Plenty of comics, especially of the superhero variety, deal with physical pain. Threats of physical annihilation, mass destruction, and even leveling entire planets are garden variety issues for the spandex-clad warriors we read about. What makes Jessica Jones so interesting, especially when her arch nemesis the Purple Man is involved, is that the pain she’s subject to is entirely mental.
Marvels official synopsis for this issue is as follows:
RETURN OF THE PURPLE MAN Part 3! The Purple Man is back–and he’s wreaking havoc across the Marvel Universe! What curious thing does he want from Jessica Jones, and can she escape his horror? From the original creators of Jessica Jones comes the most terrifying villain return of the year!
What happens when you can’t even trust the very things your eyes are showing you? Or the words coming out of loved ones, or even your own mouth? Physical wounds heal over time, but the mental anguish resulting from trauma may stick with you for a lifetime. Merely seeing Killgrave brings up a lifetime of horrific memories for Jessica that she is forced to relive, but in his reappearance he has done something no person should do to another: messed with Jessica’s child. It was truly one of the most haunting things I’ve seen in comics in a long while, and we’re still dealing with the fallout from it.
Which is, unfortunately, the main problem with this issue: while the introduction of Purple Man into this series was truly bone chilling, writer Brian Michael Bendis seems content on coasting on that bombshell in excess of two issues now. Like its predecessor, issue #15 is heavy on emotional resonance, but light on plot development. Thankfully, the dialogue between Killgrave and Jessica is still worth the read if for no other reason than how naturally written it is, supported by Michael Gaydos’s penchant for poignant facial expressions. However, not many answers are given, and not much new information can be gleaned.
That’s not to say this issue is a total wash, though. Bendis’s writing continues to be superb, and you really feel for Jessica here — and, amazingly, you may find yourself feeling a teensy tiny bit of empathy for Killgrave, too. And though there isn’t much action at all in this issue, what artist Michael Gaydos is given, he knocks out of the park.
Is It Good?
This arc of Jessica Jones, when collected, will no doubt stand as one of my favorite stories in recent memory. However, this particular issue is probably skippable if you’re just looking to keep along with the general story, and it’s certainly lends credence to waiting for the trade. Those already invested in the story though should definitely give it a read, as it helps sell the emotional trauma Jessica is going through in brutally realistic ways.