Time to return to the ramshackle world of Jessica Jones. She's a super-powered individual who after a brief career as a costumed hero has become a private detective instead. However she still can't escape from the world of superheroes intruding on her life. She has super strength and can just about fly and she is somewhat messed up with severe PTSD the reasons why will be explained in the fourth and final volume of this series. Jessica Jones was created and here is written by Brian Michael Bendis, one of his earliest contributions to the Marvel Universe. The book is part of the Marvel MAX line which also played host to Garth Ennis's Punisher and Nick Fury tales, so there is sex and swearing aplenty. The art is by Michael Gaydos, whose use of Warhol-like repeating panels fits brilliantly with Bendis's very conversational dialogue make the whole thing feel finely crafted. In previous volumes she had a drunken fling with Luke "Power Man" Cage and went on a date with Scott "Ant Man" Lang and these strands continue through the storyline. The first story I'll mostly skip as it isn't a traditional story it's a series of textual conversations over full page images. I imagine it was done to give Michael Gaydos a breather, all you really need to know is that Jessica Jones manages to piss off J. Jonah Jameson who promises he'll get all up in her grill if she ever screws up. Which leads us neatly into the main story arc of the collection.
Jessica is in a shop reading a magazine and internally swearing at the contents which are all about how to be the perfect woman, "no wonder I feel like shit about myself all the time". Then a man with a gun holds the place up. She panics wondering if she should be a hero for two seconds.
Jessica: "Fuck me... fuck! I promised myself I wouldn't do shit like this anymore".
She dives on the robber as he fires and disarms him holding him down. She tells the shopkeeper to call the police but the man picks up te gun and angrily points it at the robber. She manages to talk him out of firing then asks if she can get some cigarettes, which the shopkeeper charges her eight dollars for. Such gratitude.
She arrives back at her flat thinking maybe it's good things like that happens, reminding her not to be a hero again. Suddenly she realises someone is in her bathroom and it turns out to be a young woman in a costume with a spider on the front and no mask on. She asks if Jessica is Jessica then starts crying saying, "they lied to me! Those fuckers lied to me!"
|Mattie Franklin in Jessica's flat.|
Jessica: "All that will happen is they will take my information and then tommorrow morning there will be blurb in page six about what a lunatic I am."
He asks what she wants to do and she apologises for calling him out in the middle of the night saying they've only been out a couple of times. He says he's actually thrilled she thought to call him, "I was incredibly cool to come over".
He asks if she'll feel safer if he stays over, she says not really so he invites her over to his place and she packs her laptop and goes with him. We then jump forward again, he's fast asleep and she is sitting up to table in just her underwear checking her computer, searching for "Spider-girl" but getting no results.
|Investigating the mystery girl.|
He tells her he's sent her his files on her which will only be in her e-mail inbox for forty minutes. Then he queries her sleeping with Ant-man telling her he's been in prison. Jessica says she knows that and thanks him for his help ending the call and swearing about S.H.I.E.L.D. to herself.
Then her phone goes again and we cut to J.Jonah Jameson. He's leaving the Daily Bugle offices and is in an underground carpark. Jessica appears out of the shadows telling him tHe tries to blow her off, but when she says it's about Mattie he pauses then tells her to get in the car.
Then we're back with her and Scott in bed together having sex, she asks him to stop and he asks so asking what he was doing wrong. She says it's not him it's her and lies back down facing away from him. She says she shouldn't have come over, he says she 's just in a "shit mood". He asks if she talked to "that J.Jonah Jameson dickface?" She says she did.
We cut back to her in his limo, he says nothing which she thinks is the exact opposite of when she last met him "when he wouldn't shut his fucking mouth". She think how she doesn't want to be sitting here with "this piece of garbage".
Jessica: "All I hear in my head is: this guy hates you. And this isn't like my usual self loathing paranoia. No. I have it on tape. On my answering machine. Him wishing I would drop dead."
She thinks how he is everything wrong with journalism in America, using the Daily Bugle to push his agenda instead of reporting the facts. But it's not about him, it's about the girl. A girl he somehow took responsibility for and who is now in some sort of trouble. So she sits in silence not knowing what to do...
|A chilly meeting with J. Jonah Jameson.|
Then he asks her what her angle is? Money? "Of course it is. It always is!" But Jessica says she doesn't think he's hearing her. He accusing her of dangling Mattie over his head, "preying on people's fears and hopes. You piece of trash". He says he'll find out what her scam is and burn her in hell for it.
Jessica says just listen to her, but he responds that if any harm comes to her she will be the one to answer for it. He tells her she screwed around with the wrong person this time and orders her to get out of the car, as she leaves he says "I want her back unharmed now! Or I will ruin you!" Jessica walks away thinking that blew up in her face.
Back in bed with Scott she says she should have gone to the police, she says she never does because of a hangover from being a superhero, thinking she can handle anything herself. Scott agrees she has problems with authority. She denies this at first then agrees. She also feels the cops will grill her.
She thinks with her and Jameson the one with shitloads of money will win "because, like, look at me and look at him". Scott wonders why it would be her word against his. She says the "guy's a loon." He pretty much accused her of kidnapping Mattie. She should have gone to the police. Scott says told you so. She asks him "are you done?"
Back in her office she decides to try and find the girl. She checks over the slim file she has on her and notes down all she remembered Jameson saying. He ranted about "Spider-man! Daredevil! Osborn! All of you!"
Jessica: "Well, Jameson always has a gay boner for Spider-man. And I bet he mentioned Daredevil just because he's in the news. But Osborn. Norman Osborn? Is he even alive?"
She mulls this over and finds the name Jessica Drew in the files, a former Spider-Woman, so she looks her up. She also has a Private Investigation business.
She calls her office to find she's in Istanbul on assignment, this annoys Jessica who thinks she hasn't even been able to afford to go the movies since Ghostbusters 2. She leaves a message on her mobile saying it's regarding Mattie Franklin. Then wonders, "now what?"
|Malcolm pops in.|
She tries to get rid of him, but he says he can help, he has an "enncyclopedic knowledge of stupid shit". So she asks him if he has heard of Spider-Woman. He says there has been three, she wants to know about the young one. He says he doesn't know anyone who knows her and what's wrong with her? She says she thinks she was on drugs. He asks if he finds her will she give him a job, she says if he finds anyone who knows anything about her she will give him a part-time job as long as her parents are OK with it. Then she shoves him out, him leaving happily.
Later her phone rings and it's, Madame Web who is mentioned in Mattie's file. She tells her she will come and meet her tonight at seven o'clock. Because she can see the future Jessica asks if she will ever find true love. Madame Web ignores this and gives her address which she asks her to write down as she foresees her getting lost in her building for nine minutes. Then she ends the call.
At twelve minutes past seven, Jessica arrives and is shown into Madame Web's rooms by an assisstant. She thanks Jessica for being late saying recently she hasn't been able to trust her abilities, "I was doubting myself, which is something I rarely do." Jessica says she has no idea who she is or why she is here.
|The mysterious Madame Web.|
Jessica queries the "possible futures" part of her statement. Madame Web says every decisions made "creates a new set of tangents of time and space. Every descision creates a myriad of possibilities for your future." She sees Mattie playing an important role in her future. Jessica asks if she sees her now and Madame Web says she is in a place of strobing lights and dancing. Jessica is angry with her and they fight, in one future she kills her, in another she is killed, "you look like you, but not you."
Jessica demands to know just what she does and Madame Web says these are only possible futures. The she tells Jessica what she's been through in her past, "I wouldn't wish on anyone. I'm so sorry." Jessica is shocked at having her mind read without permission. Madame Web says she can't help it, "the images... so strong, so violent." Jessica screams "FUCK YOU!!!" at her and storms out. We return to her in bed with Scott, he asks what she saw that upsets her, but Jessica falls silent and turns away from him.
He persists, asking what Madame Web said that so upset her, but she doesn't want to talk about it. He asked if she was raped, and she sits up saying "no!! Why would you say that?" He says he's just trying to figure her out.
Jessica: "Such a guy thing to say!! A girl has a secret in her past... she must have been raped".
He doesn't understand why she's so upset as she gets out of bed and starts to get dressed. He says all he was trying to do was continue the conversation, but she reiterates she didn't want to talk about it and slams the door as she leaves.
|Jessica and Scott fight.|
Next day she is doing body guard duty for Matt Murdock, still under seige regarding his true identity as Daredevil. She notes to herself that while she and Luke Cage are meant to be there in case one of Daredevil's villains attacks him all they are really doing is pushing the media away. She thinks that it's obvious he is Daredeil and she's just here for show.
He comes out to meet her while she smokes a fag. He asks where she's been the past couple of days and she says "living in a dream". She fills him in on the situation with Mattie Franklin and J.Jonah Jameson. He says he call Jameson and tell him to stop threatening her, he asks if she is still looking for the girl and she says yes, though she only has soft leads.
|A new lead is discovered.|
They go into her office to talk. Laney says her brother is a junkie and drug dealer. His name is Denny Hayes and she thinks he's a "full blown scumbag. Real piece of shit." He's assaulted their mother, and dealt drugs since he was young, but recently he's shown up in a sports car and nice clothes.
He's come round saying he's found the "thing" that will put him on the map. She thinks he's in some large scale dealing now, maybe heroin. She just knows he's "stupid as a wall and all of a sudden he has a brand new Porsche and shit." He knows he is hanging out with Mattie, maybe even fucking her. She's met her in passing but she was well out of it, she imagines her brother is keeping her well medicated.
Apparently he'd been itching for his own super girlfriend, she asks if that has happened to Jessica, she says "sadly yeah..." Now Denny has a fancy condo, dating a superhero and peddling whatever he's peddling. She wants Jessica to rescue Mattie who's likely all strung out and being exploited. She doesn't have her brother's address though, he won't let her over. But he hangs out at a club called "616", him and his partner are aways there. Malcolm pipes up asking he if he gets the job, Jessica says she'll think about it.
|Rocking the skank look.|
She starts looking for Denny and Mattie, asking various patrons about where she can find him. He lives in the backroom, the women she asks about him say she can go in but should take it slowly, "let him discover you.. you know". One of the women takes a liking to Jessica and says she'll introduce her to him. They go into the backroom and Denny is sitting on a couch listening to a report from lackey and lying with her head in his lap is Mattie in her Spider-woman outfit looking well out of it.
Jessica thinks to herself how shocking Mattie looks and how she is too young to be in a club. She is looking right at Jessica who thinks the jig is up and she'll have to grab Mattie and run. But then she thinks she might get her hurt, and these people might come round to Jameson's place to find her. "I don't know what to do" she thinks and also notes she looks even worse than when she appeared in her flat, possibly strung out on heroin.
Jessica: "I want to cry just from looking at her. She looks right at me, but... is she so out of it she doesn't recgonise me?"
But her outfit and "incredibly whorish makeup" she put on seems to confuse her. She thinks that kids shouldn't be superheroes and even on her worst days she didn't look as bad as Mattie now.
She introduces herself to Denny as "Madeline" and he ask if they have met before. She says no. All the while she is thinking what scum Denny is. It's what "that psychic bitch Madame Web was babbling about". she described this scene and "fuck! This is it! Fuck! Fuck!" She said they'd fight and either one would die, which she really doesn't want to happen.
Jessica: "This isn't what I want. Thi isn't what I want in my life.... what the fuck am I doing here? I didn't have to do this! What the fuck am I thinking?"
She thinks after all the things she's done she be remembered for the murder of a sixteen year old girl, then she thinks she might be in love with Matt Murdock as her thoughts spin out of control. Then Denny breaks the spell saying he knows who she is and what she is doing is entrapment.
She says that she's a temp at an investment firm not a cop, but she decides she wants to leave and regroup. He asks her to stay. She asks what the are into and Denny says it's time to get "real high". She sits down and Denny gently speaks to Mattie telling her it's her birthday while she feebly agrees with him. He cuts her letting it drain onto a spoon, while the woman who brought Jessica in hands out pills and Jessica takes one.
|Jessica takes a pounding.|
She wakes up to find she is being dragged out of the premises and she is hurled into a pile of rubbish. She lies there for a while then is approached by a man introducing himself as Ben Urich a reporter from The Daily Bugle. He admits he's been following her as Jameson thinks she has Mattie.
She tells him she almost had her, that Mattie Franklin was here in the club. She tells Ben the people who have her have powers, "I've never been punched that hard... and I've been punched." He tells Ben about how strung out Matty was. He asks iff they have harmed her, and Jessica says yes. He asks if the men had protruding foreheads and she says yes again.
Ben realises they were taking MGH or "Mutant Growth Hormone". For the length of the high it gives a normal person superpowers. The foreheads are a giveaway as they are "fucking up their genetic make-up with that shit. Their cell structure is damaged." Jessica says they are killing Mattie and they have to rescue her. Ben says he thought she wasn't a superhero anymore, is anyone paying her to find her?
She goes to an E.R. and asks to see someone privately she is assigned a doctor who tends to her headwound and says she's fine. She's had a blood taken and already people are gossiping about her being a superhero. Then two cops arrive and question her. She tells them a "bullshit lie" about being mugged and returns home.
She takes of her shoes as she thinks that she hopes Ben will find Mattie and get Jameson off her back. She just wants the girl home safe, "then I want to be left alone". She thinks that her body can't take that sort of abuse, then she is cut off by someone in the flat who uses electricity to subdue her. She collapses on the floor and the person is revealed to be Jessica Drew - Spider-woman ver.1 - and she wants to know "where the fuck is Mattie Franklin?"
Then Ben Urich calls her saying Jameson wants to talk to her., so she Ben and Jessica Drew go to Jameson's house. After an awkward silence Mrs. Jameson says that they had been warned taking in an orphan would be trouble. Jessica Jones says she's an orphan. Mrs. Jameson ignores this and confirms she was the last person to see her.
Jessica: "I was the one who originally approached your husband about Mattie's disappearence. But because of some misunderstandings we've had in the past he mistook my words... as some sort of threat."
Jessica Drew introduces herself as Mattie's friend, then Mrs. Jameson asks if it is true what Ben Urich has told them about what's happening to Mattie and Jessica Jones says yes it's true. She says they were too strong for her to get Mattie away from them.
Mrs. Jameson then tells them a bit about her, how her father was J. Jonah Jameson's best friend before he died. Jameson adored Mattie and loves her like a daughter. She says because Jonah has unresolved issues with his son Mattie was his chance to prove he was a better father and a better man. What's happening now is "killing him".
Jessica Jones ask if he knew she was a superhero and Mrs. Jameson says he did not although Mattie has confided in her. She didn't tell him because of Jonah's issues with masked vigilantes. Knowing she dresses as Spider-man especially is a "hard pill for Jonah to deal with". She's been missing for a couple of weeks, they haven't dared call the police because Jonah's enemies will use it as an excuse to mock and ridicule him, using her to get at him. If they can get her back discretely, she tails off...
|Mrs Jameson makes a plea.|
She asks Jessica Jones where she got her powers from and Jessica blows her off saying it was chewing radioactive bubble gum. She asks Jessica Drew if she still plays the superhero and Jessica Drew says sometimes but her powers are wonky so she saves it for "special occasions". She doesn't have a costume as it makes her ass look fat.
Jessica finds Denny Haye's address doing a net database search and the two of them go to his home. Jessica Drew zaps the lock so they can sneak into the building then they smash down the door to his flat. They check around but no one is home. Then Jessica Drew makes a call to a "Special Agent Hunt".
She asks him where the last place Denny Hayes used a credit card is. It turns out its a hotel and she thanks him and hangs up. Denny is at the "Matador" hotel. They both go to the building and pretend to the concierge that they are a "surprise" for Denny. He lets them up and they listen at his door hearing an argument going on Jessica zaps the lock and they barge in to find Mattie passed out on the bed and another hero called "Speedball" in there who is losing control of his kinetic bubble making powers.
|Speedball in action.|
Finally all the bad guys are down and the Jessicas quiz an embarressed Speedball. He was trying to bust them, Jessica Drew angrily asks him "what the fuck is up with your shit powers?" And he stammers that he's going through a rough spot and can't always control it. And he's here with the cops.
Jessica Jones picks up Mattie and when the cops burst in Jessica Drew zaps them and they make their getaway with her. Jessica Jones flies her out the window and they land in an abandoned building. Mattie blearily asks her what's going on. She jumps out of the window and call a taxi with her.
|Mattie Franklin, clean and healthy.|
She says it's hard to explain but Jessica says she knows exactly what she means. Mattie presents her with a framed article by J. Jonah Jameson which says "Superhero Team Up Trio Save Mystery Teen From Drug Dealing Parasites". Jessica thanks her for it. Jessica asks why she came to her house that night that kicked this all off, but Mattie can't remember why she was there.
Later she meets up with Scott asking him where he's been the last six weeks. He says he freaked out after he screamed at her and stormed out that night, "I said life's to short for crazy". But she came into his life with her crazy and... she interrupts saying it's the worst apology ever and that she called him seven times and he never responded. She tells him to shove it, but he admits he thinks he's in love with her.
He says he has very strong feelings for her and that she's a better person than she thinks she is, smarter than she thinks she is, prettier than she thinks she is. She says she's mad at him and now he does this! He then asks her out on a date. "A fancy date?" she asks and he says yes. She says it better be damn fancy, "you got a lot riding on it." And that brings this arc and the volume to a close.
|Scott 'fess his love.|