Page 45 Review by Stephen
With some of the best dialogue in the medium, this is such thoroughly accessible crime fiction that fans of Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips may relish it.
It hasn't been easy, but there is hope in sight.
We're finally on the road to rehabilitation for Jessica Jones, a woman whose career as a cape was destroyed long before the first chapter opened by something so degrading that it sent her spiralling into a hopeless well of self-loathing only exacerbated by the drink she necked to escape and the sex she gave away freely to anyone who would have her.
Jessica is now a private investigator, but not everyone has loved the results of her investigations. Rule Number One: never ask questions you don't want to know the answers to. Recently she's been set up, beaten up, talked down-to by cops and made life more miserable for herself by further sexual misjudgements. But. She's spoken out against prejudice, helped turn lives around, made up with Luke Cage and is on the cusp of actually dating while sober.
Unfortunately she's about to meet J. Jonah Jameson.
Jameson is the publisher of the Daily Bugle newspaper. He hires her. He fires her. But that is far from the end of it when a certain sixteen-year-old girl breaks into Jessica's apartment while off her face, and that will open up a whole world of pain leading Jones to uncover some of the nastiest, corporeally intrusive and kind-of-cannibalistic drug abuse you cannot possibly imagine.
There's much mirth before we get there, though.
Jonah initially hires Jessica to uncover Spider-Man's secret identity. Jameson despises superheroes: to him they are glory-seeking, self-serving and not to be trusted whether or not they are masked. During the course of their initial conversation Jameson let's her know exactly how he feels about Jessica, her former calling and her current profession. Nevertheless Jessica accepts the job, but her quiet, kind and ever-so-clever revenge during the course of her investigations will have you grinning your heads off.
If only she'd left it there. If only she was bereft of good intentions. If only she didn't care, because it's Jessica's compassion which proves her undoing...
She has, however, managed to pick up a nerdish numbskull called Malcolm, a stalker fanboy who keeps coming round to her office in hope of a job and won't take no for an answer.
"I come around to say hey and you're never here."
"Well, why don't you not do that, then."
I've written plenty about Gaydos' subtle storytelling - the incremental shifts in expression between panels etc - but not about his emphatic refusal to glam Jones up as a youthful foxstress. She isn't. She's world-weary and even refused entry to a nightclub on account of it. But she needs to get in.
"God forgive me for what I am about to do."
She gets in.
"We are doomed as a society.
"Doomed as doomed can be.
"These people are exactly the reason I never go anywhere even remotely resembling any place like this.
"But I didn't come here to be nauseated. I can stay home for that."
This was a distinctly feminist series from a company not really renowned for such shenanigans.
In the fourth volume you will finally find out what happened to Jessica that left her barely able to look herself in the mirror or talk to her former colleagues for years. Please see the substantial JESSICA JONES VOL 1 and JESSICA JONES VOL 2 reviews for the much bigger picture.