Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Unlike some of the more dramatic life-and-death oriented “What-If” issues on sale this week, Bendis and Gaydos’ examination of Jessica Jones gives her story a tweak which seems minor on the surface, but leads to a completely different future for the character. It’s a welcome change from the alternate-history stories which end up leaving the character in a similar place to where they where before, and even manages to produce a positive, uplifting conclusion instead of the often dour and downbeat endings that the “What-If” concept seems to lean towards. But if any character was more deserving of a little more luck in her alternative future, it’d be Jessica.
Returning to the point in “Alias” where Jessica was given a choice to join the Avengers, the issue reunites Bendis with Michael Gaydos, giving the whole affair a real sense of continuity with Jessica’s original series – playing like a true “alternative ending” instead of a whimsical and unconnected imaginary story. As you’d expect, the writer and artist have no difficulties in capturing Jessica’s personality and mannerisms, as well as introducing a sleek new Emma-Peel-style look for her in her Avengers mode. However, it’s the unexpected directions taken by the issue which prove the most entertaining, separating totally from Jessica’s current Marvel continuity and establishing a romantic relationship between her and another character which initially seems totally out of the blue, but actually hearks back to the characters’ quite different relationship in the pages of Alias. Some moments fall a bit flat – the revisiting of “Avengers Disassembled” seems to have been thrown in quite arbitrarily, and is dealt with so simply that it completely undercuts that recent storyline in regular continuity and overall, Jessica as a superhero is less compelling than Jessica as an anti hero – but for the most part, the story will be interesting and fun for anyone was a fan of “Alias” or who has followed Jessica’s more recent appearances in “The Pulse”.
One minor gripe with the character’s re-development could be that in this new continuity, Jessica apparently never gets to have her rematch with the Purple Man – an important turning point for the character in the original “Alias” series, and one which led to the overcoming of a lot of personal demons. Then again, maybe this story sees those demons overcome in a very different, more positive and proactive way, playing like a fairytale ending for the original series which produces a much happier (if admittedly less interesting) Jessica Jones.
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