Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” series on Netflix may have been mostly snubbed by the Emmys, but the character is returning to her roots. Jessica is getting a brand new solo ongoing series from Marvel Comics this fall from co-creators Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos.
Thanks to the critically-acclaimed and Peabody Award-winning TV series, Jessica Jones’ profile has never been higher. An unlikely hero in world full of likely hero-types, Jessica Jones (formerly Jewel, formerly Knightress, etc.) has had it pretty rough over the years. She’s overcome having her mind hijacked by the Purple Man, alcoholism and her baby being kidnapped by alien Skrulls. She’s been a mainstay in the Marvel Universe since her debut Marvel MAX series, “Alias,” in 2001.
Outside of her role in Bendis’ “New Avengers” run, Jessica has primarily worked as a loner. The new “Jessica Jones” series will focus on the woman who’s made a life for herself as an integrated part of the Marvel U, married to fellow superhero Luke Cage and raising a daughter with him, and having spent several years as part of the Avengers family. With As part of Marvel NOW! raising expectations across the board for the publisher’s lineup, and the character’s creators steering her adventures once more, CBR looks at 12 things we want to see from “Jessica Jones.”
12. “Alias” Investigations
It just wouldn’t feel like a Jessica Jones-led book with JJ as a private investigator taking on new cases. Jessica is the ultimate P.I. — her first comic, “Alias,” was a perfect mix of crime noir and superheroes. If Wolverine can pull double-shifts as a member of the Avengers and X-Men (well, not so much these days…), then Jessica can be part of the Avengers and have her own P.I. business. Maybe she needs to sometimes call on the Avengers for help (or for babysitting duty — but more on that later). Let’s see her take on everyday P.I. cases (drug dealers, missing kids, cheating spouses) and bigger cases (like, say, Kate Bishop’s parents hiring her to see if Kate’s relationship with Clint Barton is more than just a working one). Think a grown up “Veronica Mars” with superheroes meets family drama (also with superheroes).
11. No Love Triangles
Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are one of the few married couples that seem to be able to make it work in the Marvel Universe. Let them become the happy couple both characters and their fans deserve. Let them be everything we wanted from Black Panther and Storm before they [baby cries] got divorced. Don’t give them the Mary Jane/Peter Parker treatment nor the Cyclops/Jean Grey (AKA dead) treatment. Let them be a normal couple that fights, argues, and whatnot — but that doesn’t break up just for plot reasons. Jessica said in her vows to Luke, “…even if the worst happens… it’s a weird feeling — but I know for a fact we can deal with it” — so let’s see the worst being thrown at them, and these two overcoming it. Because sometimes we just need to see two people in love have it all work out.
10. A Costume
It’s weird that Marvel seems to have such trouble giving Jessica (and, to a lesser extent, Luke Cage) an official costume. She ften dresses like a vampire slayer — tight jeans and a leather jacket — but it’s time for her to get an iconic costume all her own. Even if it’s more or less a take on her Netflix outfit — something with a black leather jacket, perhaps? Just no white jumpsuit or weird vigilante TMNT mask. No purple Psylocke hair either. Jessica gave up the silly costumes she used in her early days as a vigilante because they absolutely didn’t match with her personality. As one of Marvel’s most well known characters at this point, it’s time she enjoyed a costume that matches her. (And if Marvel design masters Jamie McKelvie or Kevin Wada were to lend a hand, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.) Something simple, but instantly recognizable and fitting with who Jessica is.
9. Characters From the TV Show
Make all the characters from the Netflix series characters in the new comic. Make badass lesbian lawyer Jeri Hogarth a part of Marvel Comics caon. She can be the daughter of existing character Jeryn Hogarth, on whom she’s based, or perhaps Bendis can find a new wrinkle with which to add her to the comic. Let’s also see the weird twins living in Jessica’s building, and give us a real cast of characters to work with and learn to love (or hate). The twins themselves were great characters with an interesting dynamic, so let’s get a more fleshed out version of them in the comics. Maybe a version of them where (spoiler alert), one half of the duo isn’t murdered right away. Even give us a Hellcat/Jessica friendship — which the comics have been setting up in “Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat!” — along with continuing the Carol Danvers/Jessica dynamic that dates back to “Alias.”
While the comic has a lot to love, the one area where the Netflix series did better than its source material was in showing how Jessica dealt with PTSD from everything Killgrave/the Purple Man put her through. With more of that in the comic, Killgrave could become her Magneto. Not always there, but definitely her arch-enemy and a constant, really twisted thorn in her side. Like Jessica says in the Netflix series, “he’s always here” (in her head), but comic book readers need to see that. Even if Killgrave doesn’t show up that often, showing more of the residual effects of his manipulations and the horrendous events he put her through could help illustrate how resilient Jessica is to go out every day to try and make a difference. Another approach could be for her to start her own support group for fellow heroes (or regular folk) suffering from PTSD. TV’s Jessica would never ever go for that, but the Jessica from the comics is a few more years into her journey and might truly understand the benefit. Killgrave recently died in the comics but, as readers know all too well, no one ever stays dead in the Marvel Universe.
7. Take Cues From Krysten Ritter
The comic was near perfect, and so was the Netflix series. The Jessica fams came to love on television series was a bit more confident and stronger than the Jessica from “Alias.” In “Alias,” she was intimated by the Avengers — a team she used to be a part of. In “Jessica Jones,” she doesn’t take shit from anyone and maintains her loner status. The new comic can and should attempt to find a happy medium between the two options, giving readers a confident, badass Jessica who still struggles with PTSD and sometimes questions what she’s doing. This is the Jessica we want to see punching her way through the Marvel Universe. A Jessica who’d have no problem telling someone like Tony Stark to go F– himself (a scene we so desperately need to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
6. Squirrel Girl
Doreen Green, AKA Squirrel Girl, went from an F-lister with the Great Lakes Avengers to being an official Avenger over the last few years. She made inroads with the Avengers when Jessica and Luke hired her as Danielle’s nanny and faithfully protected Danielle during “Fear Itself” and “Spider-Island.” She even helped the Avengers fight the Dark Avengers and H.A.M.M.E.R. She’s pretty busy these days being a part of one of the newest Avengers team (and the upcoming U.S.Avengers), but bring her back (even just part-time) as Danielle’s nanny! Maybe she just takes care of Danielle whenever Luke and Jessica have a date night, or when they’re both busy with the Avengers and… Squirrel Girl isn’t? Either way, this would make a lot of sense since Squirrel Girl has become super popular and could well be on her way to Deadpool-level saturation within the Marvel Universe.
5. Cameos From Old Friends
What worked so well in “Alias” and its followup, “The Pulse,” was Jessica’s interactions with other superheroes. It was one of the only aspects of adapting the comic where the Netflix series really dropped the ball (but TV/Studios rules and/or budgets were likely the culprits). Every time Captain America or Carol Danvers shared a moment with Jessica in “Alias,” even if it was outside the traditional hero team-up context of a battle, it was a great moment and a fascinating lens through which to view the world. The Jessica of “Alias” constantly felt inferior to these heroes she previously worked with and it’d be great to see present day Jessica interacting with these same heroes in a variety of different ways. It would also be great to see some Young Avengers since Jessica played an important role in their earlier days. Like Jessica, they’re characters that burned bright for a time but haven’t always gotten the attention they deserve. Come to think of it, Jessica Jones and America Chavez would make quite the crime fighting duo.
4. Danielle Growing Up
Lots of characters don’t age in comic books — especially in Marvel comics (the original Avengers should all be pushing at least 70 by now), but Jessica and Luke Cage’s daughter, Danielle, needs to age a little faster. She spent a lot of time as a baby and has recently aged into toddler years but we’d like to see her continue to grow in the new series. Danielle needs to become an actual character and not just a non-speaking child Jessica is constantly worried about. We could see her become pre-teen or even a teen and have Luke and Jessica deal with that on top of being Avengers. Danielle could be like Dawn Summers was to Buffy… but maybe a little less whiny. Maybe even give Danielle her own cast of supporting characters at school if Bendis and Gaydos really want to focus on the youngest member of their cat.
3. Jean Grey
Jean Grey is dead, long live Jean Grey. Jean played a key role in helping Jessica overcome Purple Man’s hold on her, training Jessica to protect herself from mind control. The Jean Grey who trained Jessica has actually been dead for a long time now and, in her place, is the time-displaced teen Jean Grey. It’d be great to see Young Jean Grey and Jessica bonding, perhaps with their roles reversed and Jessica helping Jean through issues of her own. Maybe Young Jean and Jessica have sessions together where Jessica practices her telepathy resistance while telling Young Jean stories about Adult Jean. Maybe if Purple Man did ever come back (and let’s face it, he most definitely will), Young Jean and Jessica could fight him together. Or she could just be someone for Jean to grab the occasional coffee with when adult life gets too stressful.
2. Friendship is Magic
Marvel is releasing more female-led comics than ever before, and “Jessica Jones” could be yet another way to really drive down how great Marvel’s women characters are. A-Force is great for handling bigger threats, but you could do a similar thing but far more grounded with Jessica at the center. Jessica’s friendship with Captain Marvel is great, but teaming her up with more lady heroes like She-Hulk, Hellcat, Spider-Woman, or even some less marquee names including Dani Moonstar, Black Cat and (soon to appear on Netflix’s “Luke Cage” series) Misty Knight. Let’s see new friendships develop between her and other characters from the Marvel Universe. Luke Cage should be as present in this new comic as he was in the Netflix series, and it would be great if Power Man’s best bud and upcoming Netflix solo star Iron Fist could guest star from time to time. Jessica and She-Hulk could have an all-out brawl with Juggernaut; Jessica could team-up with her husband and his best friend to fight Kingpin and his minions. The possibilities are endless. Maybe Captain Marvel stumbles upon some case with the Ultimates that requires a badass P.I.? And speaking of space…
1. A Tour of the Marvel Universe
Jessica should interact with all corners of the Marvel Universe — from street level heroes like Daredevil to the final frontier with heroes like the Guardians of the Galaxy. Jessica is a respected member of the Avengers, so she should be doing big-name missions and fighting big-name villains. She can handle almost anything thrown at her and how freakin’ fun would it be to see her, Gamora and Star-Lord fighting Thanos together? Or her and Carol taking a BFF vacation to Knowhere together. Give her the tour of the Marvel Universe she deserves. Make her interact with heroes we’ve never seen her interact with before. Make her villains bigger than your average street thug, make them Doctor Doom-level threats. But, you know, still have a few street level thugs for her to punch every once in a while.
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