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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 75

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at the initial story arc from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ Alias…

Enjoy!

With the news that Jessica Jones would be returning to the superhero game in New Avengers, I thought it’d be a fun idea to re-visit the early days of Jessica Jones in the pages of Alias.

When we first meet Jessica, she is accosted by a jerk of a client and she ends up throwing him through her door after he tries to hit her.

Thus we learn her background…

And soon after, we discover that she is in a dark, dark place in her life right now…

At the end of issue #1, after Jessica is hired to find the sister of a woman, she tapes the sister with a man, who turns out to be, well, someone that Jessica did not expect…

Jessica is then thrown into a whole big mess of a conspiracy that goes all the way to the highest level of national politics, and it all revolves around the world of superheroing that Jessica left behind long ago.

The greatest thing about Alias is that Brian Michael Bendis did such a good job creating a multi-faceted character in Jessica that he basically can just throw her into different situations just to see how she will react.

It makes Alias a very interesting book to read, especially because she’s a likable enough character that you WANT to see her make the most out of her life.

Michael Gaydos handles the darkness of the tale quite well – he is a strong storyteller and the sequences in the book are top rate.

This first storyline is collected in the first Alias trade, along with the following story arc.

If you enjoyed Bendis’ earlier crime comics, then Alias is right up your alley as it has the same character-driven focus that his crime comics had. Very well crafted comics.

18 Comments

Never did get into Alias much and for me I think Gaydos’s art is a big part of it. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Man, I have got to find time to read this series sometime…

comicbookreader

March 16, 2010 at 10:48 am

Then, of course, the Powers That Be decreed that Jessica Jones must de-”MAX”-ify herself and join the MU proper, and as a result, we got the sh*t sandwich that was “The Pulse.”

I loved Alias. And Bendis did an admirable job of retconning Jessica’s character into existence in the MU (much better than anyone’s done with the Sentry). It’s a shame she couldn’t keep playing in the MAX sandbox because Jessica quickly became uninteresting as soon as she stopped being a private eye and started being a superhero/mom.

Alias was excellent, and it ended in a great spot.

One of the best series Marvel ever produced.

Alias was over before I ever heard it existed and the issues I’ve come across are a bit pricey for me. I’ve loved her in the Avengers, which is the first place I ever encountered her. I wish I knew more about her history.
Did she always smoke back then? Details like that make heroes more human. I wish they’d allow stuff like that more often.

I liked the idea of the first arc with the whole identity thing, but the ending was such a let down. I find that happens a lot with Bendis’ work. Same with the Rick Jones’ arc if I remember correctly. If the stories weren’t so drawn out and were cut down 1 or 2 issues shorter I don’t think it would bother me as much, but Bendis’ builds the story up so much that by the time he cuts it away, it ends with a small, tiny whimper.

I did like the Alias generally though, despite it being one of the forebringers of the new artistic tactic of using a panel multiple times per page. I think Jessica Jones was a great character, but she’s been neutered since the series ended. I’m not really looking forward to her returning as a superhero.

The last page of issue #1 is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever read in comics.

@Philip – The multiple use of a single instance of art across several panels was kind of a Bendis staple. He used it previously in Powers and in his earlier crime thrillers. By the time Alias came out, one kind of expected it.

A great pick, Brian. A few random observations:

1. Bendis: Bendis’ tenure at Marvel has been somewhat hit or miss, but ALIAS is the jewel in his crown.Jessica Jones might be the most “real” character in mainstream comics right now.

2. Sodomy: I am rather shocked that you chose to include those panels, Brian. For that matter, I am still shocked that Marvel printed those panels, even in the MAX line. Granted, it was somewhat oblique in presentation, but still…

3. Art: Gaydos’ art was a key feature in the success of the title. The doughy nature of his figues brought a strong sense of realism to the title.

4. Pace Cato: In conclusion, you must pick Strange Tales 130-144.

I just bought the second Ultimate Collection of the series not even an hour ago. Good stuff in all.

I dropped the book after the Rick Jones arc, but bought the Origin of Jessica Jones trade and really liked it. I went back and read the trade that came before it, and was amazed by how much better the book got in the second half of its run.

This is the comic I would most like to see made into a TV series.

Yeah, this and Daredevil are between them the pinnacle of Bendis’s Marvel work = and (IMO) it’s best to read them together as they cross over quite a bit.

I never got the big hate some people have for The Pulse. Admittedly it’s not as good as Alias but I still enjoyed it.

I’ve been meaning to pick this up but haven’t gotten around to it. The butt sex page was much more tasteful than I expected.

I like how, in Alias, she is depicted as Jewish and plain-looking. A real woman. Of course, now that she is going to be upgraded to superhero, we can expect her nose to straighten out all by itself and large lumps will grow on her chest.

I really don’t get what all the fuss about the sodomy scene is …

I love the hell out of this series. I wish so many more comics could be like this. Not exactly like this of course, but in this vein. I was reading the single issues originally when they came out but somewhere during the early-ish arcs I stopped buying comics (again), and so had to pick them up in trade years later.

Reading them in trade was so addicting…I felt wholly transported into Jessica’s life…and when it was over I was incredibly bummed out.

I never read the Pulse stuff…I just couldn’t bring myself to possibly have Jessica Jones not be as amazing as she was at the end of Alias. Too big a risk.

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