Comicbook: The Pulse

The Pulse is a fourteen-issue (April, 2004 - May, 2006) Marvel comic series by Brian Michael Bendis and several artists that continues the story of Jessica Jones from Alias. A short time after she told Luke Cage that she is pregnant with their child, Jessica is asked to talk with notorious anti-vigilante media hawk J. Jonah Jameson. Turns out the Daily Bugle isn't doing so hot and Jonah, even though he doesn't like the idea, is willing to give expanded coverage to the "superheroes" if it will save the paper he loves. To that end, he wants to hire Jessica as a "vigilante analyst", someone who can give insight into the goings-on of the superhuman activities that "The Pulse", as the new section will be called, is going to focus on.

Her first day on the job, however, is complicated by the murder of a new Bugle staffer at the hands of an unknown superhuman, and it doesn't really get any easier from there. The series primarily follows Jessica and Luke through the pregnancy, and also deals with the aftermath of the Nick Fury-led "Secret War". Like Alias, it focuses more on character development and storytelling than fights or action sequences, though it has several of those.


Tropes featured in this series:

  • Anachronic Order: A couple of issues involve heavy use of flashbacks to frame the story.
  • Badass: Luke. Someone who spends most of his time taking out non-superhuman crooks like drug dealers doesn't hesitate to go after the Green Goblin when he threatens someone Luke cares about.
  • Badass Boast: Luke gets one when he goes after Norman Osborn.
    Luke: Come on out, Osborn!! You do not mess with Luke Cage's family!! Come on out!!
  • Berserk Button: If you try to hurt Jessica, Luke Cage will make certain you regret it.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A S.H.I.E.L.D. strike team led by Jessica's ex-boyfriend Clay Quartermain rescues her from a group of Hydra agents.
  • Blatant Lies: Norman Osborn's lawyer tries to pin the near-death of an entire group of NYPD officers and civilians on Spider-Man.
  • Break the Cutie: When Jessica thinks she's lost the baby after getting caught in an explosion, she's first enraged, then reduced to tears.
  • Bribe Backfire: A Hydra agent tries to buy Jessica off. It doesn't work.
    Jessica: This is a really big brick.
    Agent: Yes.
    Jessica: Then how am I going to shove it up your ass?
  • Broken Masquerade: Norman Osborn is finally revealed as the Green Goblin, in front of what seems like news crews from every newspaper and TV station in the city.
  • The Cameo: Spider-Man, Green Goblin, Nick Fury and Wolverine, among others.
  • Express Delivery: But not to an extreme degree. Jessica's enhanced genetics mean that she ends up delivering a healthy, full-term baby at only six months.
  • Eye Colour Change: Norman's brown eyes changing to his Goblin-green eyes is what first makes Kidder realize something is very wrong.
  • Holding the Floor: Luke's proposal of marriage — and his reasons for it — covers five pages.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: Issue #6 starts off with this.
  • Imagine Spot: Ben, Jessica and Kat try to think of who could have dropped Kidder into the bay. This ranges from the highly unlikely(Iron Man, Hulk) to the probably not(Vulture) to the downright ludicrous(Stilt-Man).
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: When Janet Van Dyne is trying to design Luke's new outfit, most of them make his old yellow silk shirt look like an Armani suit.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Jessica and Luke have a minor argument — really more like a discussion — about her working for the Bugle, but the pregnancy throwing her hormones out of whack causes this.
  • Instant Birth, Just Add Water: Played with. When Jessica's water breaks, Carol is the one who panics and races her to a hospital, but it's implied to be at least a couple of hours before she delivers.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Well, holding onto more like, but Luke manages to contain the blast of a Goblin pumpkin-bomb with the only damage being to his clothing.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Pulse still has some serious moments (Jessica thinking she's miscarried, Luke's near-fatal wounding), but in general it's quite a bit less dark than Alias was.
  • Logical Weakness: Luke has unbreakable skin. This is good in a fight, not so good when he has internal injuries that can't be surgically repaired because of it.
  • Made of Iron: Comes up when Jessica is being examined after getting blasted by one of the Green Goblin's pumpkin-bombs and getting smashed in the back by his glider. Apparently her internal organs(including her uterus) are also superhumanly durable.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: When proposing, Luke brings up this as just one reason why their relationship will attract attention.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Danny accuses Jessica of this after Luke is nearly killed because of the Secret War. Misty Knight quickly calls him out on it.
  • Missing Mom: Inverted; after never showing up in Alias(with the exception of a flashback), Jessica's adoptive mother finally shows up, first on the phone, and then at Jessica and Luke's wedding.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Although it took place in the Secret War event, this is where the consequences of Nick Fury's actions really began to come home, ending with him having to go on the run from the organization he used to lead.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The adminstrator of the hospital Jessica is taken to when she goes into labor blows a gasket when she finds out Jessica's there and demands that she be removed from the building despite being in active labor.
  • Pals with Jesus: Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich, who is about as normal as you can get, is on a real-identity basis with both Daredevil and Spider-Man.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Luke gets slapped a variant of this when Jessica goes into labor while he's on the other side of town.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: While Jessica's out of the room calling Ben Urich after she and Luke are attacked by Lucia Von Bardas, Danny Rand sneaks Luke out of the hospital. Unfortunately, he doesn't tell Jessica he was going to do this.
  • Pregnant Badass: Jessica snaps and goes after the Green Goblin when she thinks he's caused her to have a miscarriage.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: Norman Osborn strangles and dumps a reporter who is investigating two deaths. This quickly leads to him being publicly revealed as the Green Goblin.
  • Screaming Birth: Fully invoked. Jessica screams so loud that the reporters gathered outside Dr. Strange's house can hear her.
  • Sinister Silhouette: When Lucia attacks Luke, all Jessica sees is her standing in front of the setting sun.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Norman Osborn and Nick Fury both.
  • So Crazy It Must Be True: When Ben is trying to convince Jonah of the reality behind the attempt on Luke's life and Nick Fury being on the outs with S.H.I.E.L.D., Jonah believes him as soon as the pieces fall into place.
  • Symbol Swearing: While Alias was a MAX imprint (meaning strong language was okay), The Pulse was not, and Bendis had to tone down the at-times foul-mouthed Jessica's dialogue accordingly.
  • Take That: Terri Kidder, aside being a Lois Lane lookalike, also derives her name from Teri Hatcher (who played Lois in Lois and Clark) and Margot Kidder (who played Lois in Superman: The Movie and sequels).
  • What If the Baby Is Like Me?: Carol Danvers sets up a lunch date Q & A for Jessica with Sue Storm to assuage any concerns about the baby being "normal". Then it turns out this was the one thing Jessica hadn't thought of.
  • Where Da White Women At?: In a twist, Jessica gets lambasted for her and Luke's relationship by a black nurse.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Bugle reporter Terri Kidder uses a smokescreen about profiling Norman Osborn to get an interview with him and ask him about the disappearances of OsCorp personnel. Suffice to say this doesn't end well for her.