Last week, Collider walked you through the most popular of the quartet of characters that Marvel Studios will be bringing to the small screen, in their 2015 television deal with Netflix, with Daredevil. This week, we thought we’d take the opportunity to introduce you to the lesser known Jessica Jones. Jones originally was created by the team of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos in the series, “Alias”, and no, we aren’t referring to the Jennifer Garner show. Alias was one of Marvel’s first forays into an adult line of books entitled “Marvel Max” that had an anything goes style to it. So what makes Jessica Jones specifically a great character for a television series of her own, when not too many people have heard of her? Hit the jump to find out.
In a nutshell, Jessica Jones is a private investigator who was once a superhero named Jewel. She has superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, and curses like a sailor at every opportunity she gets, which happens to not be one of her superpowers. She had a long history with teams such as the Avengers and other Marvel characters like Luke Cage and Iron Fist, who we will get to in the coming weeks. She even went to high school with Peter Parker, aka Spiderman, and had something of a crush on him. Her ingrained history created for some interesting stories during the run of her solo book, while her unique character and place in the universe helped to distinguish her from what had come before.
The origins of her powers came from being splashed with radioactive material (which has to be about the ten thousandth time that’s happened in the Marvel U) and resulted in the death of her family, as well as putting her into a coma for a number of months. Once seeing the Amazing Spider-Man in action after waking up, she decides to use her powers for the benefit of mankind. Then things get a little dark. Jessica, as Jewel, runs into a supervillain known as “The Purple Man”. Certainly not the scariest of monikers, that’s for sure, but his powers made up for that. The Purple Man had the ability to mentally control anyone and used this opportunity to physically and emotionally control Jessica for eight whole months.
Jessica eventually escapes his control and returns to her old life, only to discover that no one even noticed that she was gone! Heartbroken, she decides that the life of a superhero isn’t for her and begins a new life as a detective for hire. Obviously, for the sake of the show and since Marvel Studios doesn’t have the rights to use characters like Spiderman, some changes will need to be made along the way. Certainly, they may need to tone down a lot of the more harsh elements of Jessica’s life if Marvel/Netflix doesn’t want to go the “Mature” route with the story, but the essential building blocks can remain intact and really help to push Jessica to the forefront amongst her costumed colleagues.
The Underbelly of the Marvel Universe
With a show like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there’s been the complaint that its overall a bit too “family friendly” for some tastes, and with Jessica Jones, you not only can delve into the darker side of the Marvel Universe, you NEED to. The show can allow us to take an in-depth look into the life of a hero who realized that the negative aspects of putting on tights and patrolling the city can seriously outweigh the benefits. Jessica doesn’t have a team of Avengers to watch her back, or a cushy job running her own multi-million dollar business or law firm, she’s scraping by and doing what she can to build a new life for herself while also giving something back to the community.
As all of the characters in the Marvel/Netflix deal are “street level”, they all have stories that don’t dwell on fighting monsters from outer space or travelling back in time. With Jessica Jones specifically, she uses her ties to the superhero community to solve crimes such as finding a missing girl or trying to uncover Spidey’s secret identity for J. Jonah Jameson. She’ll especially have close ties to Luke Cage, as in the comics, the two eventually tie the knot and have a daughter. This can allow for some good crossover stories between the two if Marvel Studios decides to go that route.
With the story of the Purple Man, it’s some dark stuff. The torture she’s put through is definitely not for kids and it helped to set it apart from the “all ages” books that were hitting the shelves at the time. Jessica Jones, much like in the comics, can be Marvel Studio’s first foray into creating a story in the media that is a hard “R” and really delves into more adult subject matter. It won’t just be the dropping of curse words or the occasional blood and guts, but rather the complications of things like every day life relationships, substance abuse in the form of a drug known as “Mutant Growth Hormone” that allows people to temporarily have superpowers, and financial issues to name a few. Jessica also struggles with depression from time to time, and I think many viewers will be able to find her to be one of the most relatable characters that Marvel has put forward.
I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar
So awhile back, I wrote an article about the “Top 5 Superheroines Who Deserve a Movie” and there’s a reason why Jessica Jones didn’t make the list. I don’t consider Jessica a superheroine, rather, I consider her a recovering one. The character need never really be in costume or be shown originally as Jewel, rather her old days can be referenced throughout the show. Jessica will stand as Marvel Studios’ first leading lady role in their movies/shows and while there certainly have been other strong female roles in the Marvel films to this point (Black Widow, Agent Carter in her own short, etc.) this will be different.
Jessica Jones will make for a strong lead, and will offer a truly unique view of the Marvel Universe, as well as one of the most interesting characters that has been created in the funny books. After all that, are you still not convinced? Well let me end it with the fact that in the series, Jessica fights a villain named “Man Mountain Marko”. Man. Mountain. Marko.
I’m just going to let that one sink in.