REVIEW: Jessica Jones #3 – “Out, Spot”

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JESSICA JONES #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Michael Gaydos
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 12/14/16

While investigating the case of a woman whose husband believed himself to be from another universe, Jessica Jones learns that her client has been murdered.

Plot: Jessica wakes up disoriented in a strange location, seeing visions of her grown-up daughter rescuing her. The reality, however, is that she’s being held captive by the so-called Spot who assaults her through holes in the air from his shrouded location. But as it turns out, Spot may not be the real threat she has to worry about. A mysterious woman was the benefactor who released her from prison, but what does she want from Jessica now?

 

Story: ‘Alison’ is the name of Jessica’s captor, which doesn’t tell her or us much. But that is no detraction from the story this issue, because the why is much more important than the who. Up to this point, neither Luke nor the readers are aware of just why Jessica has distanced herself from him or why she is keeping their child hidden. A reasonable assumption is that she wants to keep both Luke and Danielle safe, but there are very few hints as to what they’re being kept safe from. Similarly, there is no context for who Alison or Spot are, but she gives a reasonable explanation of what she wants.

On the other side of the divide, there is Luke Cage. He and Jessica are currently estranged beyond imagining, but the latest issue adds a few more layers to their dynamic despite their lack of interaction. Luke is angry at Jessica and suspicious of all her motivations, and yet he is quick to assert her innocence when it comes to homicide. Whatever his wife did to land her in jail, he doesn’t believe her capable of murder and he will still defend her when necessary. Meanwhile, Alison believes Jessica hates her husband and goes on at length describing how disgusting powers make people while Jessica keeps silent. Once again, the reader is left to decipher what Jessica might be feeling… And whether or not she herself even knows.

It’s certainly a different experience to at once be forced to see the story through Jessica’s point of view while also knowing that there are facts she is keeping hidden. As a protagonist, Jessica Jones remains as much of a mystery as the one she’s currently trying to solve. Under other circumstances this would mean she in under-written, but Bendis is banking on previous knowledge of her to help add to the tension and make readers active participants in the web being spun. For me, it works.

Art: Jessica Jones artist Michael Gaydos continues his minimalist approach, focusing on the characters themselves and allowing readers to fill in the surrounding blanks for themselves. For example, his fellow artist Matt Hollingsworth is the one who differentiates between the dream and the reality simply though the use of different colors.

The thick lines that box Jessica in at every turn continue to feel like a prison that’s keeping her trapped in her own mind now that she’s no longer in jail, and the art team has done an excellent job of capturing her emotions even in panels without any dialogue. In a way, the background is as empty as the heroine feels, which is a statement of its own. That statement is further explored when Luke appears, because more detail comes right along with him. However, claustrophobic close-ups give the impression that he is just as trapped as Jessica – and will be until he uncovers the truth and gets his family back.

Verdict: Jessica Jones #3 deepens the mystery surrounding the series. Despite not making much forward movement on the case she was meant to investigate, the issue dives deep into her psyche and uses other characters to draw more out of her. Whatever the resolution to this arc ends up being, it has succeeded already as a study of who Jessica is and who she wants to be.

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