Current Reviews


Alias #28

Posted: Sunday, November 9, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos

Publisher: Marvel Comics

As the mind controlling Purple Man re-enters Jessica's life we see he subjects her to all manner of mental torment, before taking her out on the town where he uses his power to spark a full scale riot, in a bid to attract the attention of the heroes that protect Manhattan from evil villains like him. However when the Avengers arrive we see Jessica is able to slip free of the Purple Man's control after he orders her to kill Captain America, and Jessica get her justly deserved revenge on the villain.

There are certain plot elements one just has to accept when it comes to comic books, and one of the most common occurrences is the use of the cliffhanger to draw readers into the next issue. In fact unless the issue is the final issue of a multi-part arc, nine times out of ten you'll be treated to a cliffhanger. I figure that in my years of comic reading I've seen the "building/island/flying craft that contains our band of heroes blown to kingdom come" ending at least a couple hundred times, and a fairly close second would have to be the shocking death, or injury panel, which is the ending that Brian Michael Bendis drew upon in the previous issue. Now given the vast number of time I've seen this type ending, one would think I would be immune to the inevitable reversal scene where things are reveal to be far less dire than the cliffhanger ending made it out to be, but this time I fond myself actively annoyed at Brian Michael Bendis for backing away from his shocking ending in such a obvious fashion, as it's clear the only reason we were treated to that false ending was to end the issue with a bang. Still, for a final issue this book does a pretty solid job of tying up various loose ends, and there's a fairly unexpected surprise waiting for readers as well, as we learn who is the father of Jessica's child, and I hope this plot element is followed up in Jessica's new series, as frankly I'd like to see this character back as a cast member in a monthly series.

As for the art, Michael Gaydos turns in another fine issue of talking heads, and if nothing else it should be noted that Brian Michael Bendis admits to this fact in the fairly amusing comments that he offers up on the final page. Now part of the reason I was so annoyed at Brian Micheal Bendis was because Michael Gaydos did such an impressive job of delivering the shocking death of Scott Lang, that the big reveal that it was all a Purple Man induced illusion felt like it had kicked the legs out what had been a truly impressive visual. However, the art does a fairly impressive job when it comes to its presentation of its big impact moments, such as when the crowd erupts into a violence fueled mob, and the arrival of the Avengers was pretty solid as well. Jessica's big punch wasn't nearly as impressively rendered as it might've been though, as we never really see her fist connect.

Final Word:
As far as final issues go, once I got past my initial sense of disappointment regarding the trickery that Brian Michael Bendis engaged in the opening pages, the issue is question turned out to be quite entertaining. I mean I rather enjoyed the way that Jessica was able to free herself from Purple Man's control, as it doesn't do a disservice to either character, as Purple Man's ability was defeated using a plot device that felt like it could genuinely work, while at the same time the use of his ability to cause a crowd on innocent bystanders to turn into a homicidal mob was a chilling display of his power. I'm a little curious why Purple Man's command to the crowd didn't give Jessica the license to attack him though, as the wording on his command to the crowd certainly looks like it would give her license to do so. As for the surprise reveal regarding the father of Jessica's baby, I do have to say Scott Lang's reaction does make him out to be a bit of a jerk, but than if the character couldn't make the jump into the new series, this was one way to have this relationship brought to a close.

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