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Comicbook: Alias

Alias is a Comic Books series created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos, with covers by David Mack. It was published by Marvel Comics under Marvel's MAX imprint for a total of 28 issues from 2001 to 2004.

Years ago, Jessica Jones put on a shiny costume and became the superheroine Jewel. Then, for reasons that she's reluctant to explain, she quit. Now she works as a private detective to pay the bills. She's eager to forget the past, but somehow her cases keep leading her back to the community she left behind...

The series is known for its focus on Jessica's character development; layers of her past and personality are revealed to the reader as she tries to come to terms with them.

Upon the completion of Alias, several characters were moved to Brian Michael Bendis's subsequent series The Pulse. Jessica went on to appear in several other Marvel series, serving as a mentor to the Young Avengers and a love interest for Luke Cage before finally returning to crimefighting as a member of the New Avengers.

Tropes associated with this work:

  • Action Girl: Jessica
  • Alliterative Name: Jessica Jones
  • All Women Are Lustful: The relationship between Jessica and Luke starts when the drunk and depressed Jessica offers to let Luke, exact words, "do whatever he wants" with her. Which is heavily implied to be rough anal sex.
  • Art Shift: one of the most masterful examples. For the most part, the series has a realistic but gritty and heavily shadowed aesthetic. Flashbacks to Jessica's teenage years, however, which begin by showing her pining over Peter Parker, are drawn to resemble Spider-Man's introduction in Amazing Fantasy, including a slight yellowing of the white space between panels to evoke the feeling that the issue is aged. Jessica's flashbacks to her single mission as Jewel are drawn in a somewhat cartoony, bright and colorful late nineties style, including the standard yellow information boxes (which were eschewed from the series in favor of atmosphere) and Stan Lee-inspired title graphic. And while being telepathically visited by Jean Grey while comatose, Jessica explains that the manga-esque atmosphere in her mind is probably because the most recent movie she saw was AKIRA.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Teenage Jessica in issue #22. Quite possibly the first time a character in a Marvel series was shown doing that.
  • The Alcoholic: Before meeting Luke Cage not to mention getting pregnant, Jessica would often be found spending her personal time drinking hard liquor, bottles at a time.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jessica and Luke's relationship veers into this for a while before they finally get together for good and begin to fall in love.
  • Break the Cutie
  • The Cameo: Captain America, Daredevil, Spider-Man, etc...
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: In #22, a teenaged Jessica is shown lying in her bed and looking at a pin-up of Johnny Storm while slipping a hand into her panties. Just as her toes begin to curl, her little brother walks in and gets yelled at.
  • Compelling Voice: Sort of. The Purple Man's skin secretes chemical pheromones which, when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, allow him to control their actions by verbal suggestions. Including killing an entire diner full of people by asking them to stop breathing because they are too loud.
  • Counterpart Comparison: In-universe. Everyone Jessica talks to about her relationship with Ant Man assumes she is talking about Hank Pym. She frequently has to remind everyone around her that she is talking about Scott Lang.
  • Dark Age of Supernames: The Pulse revealed that after the incident with The Purple Man, but before she opened her detective agency, Jessica made an attempt at being a Nineties Anti-Hero, with a modicum of success. Unfortunately, she achieved all of this under the moniker "Knightress."
  • Darker and Edgier: Alias was the first series published by MAX, a Marvel imprint created specifically for "R-rated" comics. The very first line of the very first issue is "FUCK!"
  • Expy: A former superhero named Jessica who became a private detective? Isn't Bendis fond of another character like that? Actually, yes he is: Alias got its start as a pitch for a new series starring Jessica Drew, but Marvel wouldn't let Bendis use her. He quickly whipped up Jessica Jones as a replacement and the rest is history.
  • Film Noir: Dubbed "Comic Book Noir" by Jeph Loeb in the introduction to the first trade paperback.
  • First-Person Smartass
  • I Know What You Fear: Jessica's archenemy exhibits a variation of Type 2 in the fourth volume; he can tell Jessica that the most horrifying thing she can imagine is lying in bed next to her (which turns out to Scott's corpse covered by ants), but can't see what it is that she's screaming about.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Pulse, while still one of Marvel's more mature series, lacked the MAX rating and so was toned down from Alias.
  • Love Triangle: Jessica and Luke Cage have history, but Carol Danvers successfully sets her up with the more sensitive Scott Lang (a.k.a. Ant Man II). Things are even more complicated by her mild (albeit unrequited) interest in Matt Murdock.
  • Kid Sidekick: subverted. A teenage boy hangs out around the stoop of Jessica's office, and begs her to make him part of her life. He even bargains for a position as her secretary using information from a case. Jessica, knowing all too well what happens to young people who get caught up in the affairs of super-heroes (as well as desiring to be left alone), wants no part in it.
  • Made of Iron: As part of her backstory, Jessica as Jewel, under The Purple Man's influence, takes a hit in the face from The Vision. She does note that it broke her nose, knocked out a few teeth, and injured her neck.
  • Mind Rape: During one of Jessica's very first missions, she attempts to foil a robbery by The Purple Man, who has Compelling Voice-style powers. He orders her to thrash the police officers arriving at the scene, then traps her under his thumb for nearly a year. During that time, he never touches her (see Rape As Back Story below), but brings home a number of younger women and forces her to watch him have sex with them while he compels her to wish that she was in their position. Further, he tells her that she loves him. Even years later, after she escapes, she is haunted by the memory of it; she states that even though she knows, rationally, that she didn't love him, the nature of his powers means that she felt the emotions just as strongly as if they were real.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Lampshaded, mostly...although Jessica has a hard time dealing with the fact that, when she was under Purple Man's control and didn't contact anyone for months, not one person cared enough to report her as missing.
  • One Thing Led to Another: Jessica gets drunk in the bar Luke owns, Luke offers to call her a cab...and next thing, they're having rough sex at his place.
  • Pregnant Badass: While the later stages of the pregnancy (and birth) take place in spin-off series The Pulse, this definitely applies to the last few issues once Jessica realizes she's pregnant.
  • Pals with Jesus: Jessica's best friend is more mainstream Marvel heroine (and Physical God) Ms. Marvel.
  • Planet of Steves / One Steve Limit / Continuity Lockout: Like a lot of readers, Jessica is confused by the high number of Spider-Man's distaff counterparts. The one with whom she interacts the most is actually the Jessica Drew version of the character, which means that for the majority of a particular arc, fans were reading about two Jessicas teaming up.
  • Rape As Back Story: Averted, though several characters leap to that conclusion. Mind Rape as backstory though, for sure.
  • Really Gets Around: Not to an extreme degree, but given that Jessica finds out she's pregnaant with Luke's baby while she's with Scott, either she went right from Luke to Scott or she cheated on Scott with Luke.
  • Retcon: Jessica is a walking Retcon. She went to high school with Peter Parker and has been fighting crime almost as long as him, despite having only existed in the real world since 2001. Also, The Pulse expanded on the barely-mentioned idea that Jessica had a brief run as a Darker and Edgier Nineties Anti-Hero under the name Knightress, between her recovery from the Purple Man incident and opening Alias Investigations.
  • The Reveal
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Jessica isn't unattractive at all, but she's very much a 't-shirt and jeans girl' and rarely wears makeup. Justified, since part of a private investigator's job is not drawing attention to yourself.
  • Trigger Phrase: Variant; When Jean helped Jessica out of the fugue state she was stuck in after being freed from Purple Man's influence, she put a psychic 'trigger' in Jessica's mind that would allow her to resist his powers, but didn't tell her at the time. When Kilgrave laters breaks out of jail and puts Jessica under his control again, Jean telepathically contacts her and tells her about it. The instant Jessica learns this she beats the everloving shit out of him, and although reduced to tears afterward, finally begins to get over what he did to her.
  • Snark Knight: Jessica's life has been extremely tragic, but she deals with her issues through snark that would make inanimate objects feel insulted.
  • What If?: As part of her backstory, Jessica is beaten savagely by The Avengers after attacking them while under Mind Control; when they realize this, they offer her a position as the Avengers/S.H.I.E.L.D. liaison. She declines. A one-off What If? issue (included in the series omnibus) revealed what would have happened had she accepted: she is happy, not depressed; as an outsider in Avenger's Mansion, she spots the mental problem that Scarlet Witch has before she can cause the House of M debacle; she marries Steve Rogers. Notably, this story took place before she gave birth to her daughter, and she actually does eventually join the Avengers.
  • World of Snark: This is Brian Michael Bendis, after all.

Agents of AtlasMarvel Comics SeriesAnnihilation
Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating The DC UniverseTurnOfTheMillennium/Comic BooksJessica Jones

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