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Josh Reviews Jessica Jones Season Two!

May 23rd, 2018
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I have been a fan of the character of Jessica Jones ever since picking up the very first issue of her first comic book series, Alias, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, back in 2001.  Jessica is a special creation, and I was excited and nervous when I heard that she’d be one of the characters brought to life by Netflix’s first batch of Marvel TV shows.  To my great relief, I loved the first season of Jessica Jones when it was released on Netflix back in 2015.  It’s been a hell of a long wait for a second season (though Jessica did appear in last year’s Defenders crossover series), but our long national nightmare is finally over and season two of Jessica Jones is out in the world.

Jessica Jones season two doesn’t equal the heights of season one (primarily because the dynamic with David Tennant’s villain Killgrave was so compelling that, try as it might, the show can’t quite overcome his absence here in season two), but it’s still a terrific season of superhero storytelling, and the strongest Netflix season since Daredevil season two in 2016.  The show remains a delight, filled with complex characters and a sophisticated, adult tone that leans far more to character drama than superhero fisticuffs.

I will comment that the season was hamstrung somewhat for me, at least at first, by the decision to investigate Jessica’s origin, which is a story I didn’t think needed telling.  Maybe it’s because I am such a long-time comic book fan, but I have no problem accepting superheroes as-is and don’t feel I always need to know exactly how they got that way.  The lengthy digression into Luke Cage’s origin in the second half of his show’s first season bored me, and I was at first disappointed that Jessica Jones season two was going in that same direction.  In the end, though, as the season unfolded and I understood the story the writers were trying to tell, I enjoyed the places the show went, even if this wasn’t the story I was looking for.

I have read some reviewers describe this season as a “slow build,” with the first batch of episodes being somewhat boring, but I didn’t feel that way.  Right away from the first episode I was happy to be back in the world of Jessica Jones, and I was impressed by the level of craft on display right from minute one.  It’s true that it takes several episodes for the story being told this season to come into focus.  But the strength of that approach is that the storytelling this season escalates in intensity from episode to episode, reaching a peek … [continued]

Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

Josh Reviews Jessica Jones

December 14th, 2015
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I was excited when Netflix announced that Daredevil would be the first of their Marvel universe TV shows.  But I was even more excited when Netflix announced that Jessica Jones would be their second.  I was also somewhat concerned, since as an enormous fan of the character I was worried about whether she would be faithfully translated to the screen.  I adored Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ twenty-eight-issue series Alias (published from 2001 to 2004) in which Mr. Bendis & Mr. Gaydos introduced the character of Jessica, and I have thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Bendis’ depictions of the character ever since (in his follow-up series The Pulse as well as various issues of The Avengers).  Jessica Jones is one of most interesting and complex new characters introduced to the Marvel Universe in the past several decades.  The potential of seeing her brought to life on a new TV show was delicious, but I also would have hated to have seen the character not done justice.

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Thankfully, Marvel’s Netflix team is two for two as, just like they did with their tremendous first season of Daredevil (click here for my review), they have created in Jessica Jones a show that is thrilling, sophisticated, dark and very adult that is also a huge amount of fun and a delightfully riveting adventure.  I loved pretty much every minute of it.

(Please note that I will be discussing this show in some detail.  I will try to avoid major spoilers, but there’s no way to discuss the show without also talking about some of its plot twists.  If you haven’t yet watched this show I advise you to go watch it immediately — really, it’s excellent, you’ll thank me later! — and then come back to read this review.)

When we are introduced to her, Jessica Jones is private eye in the Marvel Universe.  Though not a very successful one.  She’s reduced to mostly taking photos of cheating husbands on behalf of their broken-hearted wives.  Jessica has super-powers: she’s very strong, able to run fast and jump high.  But Jessica is no super-hero.  She is gruff and grumpy, short-tempered and hard-drinking.  As she tells Like Cage early in the show: “I don’t get asked on a lot of second dates.”  But what we gradually learn as the show unfolds is that Jessica has become who she is because she has been deeply broken by a trauma in her past.  A trauma with a name: Killgrave, a super-powered individual whose voice gives him absolute command over anyone within earshot.  At some point before the show begins, Jessica fell under Killgrave’s control for many long months, and I probably don’t need to go into … [continued]