Marvel Studios has another hit on its hands. Jessica Jones premiered last week to rave reviews, with millions of people discovering the show’s titular character for the first time. Unlike Netflix’s last series Daredevil, Jessica Jones doesn’t have the deep history or a place in mainstream pop culture, since the character is a recent creation who didn’t benefit from being around when comics still sold by the millions. However, she’s quickly carved out a special place in the Marvel Universe as an occasional Avenger and the fearless wife of Luke Cage.
If you enjoyed Jessica Jones and are looking for some good comics that star Jones or have a similar feel to the show, give these titles a shot:
The comic that first introduced Jessica Jones to the Marvel Universe, Alias is a gritty and intense noir series by Brian Bendis and Michael Gaydos. Alias’s version of Jessica Jones is similar to the one seen in the television show. She’s self-destructive and abrasive but also is unafraid of a fight. Early arcs of the comic focus on Jones’s messy love life and some of her cases, including searches for missing heroes, conspiracies involving Captain America, and an investigation into Spider-Man’s real identity. If you’re looking for an exploration of Jones’s relationship with The Purple Man in the comics, skip to the last arc of Alias, which explores Jessica Jones’s “secret history” and disastrous superhero career.
Marvel published Alias under its “MAX” imprint, which allowed Bendis to explore more adult themes, but also kept the book on the fringes of the mainstream Marvel universe. Bendis decided to relaunch Alias as The Pulse, a new series following the next chapter of Jones’s life. In The Pulse, Jones becomes a consultant to the Daily Bugle while balancing her newly discovered pregnancy. Unlike Alias, The Pulse tied into several Marvel events, including Secret War and House of M and also featured references to other “current events” occurring in other Marvel titles. Also appearing in the series were J Jonah Jameson and Ben Urich, longtime supporting cast members of Spider-Man and Daredevil.
Another Brian Bendis written series, Powers follows two detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, who investigate homicides involving superheroes. Although Powers is set in its own universe, several parodies/homages of well-known heroes appear, often with seedy pasts and unsavory extracurricular activities. As the series progresses, we learn a little bit more about Walker’s connections to the superhero community and Pilgrim’s own dark past, which leads to the two of them pursuing wildly different paths. Although Powers draws much of its inspiration and homages from crime procedurals, crime noirs and superhero comics, many of the early arcs also drew inspiration from various musical documentaries and bands. Sony recently adapted Powers into a television series, which only appears on its PlayStation Network.
If you’re looking for a noir/crime procedural book set in the DC Universe, Gotham Central is the series for you. Gotham Central follows the Major Crimes unit of the Gotham Police Department, which regularly interacts with Batman and his dangerous cast of Rogues. The series is set up similar to a traditional crime procedural television series, with each arc focusing on different detectives, their cases, and their complicated personal lives. Gotham Central won several Eisner Awards and was one of the inspirations for the creation of Gotham, the popular Fox crime procedural set during Bruce Wayne’s teen years.
The Amy Devlin Mysteries
Much like Jessica Jones, Amy Devlin is a hardnosed detective who’s both good at her job and has a tendency for self-sabotage. A series of graphic novels by Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFlilippis, The Amy Devlin Mysteries follow Devlin as she solves several cold cases abandoned by the police decades ago, all the while hiding that she doesn’t actually have a private investigator’s license. Devlin’s penchant for cutting corners often makes her job that much difficult and the novels often begin with the detective in a worse spot than where she started the volume before. So far, three volumes have been released and the creators of the comic already have a fourth volume planned.