Jessica Jones, Vol. 1: Uncaged!
Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos
Superpowered private detective, Jessica Jones, is fresh out of prison and, as the volume title suggests, on the outs with her husband, Luke Cage. Both the Avengers and an anti-superhero underground organization want her help, each to bring down the other, while Jessica herself craves a slice of peace and normality and, as ever, to do the elusive right thing.
This new return to Jessica’s story abandons the more optimistic tone of The Pulse without fully recapturing the bite of the original Alias series, leaving it with a slightly more generic feel. The two plotlines of this volume never intersect quite satisfyingly, both of them seemingly constructed to connect with the wider Marvel universe more than to complement each other. As in Alias, the frequent two-page spreads of panels aren’t always visually obvious, making it easy to read the dialogue inadvertently out of order (one of my only complaints about the original series).
The obliteration of Jessica’s previous happy ending, and the dubious reasoning behind it, have some of the contrived feeling typical of an unplanned resurrection installment, and yet…
If there were ever a character who could snatch life-shattering angst from the jaws of happy ever after without too much suspension of disbelief, it would be Jessica Jones.
Jessica’s still the “hot mess dumpster fire” (as one of her in-universe critics puts it) with a heart of gold we’ve come to know and love, and she’s back in her gorgeously hideous home sliver of the Marvel universe, which is reason in itself for celebration.
Her sweet but always difficult friendship with Carol Danvers is back in force, as is her stony-yet-receptive professional façade over her unshakeable drive to use her talents for good, and the end of this volume holds a gut-punch that takes any tentative curiosity for volume two and twists it into an edge-of-your-seat wait.
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