Marvel has exploded into the mainstream culture since the turn of the century. They didn’t invent the superhero, but they created iconic, instantly recognizable characters: Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, Daredevil…the list goes on.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe being as popular as it is, Marvel has gained the leverage to bring less popular characters to life, such as Jessica Jones on Netflix, the no-nonesense, tough talking street-level hero. I had certainly never heard of her, but after the TV show came out last year I was on the hunt for the Alias Comics the show is based on. Last week at the library, I struck gold!
Alias Volume 2 follows Jessica well into her private investigation career, taking on a case in a rural town in New York. A girl has gone missing, and the mother is desperate to know what happened.
With rumors flying through the town about Jessica’s supposed abilities and the possibility that the missing girl is a mutant, Jessica struggles to sift through the misinformation and small-town gossip to find the girl. Through all of this, Jessica reminisces on her former life as a superhero.
Beyond these slight spoilers, I won’t say anything else. Unlike most comic stories, Alias takes a darker approach to comics. It’s not glossy and pretty. The lines are rougher, the colors more muted. Curse words aren’t *%&$ing censored. Jessica is (mostly) dressed down as opposed to hypersexualized like most women in comics. There is a scene of her previous life that’s drawn in the more popular flashy comic-book style, which only goes to show how drastically Jessica’s life has changed.
They also manage to tackle the issues of diversity and acceptance in regards to mutants. This is a fairly common topic in superhero comics, but it was interesting to watch regular people in a small town address the issue candidly instead of politicians or superheroes discussing them. It’s a refreshing change of pace.
For fans of the TV show, the influences are readily apparent. Shades of purple give the comic a distinct tone, much like the show. When I read Jessica Jones, I hear it in the voice of the actress playing her in my head. Even though most of the comic doesn’t take place in the Big Apple, the few scenes we get show a grittier, slower city.
Honestly, it’s one of those comics you have to read to fully appreciate. I’m glad I picked it up.
If you’ve read Alias Volume 2: Come Home, Rebeca, let me know what your thoughts are.
I’m always looking for new stories, no matter the medium. If you know of any great books, movies, or video games that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments and, if I hadn’t read it, I’ll add it to the list!