REVIEW: Jessica Jones: Marvel Digital Originals #1

JESSICA JONES #1 / Writer: Kelly Thompson / Artist: Mattia De Iulis / Letterer : Cory Petit / Publisher: Marvel Comics / July 18th, 2018

Jessica Jones #1 Cover

Let me start by saying this: ABOUT DAMN TIME. Since Bendis ended his final run on Jessica Jones, I have been anxiously waiting for a new Jessica Jones comic. Marvel—finally—pulls through with New York’s most interesting PI by introducing her new series with the recent Marvel Digital Originals line. When this comic appeared on Comixology this morning, I was ecstatic, but adding to my enthusiasm, Marvel hired Kelly Thompson to write this book, something I’ve wanted ever since she wrote Jess during her Hawkeye run last year. I was excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint. Getting the two first issues as a package deal together allows the reader a deeper insight into the story, hooking them more solidly than with a single issue. I give props to Marvel for this initiative and for surprising readers with this title; I’d lost hope that it would be announced at all.

Plot-wise, Jessica Jones #1 is a captivating read through and through. Thompson really brings every element in Jess’ life together and makes them all important parts of her story. Her family life, PI business, and superhero history all play a role in the story. It’s a respectful nod to veterans readers who can see the depth being explored. That said, this book is also new-reader friendly. Everything in Jess’ past that matters is either explained appropriately or shown through the art. This allows people to jump in without feeling like they should go back and read everything; you should, though, because she’s an amazing character. The interesting plot keeps you captivated the entire time. At the same time, it introduces enough mystery to make you wonder where it’s going without leaving you confused. I’m also a fan of the more mystical approach Thompson is taking by pairing up Jones with Elsa Bloodstone. I can’t wait to see where this story is going to lead.

Jessica Jones Talking with Doctor Strange

Bendis, the only one to have handled Jessica Jones as a solo character, puts a lot of pressure on Thompson to grasp the character’s voice. She rises up to this monumental task to perfection within the first few pages. Kelly takes full advantage of Jessica’s stubborn, damaged, and sarcastic personality to roll in fans. She also exploits all the different facets of the character from the caring and funny mother / wife all the way to the hard-boiled PI who doesn’t take crap from anyone.

Thompson has a very distinct style of humor, which I generally enjoy, but there were a few jabs at comedy that didn’t quite hit for me. I felt these few jokes were more akin to Kate than Jess, but humor is very subjective. That is why it comes in as a minor complaint compared to the overall quality of the book. I liked that she kept some dark tones within the story while lightning up the mood while Jones is with her family. It gives the reader a deeper understanding of Jessica’s psyche. This is complemented by the outstanding art of Mattia De Iulis. He contrasts the darker parts of the story against the lighter parts through the use of colors—darker shades and deeper shadows for the former, brighter colors and highlights for the latter.

On the subject of art, Iulis was an unknown to me coming into this first issue, but I found myself extremely pleased with his artistic skills. He draws one of the most beautiful versions of Jessica I’ve seen in a while. This comic isn’t filled with fast-paced action, but from the small amount we see, I am eager to see more. So far, it’s fantastic, reminding me of David Marquez’ work on Defenders, which I mean as high praise. The artist’s strength lies with faces, all of which have a realistic quality combined with a touch of simplicity, giving them some amazingly defined features. This is a huge plus for the comic since the plot is character-focused rather than high-octane action. Having an artist of this caliber bring some beautiful character pieces to life while delivering on the few action-heavy scenes will propel this comic to the top of people’s pull-list very quickly.

Jessica Jones getting hit in the face by a guitar
I enjoyed the art a lot, but I do have a gripe. It comes with the line work and inking. For example, when Jessica has her hands in her pockets, we barely see the lines, making it feel like a blob. Other times, the lines seem too thick, making it look like there is a physical barrier between two characters involved in physical contact, such as when Luke and Jess hug. Otherwise, the art was beautiful in most places.

Jessica Jones #1 is an amazing surprise creating a stimulating crime story. It keeps you on edge with a plot riddled with mystery while boosting quality with breath-taking art. This is a great entry into Jessica Jones’ history. I have a feeling Thompson’s run will be one people talk about a lot in the future.

4.5 Dead Female D-Listers out of 5

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Vincent is Canadian and a raving Cyclops apologist and a lover of all things geek Marvel and Star Wars are his specialty. He is well versed in DC, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. He's always wanted to be a writer and Do You Even Comic Book? is his first foray into that adventure.

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