If the stars align correctly, this post will go live on Thanksgiving here in the States, and that’s when we look back and reflect on the things we’re thankful for.
I, for one, am thankful for the new Netflix/Marvel series Jessica Jones, a gritty, intense, and fantastic superhero drama following in the footsteps of their other show, Daredevil. If you haven’t seen either show, I highly recommend you remedy that this holiday weekend. I also recommend you check out the graphic novels the show is based on, starting with:
Jessica Jones: Alias Volume 1. Jessica Jones is a former superhero–turned–private investigator. She takes on cases that somehow end up dragging her back into the world she left, the world of superpowers and mutants. Little do her clients know, she once fought alongside Captain America and Thor as part of The Avengers. In her most recent case, she is hired by a woman who wants her to find her sister, Miranda Pritchett. Jessica tracks the woman down and inadvertently records video of an Avenger’s secret identity. When Miranda turns up murdered, Jessica is the prime suspect and has to turn to old and new friends to figure out what’s going on, and who set her up.
Jessica Jones: Alias Volume 2. Jessica travels to Lago, New York, to investigate the disappearance of a high school girl. The girl’s mother suspects her husband of child abuse and worse. The husband denies everything. As the investigation continues, Jessica learns the girl, Rebecca, was a fan of superheroes and that she might be a mutant herself. In the small town, prejudice and intolerance is rampant, opening up the suspect pool to just about everyone. The rumors of Rebecca being a mutant permeate the school, and Jessica learns the local church teaches that "God didn't create...mutants. Man created mutants. Mutants are abomination brought on by Man's greed." This is only the beginning. As her search for Rebecca continues, conflicting evidence shows Rebecca was not, in fact, a mutant. Can she find her? Is Rebecca a mutant or not, and more importantly, is she alive?
Reading through these books, you get a completely different sense of the Marvel universe. These books come with a mature audiences tag, and with good reason. Which reminds me of something I’ve always said: when I was young, I read Marvel, as I grew up, I switched to DC. Why? Because the DC titles felt more mature. Well, the Max imprint was meant to be more mature—R-Rated, in fact, and the Jessica Jones books deliver on that promise with dark and gritty tales, richly drawn (and flawed) characters, and a view of a world with superheroes we don’t normally see from Marvel.
I was really impressed and, after binging on Jessica Jones on Netflix, I can see threads from the books running throughout the series. You don’t need to read the books to enjoy the show, but I think doing so will really enhance your experience.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and 2013 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fanzine (Editor - SF Signal), and 2014 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fancast. He lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast was nominated for a 2012, 2013, and 2014 Hugo Award. In addition to his Kirkus posts, he writes for atfmb.com, SF Signal and Functional Nerds.