During San Diego Comic-Con this year, Marvel Comics surprised readers around the world with a brand-new Jessica Jones series that appeared on digital platforms everywhere alongside their previously announced Wednesday offerings. The launch was part of a new digital first initiative in which the publisher releases 40-page digital installments, each segmented as two chapters, before collecting each new story in a single, affordable trade paperback. Jessica Jones was the first series to debut, but Marvel has already released a variety of others in the line, including Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
The choice for Jessica Jones to lead the way was no accident. There has yet to be a disappointment in this collection of street-level defenders, but Jessica Jones is one of the best new superhero comics of 2018, no matter its format. Fans who don’t normally read digital comics are in luck as the first physical collection hit shelves this week. They will be able to discover the complete first mystery, titled “Blind Spot,” without ever having to wait between cliffhangers. Whether it’s for a longtime fan of the character or a gift for a new reader who discovered Jessica Jones on Netflix, this series provides a perfect starting point.
If you’re still hesitating about checking out the newest version of Jessica Jones, here are eight reasons why it simply cannot be missed.
Jessica Jones is a character that emerged fully formed when writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos debuted the series Alias. Not only did she already possess her memorable attitude and low-key superhero style, but Bendis had already imagined an origin that established Jones as a longstanding hero within Marvel Comics. Fans of Alias are bound to love the new take on Jessica Jones as it picks up all the most iconic elements and runs with them. The new series understands how to tell a mystery and show off Jones’ rough edges without becoming a parody of the original.
This volume of Jessica Jones isn’t an attempt to repeat what Bendis and his collaborators have already done. While it understands what makes the character memorable, it also embraces her evolution across the past couple of decades and delivers its own style to the superhero detective subgenre. Like all great, modern superhero comics, it builds upon the past without becoming a hostage to old stories and favorite moments. “Blind Spot” makes this balance clear as it references a classic mystery before making a lot of unexpected decisions and turns.
Kelly Thompson is a rising star at Marvel Comics, and it feels like only a matter of time before she’s guiding major events and inventing the most popular new superhero characters of tomorrow just like the original writer of Jessica Jones. Jessica Jones is part of a trifecta of series penned by Thompson that touch on all corners of Marvel Comics, alongside West Coast Avengers and Mr. and Mrs. X. Taken together these series deliver radically different stories and tones, showing just how much a powerhouse Thompson is when working with superheroes.
Thompson has found an incredible collaborator in Mattia de Iulis, who draws all of “Blind Spot” and will continue to provide art for the next story in Jessica Jones as well. While he is a relative newcomer to comics, with Jessica Jones being his first Marvel Comics work, it’s already clear that De Iulis will be sticking around. He builds a page perfectly and matches the blend of angry action and acerbic wit that infuses Thompson’s scripts. De Iulis is also pulling out some unique tricks to showcase the detective elements of the story in a really interesting fashion.
One of the great things about detective stories is they lend themselves to a tour of characters and places no matter where they are set. That’s especially interesting in the Marvel universe and the new series wastes no time in making the most of this advantage. “Blind Spot” features quite a few A-list superheroes along with plenty of cult favorites. It doesn’t hesitate to play with every facet of superpowers either, including magic. Jessica Jones is an ideal read for new and old readers alike as it introduces the immense array of possibilities for any story at Marvel.
The mystery in “Blind Spot” isn’t just an excuse to run through a version of New York City filled with superheroes; it’s a bona fide mystery that carefully builds towards a surprising conclusion. Jessica Jones' superpowers aren’t unique, but her ability to go anywhere and observe the mundane clues amid the fantastic makes her story stand out. That’s a key strength of this new series and one that makes it a compulsive reading experience when assembled in a single volume.
One of the best elements in the strategy behind this new Jessica Jones series is that, when it hits physical bookshelves, the story is complete. While there’s still the thrill of cliffhangers and debating mysteries for readers who need a monthly fix on digital platforms, the actual story is designed to standalone in a graphic novel format that could be utilized in comic book stores and libraries alike. Even someone with limited knowledge of who Jessica Jones is could find themselves picking up the collected “Blind Spot” and enjoying an incredible combination of superhero and detective fiction.
While it would have been possible to stick a “The End” at the conclusion of “Blind Spot,” Thompson and De Iulis decided to provide one final cliffhanger instead. It’s clear this series has a bright future with the ability to tap into both existing comics readers and the book market, and there’s already a second volume planned to begin in early 2019. Readers can both enjoy this entire story and know that they will have access to a second dose very soon. That’s a real win-win scenario.