No-one knows what this feels like

Jessica Jones vol. 3: Return of the Purple Man
by Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Michael Gaydos (artist), Matt Hollingsworth (colours), David Mack (cover art)

So this is it, the last time (for now?) that Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos will work on the character they created, the almighty Jessica Jones (Bendis and Gaydos have left Marvel for DC). And they’ve certainly gone out with a bang, with what might be the best volume of all the Jessica Jones stories.

As the title suggests, in this volume, super-powered PI Jessica Jones learns that her greatest fear has come true: Killgrave has escaped from the SHIELD prison for supervillains in a very similar manner to his escape in series 1 of the Jessica Jones TV show, but this is not the same story, because the Jessica Jones of the comics universe is in a very different place in her life and has different things to lose. Killgrave can control the bodies and voices of other people and he delights in taking that power to the darkest places imaginable.

The story and the art beautifully capture the fear of having the worst thing that ever happened to you happen again. As Jessica says, this time it’s worse because she knows what the Purple Man is capable of, what he can reduce her to, what he can make her do. And what he can do to her loved ones.

I guess the rest of this plot summary constitutes a spoiler for this current run of Jessica Jones so don’t read on if you’re not up to date.

*** Spoilers ahead ***

So, key to Jessica’s fears this time round is the fact that she has a small child to worry about. The adorable Dani gives Jessica something to live for, but also more to fear. What might Killgrave do to Dani? Or make Jessica do to Dani? Or make Dani do to Jessica? It is truly chilling to contemplate.

Luckily Jessica has plenty of superfriends to help her through this. And somehow she and bestie Carol Danvers – Captain Marvel – find time to have some insightful, and hilarious, conversations about survival and parenthood.

*** End spoilers ***

I remember when I read the original Killgrave storyline in the last volume of Alias, I was slightly disappointed that the Purple Man didn’t have the same impact as the character in the TV show. At the time I put that down to David Tennant’s genius, but perhaps it was something else. The TV show wasn’t telling the original Purple Man story, it was telling this story – the return of the Purple Man. Psychologically it’s different, scarier, and this volume of Jessica Jones gets that.

The volume ends with a straightforward, classic Jessica Jones investigation. A riddle to be solved, a psychological challenge to be faced that’s very different from Killgrave.

Jessica Jones doesn’t end here. It has been handed over to Kelly Thompson and Mattia de Iulis as a digital-only series. It looks good, but I’m a little sad that it isn’t available in print.

Published 2018 by Marvel.

Source: Excelsior Comics, Bristol.