Enter the next Defender…
Jessica Jones is the latest Netflix series chronicling the exploits of another of Marvel’s street level characters and having viewed the first two episodes, “AKA Ladies Night” and “AKA Crush Syndrome” I thought I’d offer some quick first impressions.
I must confess that unlike Daredevil, I came to Jessica Jones with limited knowledge of the character created by Brian Michael Bendis with only a passing familiarity gained via Bendis’ run on New Avengers from the mid/late 2000’s. I had never read Alias, the title that introduced the super-powered private investigator – something that on the strength of this series I now plan to rectify.
Given the quality of Daredevil I still had high hopes for Jessica Jones and I’m certainly not disappointed. Marvel and Netflix have ensured that anticipations would be met and Jessica Jones (at least thus far) achieves what was established with Daredevil and manages to push the envelope further. This is dark, gritty stuff and all the more compelling for it.
Once again we are taken to the crime ridden streets of Hell’s Kitchen and this time we are introduced to private investigator Jessica Jones, a world weary ‘gifted’ individual who turns to drink in an effort to cope with a traumatic past event and chooses not to embrace her extraordinary abilities as a force for good. As Jones, Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter proves to be perfect casting as she effectively conveys a complex mix of sarcastic wit, cynical world view and general brashness whilst also letting subtle hints of heroism seep through (we learn that her one weakness is that she sometimes cares). Jones’s methods as a P.I. are at times questionable (falling foul of lawyer Jeryn Hogarth, played by The Matrix’s Carrie-Anne Moss) but she gets the job done.
Also introduced is another of Marvel’s street level heroes as Mike Colter brings the indestructible Luke Cage (due to receive his own Netflix series in 2016) to the screen and in these first two episodes Ritter and Colter are able to establish good chemistry and get the chance to put their abilities to use in a bone crunching bar fight – their first of undoubtedly many team-ups to come. The building storyline concerning Jones’s manipulation by supervillain Kilgrave is mysterious and intriguing, although largely unseen, former Doctor Who star David Tennant makes his presence felt from behind the shadows, with unsettling flashbacks that plague Jones a prelude to Kilgrave’s re-emergence in the present as the mysteries of Jones’s latest case begin to unravel.
This is the seedy underbelly of the Marvel universe and is a perfect counterpoint to the family orientated (but no less entertaining) cinematic ventures of The Avengers and I’m looking forward to watching more.
All thirteen episodes of Jessica Jones season one are available to stream now worldwide exclusively on Netflix.