The comic was better! Alias/Jessica Jones

Alias is one of the best comics Marvel Universe has to offer. If you have snobbish friends that never wonder beyond “proper literary fiction” and avangarde graphic novels with unrecognisable art and no plot – here is something superior to show them how wrong they are.

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Great stories, good art, complicated, interesting characters. It works well and gives a new dimension to Marvel Universe.

Jessica Jones is something similar. A very good tv series that can be easily recommended to somebody not into superhero stuff. Because most of the connections to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe had been cut out. Not all… sometimes the destruction of the city during fights from big MCU movies is mentioned, we know that one of the secondary characters will get his own series, and that Jessica will return to team up with other Netflix superheroes. But, while an excellent piece of tv in its own rights, as an adaptation Jessica Jones is IMO a disappointment.

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Alias, published 2001-2004, is a product of Marvel’s MAX imprint, created for serious 😉 R-rated stuff. And it is serious. Jones, ex-Avenger (minor one) formerly known as Jewel, after trauma (that we learn about later, I’m not going to spoil that) resigns and works as private investigator (Alias Investigations 🙂 ). She drinks, sleeps around, and follows unfaithful spouses for change. Just like in the tv series, you’d say. Yes and no.

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Her being not just a mutant, but former Avenger is a big deal. And she’s involved in superhero community all the time. Daredevil is actually her lawyer (and couldn’t they bring him for a cameo?), her best friend is a blonde woman, yes, but her name is Carol Danvers  (Captain Marvel). Her cases involve Captain America, J. Jonah Jameson and Spider Man & others. I know that the budget of the tv series was not enough for an all-star cast, but wouldn’t that be a great chance to introduce new Spidey at least? And Marvel Woman, who would make much more sense than Jessica’s mundane friend. MCU is a great experiment in multi-medium interconnected storytelling, but this time they don’t go far enough.

It may not be important for many viewers, but for me it’s a major let-down.

The show by itself is very good. A heroine dark and troubled, strong female protagonist in all the meanings of the word, engaged in meaningful relationships with well-developed characters. I like the actors, Krysten Ritter is a great Jessica, David Tennant – diabolic Killgrave, most of the time.I’m not wholly convinced by Wil Traval, but he’s good enough.

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Story… could be better. And should be, there was more than enough source material. In comics, we don’t really deal with Killgrave until issue 22 (out of 28!). Here – he’s the antagonist from the beginning, and a very short series (13 episodes) managed to get repetitive. They almost get him, someone feels too confident, and they have to start all over again. What happened to the good formula of starting with small cases and slowly revealing the big problem of the season? It’s a cliché by now, but for a good reason – it works. With Killgrave only, it should be cut by half.

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With Killgrave so powerful sometimes the only weapon to be used against him was his fascination with our heroine. Not her actions and her allies, in a way he defeated himself. It lowered my satisfaction immensely.

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I believe we should, at the very least, be given a few more episodes. A few cases for Jessica to solve, before she’s confronted with her nemesis. Against opponents that aren’t fascinated by her to the point of not using their best abilities, where her actions would be (more?) meaningful.

I wish Jessica Jones was more like Daredevil.

Heh.

I will not assign score, it’s not a full review (on imdb I gave it 7), but I’ll end with recommendation – just as Alias is a perfect comic for somebody not that much into superhero comics, Jessica Jones is a great show for viewers not fascinated (yet) by superhero tv/movies. It’s a very good show about a great heroine, just not such a great addition to MCU as I hoped for.

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2 thoughts on “The comic was better! Alias/Jessica Jones

  1. Hmm… I haven’t seen the series, but I intend to. I haven’t read the comic, and I intend to do it too – although probably I will start with the TV series, cause I’m lazy 😉 I very much like Daredevil, and with S.H.I.E.L.D. series season 3 going where they are headed now Daredevil seems the only serious – and seriously good – thing out there, apart from some of the movies, that is 😉 (Captain America: Civil War! Yay!) Jessica Jones might become the second best TV series set in Marvel universe that much easier now :P.

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  2. I finished watching Jessica Jones. It took me that long because… sigh. It’s not a good series.I may be spoiled with Daredevil and Agent Carter, sure, but Jessica Jones was very underwhelming. Piotrek said it all when he described the series as repetitive. Everything revolves around Killgrave who’s a rather sorry creature, all things considered. They tried to make him three-dimensional but succeeded only in creating a spoiled, psychotic child in the skin of a grown man. Not three-dimensional, not even by long shot.
    What/who irritated me the most was Ruben’s sister. Gaah! No words can describe the idiocy and utter uselessness of this character. The other irritating character was Simpson who at first tried very hard to impersonate Brody form Homeland and then seriously overdid it with the crazy act, as if didn’t have enough crazies to start with (see: Ruben’s sister).
    Plus, I really don’t understand why Daredevil couldn’t show up, since this is the same producer and since in the Marvel universe he’s Jones’ lawyer. We get the nurse Claire as a consolation prize and they probably keep Matt Murdock for a cameo in season two, but still – it could have been that much better.
    Anyway, if you want to watch a really good superhero TV series, go with Daredevil or Agent Carter 🙂 Jessica will do, but only if you’re desperate and willing to overlook many deficiencies.

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