are still around if you want to delve into Jessica’s pre-Netflix story, now available in trade format from your local comic shop or favourite online retailer (but the current Michael Bendis run is wrapping up soon as he moves from Marvel to DC Comics).
If you manage to get through Season One of Jessica Jones you can jump into more JJ as the Defenders Netflix series before Season Two starts on March 8th.
Watch it if you like:
PTSD, Gritty Comic Book TV, Binge Watching.