Jessica Jones is back in what may be her most interesting adventure yet. It’s perfect timing for a multiverse story and one that includes a character that’s probably right on the cusp of becoming a part of the MCU. Jessica Jones has always been unconventional and somewhat tragic, but throwing a multiverse spanning threat at her already complicated life and psyche is just genius. Variants #1, starring Jones, hit shelves last Wednesday, 6/29, written by star writer Gail Simone and illustrated by Phil Noto.
Who Is Jessica Jones?
Jessica Jones first appeared in Alias #1 in 2001 as a private detective. The story reveals her origins as Jewel, a one-time costumed hero and member of the Avengers. Aside from not having the superhero personality, Jessica faced some overpowering adversity that led to her quitting the hero business. This included being a mind controlled pawn of supervillain, The Purple Man for eight months. She now dons a black leather jacket and drinks too much as she handles small-time investigations.
The Variants starts with Jessica going about her business which begins with marrying Luke Cage. Jessica has some hang-ups, not necessarily with Luke but with herself and the whole situation. On top of that, her health is bothering her, and she’s experiencing fainting spells. She meets with Daredevil, who offers help and advice before requesting her help with a particular case he has connected to her former enemy Zebediah Killgrave, The Purple Man. Though Killgrave is supposed to be permanently out of the picture, Jessica is still reluctant to go anywhere near his name.
The story cruises on Jessica’s pain. You feel a certain weight and dread as she thinks about and interacts with others involved with Killgrave. She’s still the same gritty and brooding private detective, but her mind is clearly full of evident pain and doubt. Jessica agrees to help with the Killgrave case but quickly finds out the horror isn’t over yet. She is told through another of his victims that he will return for her tomorrow on the 10th anniversary of facing him.
Jessica panics but swiftly jumps into action, taking precautions, and starts working on this case that’s now personal. As the comic ends, Jessica encounters someone in her apartment. Her opponent is the last person she would expect to be fighting. Suddenly the private detective has more than she can handle piled up on her plate.
What’s At Stake?
The story is fascinating so far. We quickly are reintroduced to Jessica before being thrust into multiple mysteries. No one scares the nearly invulnerable hero like Killgrave, so he’s the best choice for a menace to bring her trouble while she’s otherwise preoccupied. Pile on some weird multiverse happenings, and now everything’s up in the air. The book is called “The Variants,” but where are they coming from and why?
The compounded emotional toll from dealing with other possibly happier or worse-off versions of herself plus being targeted by her greatest enemy will undoubtedly push the already on the edge hero to the brink. The action, mystery, and plenty of guest appearances are already guaranteed, but the story is the effect it all has on Jessica.
Gail Simone is great at bringing drama to a character, and Jessica’s mind and life are already rife with drama. This should be an iconic run for Jessica and Simone as it should dive into the depths of her darkness and put her strength to the test.
Pain Through Art
Phil Noto’s art on this title works very well. An unavoidable reality and sadness to it seem to say this is how Jessica views the world. You can easily grasp the characters’ emotions and read them on their faces. While his style may not work for everyone, I think it is an on-the-nose choice for this book which will exude feelings throughout.
Why Read The Variants?
This should be a natural and educational follow-up for fans of the Netflix series or Disney+ Loki fans. It will bring those two different worlds together to create a whole unique brew. Fans of mystery and the character’s comic history will enjoy following along as Jessica unravels this one in her own path-of-most-resistance style.
The Variants has only just begun, but its foundation is extremely promising. It’s a personal story on top of a multidimensional situation. The covers clearly give away the multiple Jessicas coming to the pages together, but how will they vibe together? I recommend The Variants to Marvel comic fans and Marvel live-action followers and give issue #1 5 out of 5 failed superheroes.