Monday, 24 July 2017

Jessica Jones: Alias Book 3 (#10, #16-21)

"They are killing that girl. I lost her" - Jessica Jones

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 demands to know what the hell is going on but the woman panics and jumps out through her window leaving a very confused Jessica in her wake.  She leaves her mask behind and Jessica sits a ponders it.  We jump forwards in time and Scott Lang has come over.  She tells him it was creepy, she was "like Spider-man with little tits".  Scott asks why she didn't call the police, she says they won't be able to do anything.

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.
She then decides to call someone named "Agent Quatermain".   She finally gets through to someone called "Clay" who wants to know why she called at 0400.  She tells him about the girl in her flat and he says he'll call her back.  Her phone rings again and he tells her that her name is "Mattie Franklin".  She did a short run as Spider-woman, "the third one for those counting at home".

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.
So she "babbled like an idiot".  She tells him that Mattie broke into her flat strung out or something then ran away.  The whole thing has left her freaked out and despite the shit between them she thought he ought to know.  Finally Jameson speaks asking where is she now?  Jessica says she doesn't know, but he asks her the same question again.

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.
Then Malcolm appears in the doorway, he's a young man who keeps trying to work for her. He asks her about Captain America and what she think of him revealing his secret identity, she hadn't seen that.  He thinks it's bullshit, that he's copying her who came out years ago.  Also Daredevil got outed by the tablouds but he's suing everyone "like a big fucking pussy".  He told his friends at school she did the coming out thing years ago before it was trendy.

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.
Madame Web says she is here because of Mattie Franklin, she is also trying to find her because she is in terrible trouble.  She was there at the ceremony when she received her powers and began her life as Spider-Woman.  Madame Web used her abilities to guide her, but recently she has lost contact with her.  She cannot see her on the astral plane nor her possible futures.  She fears her young body is having trouble with unnatural abilities.

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.
With some trepidation she returns to her flat but no one is there. Carol Danvers calls her, but she doesn't pick up.  Carol leaves a message saying Scott contacted her and was "bummed out" so what did she do to him.  Jessica gives the ansaphone the finger.

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.
Later she returns to her office to find Malcolm and a friend skateboarding outside.  She's all what the hell, she told him he couldn't hang out there.  But he says he did what she asked and found someone who has seen the Spider-woman.  He introduces his friend, she called Laney.  She tells Jessica her brother is dating Mattie Franklin.

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.
That night she queues to get into the club wearing her usual clothes, but the bouncer won't let her in. So she  goes back home, gets tarted up, puts on a skimpy top and skirt and goes back.  She is let in this time.  As she watches the masses dancing and thinks "fuck me.  We are doomed as a society" she also thinks how she hates places like this.

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.
Thinks start getting all messed up distorted for her while Denny cooks the drug up.  Angrily Jessica punches him calling them "fucking animals".  But to her surprise his eyes light up green and he wallops her back with the same strength she used on him.  She lies down and slips out of consciousness.

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?"
Jessica Drew.
She zaps Jessica again, saying Jessica is the last person to see Mattie, "one more time before I turn into a real bitch, where is she?? What did you do with her??"  Jessica manages to tell her she's looking for her too and to check her answering machine.  Jessica does so and realises Jessica did call her and is telling the truth.  Then Jessica Jones punches Jessica Drew sending her tumbling over the table and knocking her out.

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.
We cut to both Jessicas in Jessica Jone's P.I. office.   They compare approaches to private detectoring then Jessica Drew apologises for attacking her and asks if she was in the Avengers.  "Guilty only by association" responds Jessica Jones.  Jessica Drew says she'll try not to hold it against her, she doesn't much care for the Avengers.

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.
He pleads with them to get the drugs but Jessica Jones is knocked out by his power.  She slips into a dream where she is being attacked by the Avengers then wakes up again.  Speedball is trying to keep his powers together and gets control of his balls.  Denny, all fired up on MGH attacks Jessica Jones, but Jessica Drew shocks him and Jessica Jones punches him then smashes a TV over his head.

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.
We then cut to six weeks later and Mattie visits Jessica in her office, she is cleaned up now and in normal clothes.  She says it's important to her to meet Jessica as herself, and she wants to thanks Jessica for saving her life.  She says she doesn't know how things got so out of control.  She went out with a "cool older guy" once and he slipped her something because she didn't know where she was, "it wasn't me, it was a movie".

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.
So what's interesting about this storyline is that it actually becomes more insightful once you read Jessica's "Secret Origin" revealed in the fourth and final trade.  Jessica's desperation to help Mattie is because she found herself in a similar situation some time ago, dropped via small hints.  The mind read by Madame Web lets us infer that it was something pretty dreadful as well, Bendis is teasingly revealing things a bit at a time like her being an orphan so all will finally be revealed in the last arc of this series.  Jessica as usual remains a singularly likeable person despite all her flaws.  Her relationship with Scott Lang shows him up to be something of a dickhead though and she'll realise this finally in the next trade.  Despite getting beaten up, mind read and zapped she gets right back up and plows on with her mission never letting extraneous bullshit put her off.  The mystery is well laid out with one clue following another and another until Mattie is located.  The brief team up with Jessica Drew is pretty awesome, both look seriously badass and it's notable just how damn silly Speedball looks with his bright colours and spandex outfit when dropped into the "realism" of  Marvel MAX series.  The crossovers with Bendis's run on Daredevil are also fun, MGH was something that appeared in an early storyline of that series, which just reiterates that unlike Punisher MAX, Alias does take place in the main Marvel Universe. Michael Gaydos's art is superb as usual, repeating panels fitting the rhythm of Bendis's naturalistic dialogue.  Only one more volume to go, keep an eye out next month for it.


  1. So let's start this edition of Malitia's Marvel trivia and random thoughts!

    - "Such gratitude."

    The powers that be apparently only let ungrateful bastards, with no self-preservation instinct incarnate into the Marvel universe.

    - "checking her computer, searching for "Spider-girl" but getting no results."

    I almost asked 'what about Anya Corazon?', but that character wasn't created until 2004.

    - "She did a short run as Spider-woman, "the third one for those counting at home"."

    I was about to write that 'Spider-Woman' might have been a better search term.

    - "Him wishing I would drop dead."

    Well, it's JJJ, he wishes most super people dead, so. *shrug* When Loki needed a journalist to troll for his presidential campaign he rather chose someone else.

    - "Also Daredevil got outed by the tablouds but he's suing everyone"

    What did they think would happen when outing a lawyer?! O.o

    - "Jessica says she has no idea who she is"

    Madam Web was the mystical side of the Spider-People comics before it expanded into what it currently is (from spider totems, to the Web of Life and Destiny). Also she died and the ex-2nd Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) took her place. Mattie is also dead, and Jessica Drew uses the Spider-Woman alias while being a detective and raising a toddler.

    - "Such a guy thing to say!! A girl has a secret in her past... she must have been raped"

    Yes. Boring trope is boring.

    - "Ben realises they were taking MGH or "Mutant Growth Hormone". For the length of the high it gives a normal person superpowers."

    Also it's made of super-people. Mostly mutants, but there were stories where others were used too.

  2. Thank you Malitia, your Marvel trivia is always welcome here :)

    You know one of the things I like about the DCU over the Marvel one is that the average person appreciates the superheroes a lot more. Half the time I wonder why anyone bothers superheroing in Marvels Universe, especially with the likes of JJJ slandering them all the time.

  3. Occasionally Marvel civilians can be very inspirational in their fearlessness (stupidity). "Old lady just threw a half-brick at it. How scary can that thing be?!" :3

  4. Heh, I'd like to think I'd be the one lobbing a brick at an evil villain. But more realistically I'd probably be hiding under a car >_<

  5. I'm trying to think what cause of action Matt Murdoch would have from being outed as Daredevil. It's either going to be defamation or breach of privacy. Privacy is probably a non starter; unless the info came from someone who owed him a duty of care as a confident. Otherwise it's first amendment fair game. (There's also the paradox that you can only claim if you accept the disclosure is true, so it can backfire if you lose the case). Defamation requires that the allegation would lower your standing amongst right minded people. Is Daredevil a vigilante? Allegations that a lawyer was engaged in law breaking would probably suffice. Don't the stories take place in New York though? That's a notoriously difficult jurisdiction for libel claims. They also have a no prior restraint rule, so you can't get a gagging order. You can only sue after the fact.

    Anyway, now that nerdiness is out of the way...

    Jessica is probably my favourite female can conventional superhero (Squirrel Girl is in a league of her own). As I've mentioned, she's definitely someone I'd hang out with.

    I liked the story. Lots to mull over here. I'll let it sink in a bit then try to formulate some further comments.

  6. I'll have to reread the Daredevil's in question but he is based in New York and I think he sues over the privacy issue. Mostly he gets into escalating damages claims with the owner of the paper who outed him (not The Daily Bugle for a change). Of course Bendis's run ended up with him being found out and arrested by the cops for vigilante behaviour. Of course he seems to spend his time going in-and-out of the superhero closet. The Marvel NOW run I've been covering has him outed and disbarred from Law practice in NY which is why he's in San Francisco and that came about a decade of our time later.

  7. Be interested to find out. I can happily accept a girl with a drink problem can fly and fortune telling, but incorrect legal proceedings takes me right out of the moment. :-D

  8. :D

    I just checked the first Bendis/Maleev Daredevil omnibus and when he makes his statement to the press he says he's file suits for libel and invasion of privacy against the newspaper's owners. It never comes to trial though due to him been arrested and imprisoned for being a vigilante. Oops.

  9. But privacy and defamation are mutually incompatible causes of action! Only stuff that's true can be private. If it's not true it's defamation.

    Right, how do I angrily post things to twitter? And where's me cheetos?

    (What are cheetos anyway? They sound quite nice)

    Actually you could theoretically bring both causes of action. Say your housekeeper revealed you were in a relationship (true, therefore privacy) but your partner was underage (false, therefore defamation). Normally illegal activity removes the right to privacy but if you were arguing being Daredevil wasn't illegal...

    Ok, I'll let them off.

    This was a great story though. I thought the 'Alan Moore' query was in character. Not just for the bloke in question but generally. It is the sort of conclusion a guy would jump to. So I thought it made a good point within the narrative. Hope it's not that ultimately, otherwise it's retrospective justification.

    I like the exploration of a very young supe. It's hard enough to cope with as an adult. And I do love how Jessica Jones addresses that. But what's it like when you're basically a kid? You can barely have the experience to cross the road on your own, let alone save the world.

    There were also some marvellous little touches. So many supes are practically omnipotent. I love that Jessica couldn't even get into a nightclub. Can you imagine Bruce Wayne? "I'm here to take down the Joker". "Not in those shoes you're not".

    I love also the contrast between Jessica's (potential) physical superiority and her psychological vulnerability. She's a woman of steel, but also so fragile emotionally. She's the sort of girl you'd really fancy but wouldn't hit on because it would be taking advantage of her insecurity. Which is a pity because she skanks up really well. She reminds me of that Grace Under Fire episode where Grace is so happy and proud about her wedding dress, but then you want to hug her when she says "and you can barely see the bullet holes".

    She really is a marvellous character. I wonder how popular she is with girls? She's not exactly aspirational or inspiring, but I bet so many can identify with her. She's so fucked up but stoic about it, you really want everything to finally come together for her. She deserves a happy ending. I hope she gets one.

  10. Regarding Jessica's popularity with women. In the next and final volume Jessica reveals just why she's got so such psychological vulnerability. Now the TV show based on her used that from the start and has gained much kudos from women suffering PTSD from gas lighting and psychological/sexual exploration. I don't want to spoil the next volume too much but she's definitely been appreciated for the way she manages to get on with her life despite deep mental scarring but she hasn't just shaken it off like it was nothing.

    Her insecurities are one of the reasons I don't like Scott Lang here. He messed her about too much and pushes where he's not welcome. She'd probably have opened up to him sooner or later but in her own time, she just needs space. But as it is he comes across as a right dickhead.

  11. "I like the exploration of a very young supe. It's hard enough to cope with as an adult. And I do love how Jessica Jones addresses that. But what's it like when you're basically a kid? You can barely have the experience to cross the road on your own, let alone save the world."

    Well, depends on the very young super. You might end up trying to "clone" yourself to be everywhere*!

    There are a lot of teen super-hero books. ^^; They're hit and miss**.

    * That was an actual 3 issue arc of the current Ms. Marvel series. It's good, it's the only thing written by G Willow Wilson that I like, if you don't mind that it's not even a little bit subtle. XD
    ** To give a less stellar example Marvel's current Champions is my favorite bad comic. I would not give money for it, but from what I'm seeing anyway it's as hilarious misguided and off as only a "socially concious teen team" comic written by a well meaning 50+ white guy can be.

  12. The only teen superhero comic I've really enjoyed is BKV's Runaways. The twelve issue original storyline I'm probably going to do in this blog at some point. I've got the next two omnibuses of the ongoing too.

  13. Scott is an interesting character. At the risk of sounding like one of those Reddit 'nice guys' I do find his behaviour a bit unsavoury. But that's good characterisation. It's probably quite an accurate portrayal of how some people behave; and just because you don't like a character doesn't mean it's not enjoyable to read about them. Otherwise it's like people who used to yell at that actor who played the bloke who was nasty to Rita in Coronation Street.

    Even to this boy, Jessica seems soooo realistic. So I can see why girls like and identify with her too. It's a very mature story in the technical sense (rather than the tits and swearing for the sake of it stuff aimed at 14 year old boys). The characters act like real grown ups rather than some fantasy version of adulthood as seen through the eyes of teens.

    Which brings us to the issue of young supes. One thing I loved about Zenith was it addressed what would really happen if an immature (in every sense) guy had superpowers. I can easily believe they'd end up with that sense of entitlement and irresponsibility you find in footballers. But what about badass normal teens; would there even be such a thing? There are some kids who do amazing things (child carers are both heroes of mine and also something that upsets me) but how many teens would actually have the discipline to put in all the work necessary? And would they have the judgment skills to utilise that even if they achieved it? That's why I find it completely plausible that someone like that would end up exploited and fucked up. And that makes Jessica's interest in her and wish to 'rescue' her very believable; especially in view of her own experiences.

  14. Oh yeah I think Scott is interesting, but I don't like him very much because I am totally judging him unfairly because of the things Jessica hasn't opened up to him about lol. Anyway, I'll be sticking vol.4 which is the last in the series early next month. I think you'll be impressed how all the pieces finally fall into place.

    This talk of young supes has now made me decide this evening that I will do the first Runaway's omnibus. It's about a group of teenage friends who are thrown together when they have to defeat their evil parents. And not all of them have powers either. It's by the same guy who writes Saga now, so it's got great characterisation. So I think you'll find it interesting :)

  15. It's funny how knowing what's coming next skews your views. Like with Star Wars "Eww! Dude, that's your sister!" Or of course as I had "You'll like this Al. Turns out Bruce Willis is a ghost." Still think Scott's a knobhead though, just based on what he *does* know. Looking forward to seeing how things pan out. I'm guessing there's been a bit of foreshadowing, so I've got some theories.

    Have you mentioned Runaways before? Something familiar about it. Ah no, that was the one about the kids in that school. The Saga guy is good on complexity and relationships, so curious to see that he's not a one trick pony.

    Malitia's comments about Champions also intrigue me. I like the idea of someone well meaning but trying a bit too hard. There washable series of comics produced by the EU. Bunch of European kids working together (under the guidance of very Aryan looking captain euro) against Doctor D Vider. (Geddit). Unfortunately the good doctor accidentally (at least I hope so) looked like he'd been designed by the Nazis. He and his cabal worked to take over Europe by controlling all the banks and media. When this was pointed out they tried to rejig the character. But all they really did was reveal his name was David and that he wasn't born evil. He'd just got a bit twisted because his family had been persecuted by authoritarians. That's not helping! (The original comics are quite hard to get now. The EU probably tracked them all down and burned them).

  16. The completely representative and inclusive captain

    And the nothing dodgy about that nose D Vider

  17. It's cool, they had a black guy (he wasn't officially part of the team but hey, they let him hang out with them)

  18. Interesting, I'd never heard of that comic.

    Runaways was part of the Marvel U so it was interesting to see how he tried to push against the somewhat stifling rules about what you can and can't show back then. He's definitely not a one trick pony. Next year I'll be covering his Vertigo title "Ex Machina" which is about a man with super powers who also is mayor of New York. It's good stuff.

  19. I know I mentioned the Runaways some months ago when the topic of "children of super villains" came up. ^^;

    Champions as a team is fairly diverse, but consists entirely of Legacy characters and Americans*. They split off of the main Avengers because of the event Civil War II convinced them that "Adults are USELESS!" (well, that event was useless the very least).

    There is much misused/outdated slang and whatnot, and it tries to tackle difficult subjects but... let's just say there was a recent story line where they discussed that internment camps (current event stuff) might have positives because they keep people safe (put in the speech bubble of the Korean-American team member with WW2 reference).

    And everybody facepalmed.

    I read one issue fully, where Gwenpool was guest, and... it wasn't offensive, but it was an exercise in not thinking it true. Okay, it was a story about small town racism, but in a comicbook universe someone (Gwen) insisting on "it must be a super-villain!" might have a point. ^^;

    - Ms Marvel - Kamala Khan (Pakistani-American nerd girl, Inhuman)
    - Hulk - Amadeus Cho (Korean-American teen genius boy)
    - Vision - Viv Vision (robot girl)
    - Nova - Sam Alexander (American White guy, for a long time the last of the Nova corps/Space police)
    - Cyclops - Scott Summers (White, American, Mutant boy and time traveller)
    - Spider-Man - Miles Morales (The black Spider-Man people were complaining about 10 or so years ago)

  20. That comment about Runaways you made is probably why it's been rattling around the back of my brain as possible blog fodder, so thanks :)

    Also, that bit about internment camps? Oy vey. It can be a bit embarrassing when middle aged male writers try and be down with the kids. Grant Morrison is a notable offender in this regard. And you run the risk of everything sounding dated years later, which Runaways suffers from. But than everything ends up dated sooner or later, so I'm not going to be a Judgey McJudgerson in that respect.

  21. Some choice moment from Champions as collected by Kieran Shiach (I listen to his podcasts, when he produces any *accusing-looks-at-lack-of-updates-on *):

    My only comment is that Gwen doesn't learn a thing in that issue... I mean they try to teach her the lesson but she refuses on the grounds that "if I wanted to deal with this shit I could have stayed home ['real' world]"

  22. Thanks for the link. Wow talk about good intentions gone awry. Mark Waid is usually pretty good as well. On the other hand, I really liked the artwork, who does it?

  23. I think Humberto Ramos is the penciler on the series.

  24. I've heard of him, looks like stuff I have seen of his in the past. I'm a sucker for "cartoony" looking art.

  25. Someone on Mammoth raised the question about whether superheroes get drunk. I said you'd already covered that.

    (emailed you btw)

  26. Depends on which? ^^;

    I mean generally the ones that have human or comparable biology can get drunk too, those who don't can't (or will have the reaction to different substances than humans do). Rapid healing, and/or poison related powers give some level of immunity.

    So for example Wolverine needs to drink unholy amounts of alcohol to be even a little bit tipsy.

  27. What happens if Luke Cage ever needs a tetanus shot?

  28. Cool beans Alan. Although I am having serious problems with my connection speeds right now, so can't get into my inbox atm. I've been spending the day yelling at TalkTalk tech support. FUN!

  29. I'm guessing he would want to go to the Night Nurse's Clinic* or some similarly specialized place. Not only because of the tetanus shot but because something happened that makes it necessary. ^^;


  30. Ooh I like the Night Nurse. She patches up Daredevil in the Bendis/Maleev books I have. The DCU doesn't have anything like that. Mind you only Batman seems to need repairing on a regular basis and he has Alfred for that.

  31. She isn't the only medical provider for superpeople, but possibly the one who takes doctor patient confidentiality most seriously.

    And If we mentioned Luke Cage... The Joy of Parenthood:

  32. Is she the basis of the nurse who appears in Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's TV shows?

    Also lol, poor Luke.

  33. Highly likely. Even if their civilian names are different for some reason. O.o