Marvel’s Jessica Jones airs on Netflix in six days. So you might be wondering to yourself. Who is Jessica Jones?
Jessica Jones first appeared in a comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos called Alias in 2001. This was part of Marvel’s “MAX” imprint which would incorporate explicit R rated content. The imprint is also responsible for the popular Punisher Max series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. (The Punisher will appear in season two of Daredevil. Coincidence?)
Her backstory crosses over with many other classic heroes and events. For example, she is shown to have attended school with Peter Parker, and her father worked for Stark Industries. Tragically, her family was killed in a car accident with a military transport carrying an experimental chemical which was responsible for her powers. The accident occurred when her father was distracted by an argument between Jessica and her brother, which left her feeling responsible for their deaths. She was the sole survivor of the crash and was eventually adopted by the Jones family.
Jessica begins a promising superhero career under the alias “Jewel.” With enhanced strength and flight she could used her newfound powers to help those in need and overcome her guilt. All seemed well till her confrontation with Zebediah Killgrave, the “Purple Man.” Killgrave has the ability to force people to obey his every command, as long as they’re in range. To say Killgrave abused Jessica is an understatement. Using his mind control powers he psychologically tortured Jessica for eight months, using her as an outlet for his hatred of Daredevil among other heroes. Traumatized by the experience, she swears off super-heroism for good. Instead, looking for lower profile means of helping her community.
Opening her own private investigations office named “Alias Investigations” she does what she can to make a difference in the world while also paying rent. As a chain smoking alcoholic she does what she can to help those around her, but her past constantly drives her down a self-destructive path. Although she has and on and off sexual relationship with with Luke Cage, (Power Man) their dynamic is stressed at best. It’s not until she accepts a case putting her face to face with the nightmare from her past, Killgrave, that she confides her past in him.
Seeing as both, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are set to appear in the upcoming Netflix series, It will be interesting to see how they convey the history of these characters. That being said, the rich history isn’t just what made Alias great, it also showed the Marvel universe in a different light than ever before. It was a small scale story, but tragic, brutal, and hopeful in a way no one had expected. Jessica Jones shows us the real risk every hero takes when they don a cape and tights. If nothing else, it is indeed time the world know her name.