Jessica Jones is back, with her own solo series from the team that created her 15 years ago. Yay! But it turns out that her closest friends and family now suddenly hate her, and it might be for some very good reasons. Less yay. A lot less yay.
Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, and Matthew Hollingsworth’s Jessica Jones #1 is a peculiar opening number for a series many will have their eyes on thanks to the Netflix series. Not really because the show’s version of Jessica is different to the comics version (although there’ll be a little bit of that), because even if you’re aware of what Jessica’s been up to in the comics, it feels completely out of nowhere.
To start, the series opens with Jessica Jones getting out of prison, for reasons unknown. If that wasn’t alarming enough, no one—not even her husband, Luke Cage—is there to greet her when she’s freed.
When Jess returns to her Alias office, we quickly find out why, when a very angry Misty Knight stomps in:
And then there are the concerned messages from friends like Carol Danvers:
And when Jessica takes a case to distract herself, she finds out her friend Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman is spying on her on Luke’s behalf, asking the same questions:
But if it wasn’t obvious enough, Luke finally shows up in the issue’s final page, demanding the same thing:
Where the hell is Danielle Cage, Jessica’s daughter? The implication from these is clearly Jess has done something to her. She’s estranged from her husband. Her friends think she might have killed her child. Whatever Jessica did, her daughter is missing, she went to prison for it, and now all the people close to her can’t stand her.
It’s a surprising turn, considering not only does it make Jessica look extremely unlikable, which is a strange pick for your first issue of a new series starring her, but it’s also so alien. The last time we saw Jessica Jones in Marvel’s universe, she was a happily married mother (although a little naggy). She was showing up alongside Luke in series like Spider-Man and Patsy Walker, her usual investigative self.
All of this stuff is just dumped on the audience, out of nowhere. I would imagine if you were picking this series up for the first time as someone who only knew Jessica Jones because of the Netflix show, it’d be rather alarming to discover that she’s suddenly an isolated ex-con who may have done something unspeakable to her own child.
If that ends up not being the case, and this an elaborate deception being played on Jessica and her friends (there’s a petrifying voice at the back of my head screaming that this will be revealed as some sort of mass suggestion by a returned Purple Man somehow, which please god no don’t do that) then even that feels a little contrived. Either way, this inauspicious start to Jessica’s first starring series in a long time—and having to wait and see how it’ll play out is leaving us a bit wary about the chances of Jessica Jones sticking the landing.