Last issue of Jessica Jones brought with it a feeling of hope uncharacteristic of the series. I mean, sure, it’s still Jessica Jones, so it’s about the most dreary hope imaginable, but hope nonetheless. The Maria Hill case (mercifully) came to an end. Jessica and Luke’s marriage seems to be on the up. Just life seemed to suck just a little bit less, however, the most horrific person in Jessica’s past comes crashing back into her life.
Jessica Jones has featured single issues that are entertaining in their own right, but when looking at the series as a whole from a bird’s eye view, it’s clear the series has been moving at a snail’s pace. A slower, less eventful pace than the nonstop action of something you’d find from the Avengers or the X-Men is expected in a gritty noir drama like Jones, but you can’t help but feel there’s a whole world of potential in this series that is going untapped.
At the start of the next major arc of the series, Brian Michael Bendis looks to the wildly successful Netflix series of the same name for inspiration, as Killgrave, aka the Purple Man is the next threat to Jessica’s never-ending struggle with building and maintaining a normal life. It’s especially tragic since Killgrave is one of the major reasons why Jessica will never be "normal" — even the mere mention of his name sends her into near hysteria. You can’t help but feel Jessica’s pain and fear in this issue, making it a tough read, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Killgrave is a truly despicable villain, and though his powers may be supernatural, the threat he represents is very real, making this a relevant and important topic to cover.
The issue ends on a truly haunting note that may make some readers walk away feeling queasy. The one thing you don’t mess with is somebody’s family, and years after messing with Jessica’s mind, Killgrave has now moved onto using her own family against her.
The issue opens with a unique multiple page spread detailing just why the Purple Man is such a sadistic threat, displayed over dozens of profile pictures drawn by Michael Gaydos. It’s an interesting concept, but honestly, the gimmick wears out its welcome by page two or three. Thankfully, the rest of the issue is up to Gaydos’ high visual standards, and though the occasional facial expression still feels a bit wonky, the art is responsible for much of the emotional resonance in this issue as well as the series on the whole.
Is It Good?
In many ways, this issue feels like a microcosm of the series so far: worlds of potential bogged down by a frustratingly plodding pace. It’s exciting to have such a serious threat looming over Jessica, but the series is still taking its sweet time getting to the good stuff. As long as it delivers with a satisfying payoff, though, it should be worth it in the end.