I’m not sure the last time I was in a comic book store. I’m very indifferent to regular comic book series (usually), so it surprises me when I find one I need to read RIGHT now. While I enjoy a good manga (currently catching up on Attack on Titan without breaking the bank); it takes something special for me to become obsessed about a traditional American series. Obviously, I have recently achieved this obsessed level with Jessica Jones.
I will admit my journey to the original Brian Michael Bendis comic lead directly through the Marvel Netflix series. When Marvel announced Jessica Jones coming to Netflix, I thought the series sounded interesting—I’d watch it—but it didn’t leave me waiting breathlessly. I was actually a lot more excited about Daredevil. Funny thing was, I ended up severely disliking Daredevil (please don’t shoot me); and came to love Netflix’s Jessica Jones. When Netflix’s The Defender’s was released this August, I was only excited because I loved Jessica’s solo series. And honestly Jessica Jones was the only reason I watched the Defender’s. She had all the best scenes, allowing me to really like the Defenders too.
It was at this point that I decided to turn to the original Marvel comic books. I love how true Marvel/Netflix kept to the original character. She’s moody. She’s broken. She’s sarcastic. She’s fairly incompetent at superhero-ing. Flying competently and landing eludes her. And as much as she doesn’t want to, she truly cares about people. She’s experienced loss and trauma in her past, reacting as any normal human would, and she is so very fallibly human. It’s quite relatable. Brian Michael Bendis created an awesome character; and Krysten Ritter seems born to play the role.
Of course, there are some big differences between the books and the TV series (always the case). In the comics, Jessica has some close dealings with top level Avengers—she’s even good friends with Captain Marvel. Obviously with the divisions between Marvel Television and Marvel Cinema, it’s doubtful we’ll see any cross over. Because of this Cinema/Television divide, key elements of the Kilgrave storyline had to be re-written. Elements like a Kilgrave—caused illusion of waking up next to a dead Scott Lang being eaten by his own ants just won’t fly. Neither will a battle with the Avengers, or having Kilgrave’s persuasive hold broken by X-Man, Jean Grey. However, all these challenges lead to the script writers adding their own creativity to the storylines while keeping true to original intent.
I haven’t yet figured why I love Jessica so much, but I think it’s something about her sarcasm, inventive thinking, and good heart. Also, she inhabits the grey space between great superhero and villain without being a true antihero. She’s able to color outside the lines of good and evil, making her much more relatable to an ordinary human. Whatever it is, I’m patiently waiting for Netflix’s Season 2 due out in 2018. And I’m not so patiently counting the days to my next paycheck so I can buy more comics.