When Brian Michael Bendis left Marvel Comics for DC back in 2017, it shook the comic world. This was a creator who was synonymous with some of Marvel’s most high-profile superheroes. But while most probably associate him with Miles Morales, my mind goes straight to Jessica Jones. His work alongside artist Michael Gaydos on Alias and later Jessica Jones are some of the most grounded, harrowing and interesting books ever put out by the Big Two. I was worried that maybe there wasn’t much of a future for the former Jewel.
Then Kelly Thompson got her hands on her.
Jessica Jones returned as a part of Marvel’s Digital Originals line with Blind Spot, written by Thompson and illustrated by Mattia De Iulis, and it blew me away. While De Iulis’s art couldn’t differ more from Gaydos’s dreamlike watercolor style, it takes the franchise in a new direction that’s every bit as compelling. And Kelly Thompson completely nailed the character of Jessica Jones.
So naturally, I was excited to see that the next installment of their series, Purple Daughter, was being collected in print. Bendis’s final arc with the series dealt with the Purple Man, Jones’s arch nemesis, and created some of the most heart-wrenching, skin-crawling scenes I’ve seen in comics in quite some time. Here, Thompson plays with that creepiness from a different angle: Killgrave is presumed dead, thrown into the sun by Captain Marvel. One little problem: Since that, Danielle, Jessica and Luke Cage’s daughter, has turned purple.
Marvel’s official synopsis for the book reads:
The critically acclaimed team that brought you JESSICA JONES: BLIND SPOT is back! When her daughter, Danielle, comes home with purple skin, Jessica Jones is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her time with the Purple Man and her marriage to Luke Cage! As Jessica digs deeper than ever before into the darkness at the center of her life, will she find relief — or yet another nightmare? Brace yourself for another thrilling, chilling tale that will challenge everything you think you know about Marvel’s top P.I.!
No relationship in comics has quite the potential for heart-dropping mindf*cks as Jessica and Killgrave does, and Kelly Thompson explores that expertly in Purple Daughter. Jessica runs through her mind every possible scenario that could have caused this, including the worst case: that Danielle is somehow his, not Luke’s. But of course, with the Purple Man, nothing is ever as it seems.
Thompson takes the readers on a jam-packed trip through Jessica’s attempts to figure out what is really going on, and along the way we run into familiar faces and some seriously awesome action scenes. The book’s pace is plotted extremely well, keeping your interest in the investigative scenes and building suspense for the action. And when the fight scenes come, they hit hard.
All of this is, once again, rendered beautifully by Mattia De Iulis, who handles both illustrations and colors. His artwork is sort of the complete opposite of Michael Gaydos’ — where Gaydos was otherworldly and dreamy, De Iulis employs a much more realistic, digital look (fitting, considering this is a Digital Original). However, I think the look works to perfection in this series, and helps sell just how messed up everything that’s happening is. When Filipe Andrade and Stephane Paitreau fill in for a dream-like sequence in chapter five, it feels appropriately jarring, providing a much different style but one that nonetheless works for what it sets out to do.
Kelly Thompson and Mattia De Iulis have done it again in Purple Daughter. Jessica Jones must deal with an absolutely haunting problem, one that stands to tear her apart both mentally and physically. Jessica will come away from this story worse for wear, but as a reader and fan of hers, you will come away extremely satisfied.