WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Jessica Jones” #5, on sale now.
After starring in a hit, critically acclaimed Netflix series in 2015, Jessica Jones’ return to comics as a solo hero was a no-brainer. Marvel followed through on Jones’ newfound popularity with a new series from her original creators, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. The new “Jessica Jones” ongoing launched in late 2016, and has so far read as one of Marvel’s more intimate, character-driven series. Cut off from many of the larger storylines affecting the Marvel Universe, “Jessica Jones” has instead focused on the hard-luck private eye’s estrangement from her husband Luke Cage.
But “Jessica Jones” #5 reveals the series is more closely connected to the larger Marvel Universe than previously thought.
The issue focuses on the fallout from a case Jessica took on early in the new series: She was approached by a normal woman, Sophie Brownlee, to investigate her husband, who had suddenly begun claiming to be from an alternate reality. Before Jones could properly investigate, however, Sophie turned up dead. What’s worse, the husband confessed to the grisly crime (the murder took a turn toward cannibalism) and then told police he would only speak to Jessica.
“Jessica Jones” #5 follows that confrontation, between an ex-Avenger turned private eye and a normal man claiming to be from an alternate Earth. She doesn’t believe Mr. Brownlee, to his surprise. He points out that Jessica knows people who have been to alternate realities, even if she hasn’t traveled there herself.
“Many, many Avengers have spoken about interdimensional travel in great detail,” he points out, and later notes she’d be a fool to not believe in other dimensions. There’s no reason for her to not believe Mr. Brownlee — and, unlike other dimension-hoppers, he actually knows how he ended up in the Marvel Universe.
It turns out Mr. Brownlee is a survivor of the end of “Secret Wars.”
The massive, 2015 storyline focused on the many, many Earths in Marvel’s multiverse. At the kickoff of the crossover, all those Earths collided with each other in events called incursions; some were destroyed forever, while the remaining chunks of those realities were fused together to create a new, patchwork Earth called Battleworld. The conclusion of that series saw a battle break out between a number of characters (Black Panther, Doctor Doom, Molecule Man) wielding reality-warping power. When the dust settled, the main Marvel Universe was put back in place (partly through the efforts of the Shaper of Worlds and the Silver Surfer) with most of its inhabitants unaware of the entire “Secret Wars” event. Much of the rest of the multiverse, however, was sacrificed, resulting in the deaths of billions.
Mr. Brownlee is a refugee from one of those destroyed Earths, and he’s been driven mad by the fact that certain heroes were complicit in the destruction of countless worlds — and have gotten away with it. If they could get away with killing all those people, then he can get away with killing his wife. “Universes were destroyed and nothing happened,” says Mr. Brownlee. “Nothing happened. Nothing happened. It proves nothing matters.”
Jones points out that something has happened — he’s confessed to murder and he’s in jail. That doesn’t disturb Mr. Brownlee. After all, he now believes nothing matters and there are no consequences. Instead of standing trial and serving out his sentence, any number of Marvel things could happen — like Galactus devours the planet, or everyone gets turned into superhumans or …
This news rattles Jessica deeply, as she’s now one of the few people on Marvel’s new prime Earth to know that the events of “Secret Wars” happened. This revelation also puts “Jessica Jones” at the center of the Marvel Universe, as it’s now dealing with the fallout from the most massive event in the company’s recent history.
“Jessica Jones” isn’t the only series focusing on the fallout of “Secret Wars,” either. Al Ewing and Travel Foreman’s “Ultimates 2” is also dealing with the event’s repercussions, albeit in a more cosmic way.
In the wake of the universe’s restructuring, the entire cosmic balance of the Marvel Universe is out of whack. Galactus has gone from being the devourer of worlds to the life-bringer, and Lord Chaos and Master Order — knowing there are no longer rules governing their behavior — killed the Living Tribunal. Order and Chaos then joined with the In-Betweener to become a new lawgiver, a new cosmic entity called Logos.
But that’s not the only “Secret Wars” fallout unfolding in “Ultimates 2.” While stationed in space, the Ultimates team noticed that it appeared to be snowing in space. They discovered that the “snowflakes” were nothing — literally nothing. That nothing, they discover, turns out to be the remnants of the previous Marvel Universe, the one that was destroyed as part of “Secret Wars.”
They then discover that the Shaper of Worlds, one of the beings responsible for recreating the new Marvel Earth, has sent them a message from beyond. The Shaper of Worlds reveals that he “learned the secret” and says he “saw the others.” The Shaper’s ghost warns the Ultimates to “find him and warn him,” although who “him” is remains unknown.
“Secret Wars” may have ended a year ago, but the effects of the sprawling event are still being felt. That makes sense, as the event saw the destruction and rebirth of the entire Marvel Universe. It’s natural for the powerful Ultimates team to deal with a cosmic event on this scale, but now a street level private eye like Jessica Jones is in on the secret too. How will she deal with this knowledge, and will she confront those responsible for the deaths of billions?
“Jessica Jones” #6 arrives in stores on March 8.