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The Amazon Book Review
Introducing The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
Alias follows the life of Jessica Jones, private investigator. Jessica Jones is a mutant, and is considered in some circles to be a super-hero, although that description doesn't fit her very well. This part of Alias doesn't clearly say what Jessica's powers are, in the beginning we learn that she has a mean left hook and later on she breaks a shotglass in her hand with no cuts after. As the story progresses more of her history and her powers are revealed, and there are a lot of cameos from more famous Marvel heroes. The appearances of other heroes is pretty neat for readers who are familiar with the Marvel universe, but it doesn't prohibit people who haven't read from starting. There's a little of everything in Alias, Jessica takes a normal case which leads her to a large governmental conspiracy which provides action and also shows Jessica at work as a detective. The major story arc aside, I found that the heart of Alias is Jessica's endearing personality, I think that people will see their own traits in her life. It's somewhat pricey compared to other graphic novels, but it's also pretty long by graphic novel standards, and I think that it's a smart buy. Alias has the "MAX" rating which is comparable to a R rated movie. I didn't find it to be offensive, there's a lot of profanity though. Not related to the television show "Alias".
This book is for a VERY specific demographic: people who grew up reading Marvel comics who are now adults rediscovering the world of comics. This is the Marvel Universe from an adult point of view. You've still got Captain America, the Avengers, Daredevil, your old Marvel favorites here, but they're filtered through an adult's eyes. The first word of the book is "F---!"
The protagonist, private investigator Jessica Jones, is complex, not totally likeable, like a real person. She has super powers but chooses not to use them (more is revealed about her background in the later books).
I'm not a "Bendis can do no wrong" kind of guy. A lot of his stuff is fluff written to please young fans and sell books. Not this time. This is a character piece, a huge risk in the comic biz. This might explain its short run.
The artwork is dark and moody, a refreshing change from the typically glammed out super-hero books. The art fits the character perfectly.
All four Alias books are totally engaging from start to finish. If you only buy one graphic novel, GET THIS!
There are rumors that this series will come back. I hope so!
Jessica Jones is currently in "The Pulse," a comic where she works for the Daily Bugle. It's an "ensemble cast" kind of book so she's not really in it that much. If you really want more of her story, Pulse is worth picking up. But get the other three Alias books first!
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The great Brian Michael Bendis has done it again. With Marvel's first title to warrant the "MAX" title (intense violence and language), Alias shows Bendis at his best. His penchant for dialog and unconventional storytelling is so proudly displayed in this first collection of the series that it is easy to see why he is one of the most revered writers in comics. Alias tells the story of former Avenger Jessica Jones, who has since quit being a superhero and has opened her own private detective agency called Alias Investigations. Even though she still has superpowers and Alias takes place in the underbelly of the Marvel Universe, Bendis manages to make Jessica seem like a real life everyday person. She is obsessive, self destructive, and usually looking to do the right thing. In this first collected volume, she has a one night stand with Luke Cage, becomes entangled in a conspiracy involving Captain America's secret identity, and meets Matt Murdock. Michael Gaydos' art is a gritty almost Frank Miller-esque style that suits Alias well, even though it may take some getting used to. All in all, this is superb comics storytelling that one could only expect from Bendis.
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Some of you old-schoolers might recall a superheroine named Jewel from back in the day, who had several adventures alongside the Avengers among others. And you WOULD BE WRONG. Jewel is an original creation for Bendis' now-defunct series "Alias" (not in any way affiliated with the acclaimed Jennifer Garner spy series on TV). She was retconned into the Marvel Universe and so she's "always been there", but as an exceptionally minor metahuman with relatively unremarkable powers, of course she never stood out.
In his ongoing "Powers" title elsewhere, Bendis has been telling the story of superhero cops. Now he brings us the superhero private detective. Jessican Jones, the former Jewel, is a one-woman agency, taking on cases ranging from the pedestrian (tailing people at the behest of suspicious spouses, searching for missing persons) to the extraordinary (touching upon the private lives of fellow superbeings and high-level government machinations). She's no World's Finest Detective or even an Oracle; she gets things done the old-fashioned way (mainly through Internet searches). She rarely has to call upon her greater-than-normal abilities, but they can come in handy.
Since this is a so-called "mature" title, there's a lot of swearing going on (partially just for the shock value to show that "Ooh, Marvel Comics is all growed up now!"). And Jessica Jones is no perfect angel. She smokes, she drinks heavily, she has one-night stands, she quarrels with her friends, she messes up. Her superheroine heritage is a mixed blessing, because it just draws the ire and scorn of the cops, while she was such a small fry in the metahuman community that she has few reliable contacts who will so much as give her the time of day.Read more ›
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