JESSICA JONES #7
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Michael Gaydos
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Release Date: 4/5/17
Jessica Jones may have saved the Champions, but can she save her own marriage after betraying Luke Cage? Find out in Jessica Jones #7.
Plot: After helping save the Champions from an attempted assassination plot, Jessica Jones seeks out her estranged husband Luke Cage in an attempt to make amends and get her family back. Just when Jessica thinks she is done with S.H.I.E.L.D., she gets an unexpected visitor.
Story: With the end of the last arc, Jessica Jones #7 serves as a chance for Brian Michael Bendis to take a step back and refocus on Jessica Jones instead of all the crazy subplots going on around her. This issue does a great job of reminding us of Jessica’s humanity.
Practically begging Danny Rand to find her husband and daughter, we’re reminded that despite her powers Jessica Jones is still an underdog character. To quote Danny Rand, she is a “beautiful soul wrapped in a hot mess,” and Bendis focuses heavily on that in this issue. Not only do we see the tension between her and Luke, but the internal tension she has about whether making the right decision was worth the costs. Although she says she did the right thing, Bendis leaves enough subtext to hint at her doubts and insecurities.
While I appreciated the time spent looking at Luke and Jessica’s relationship, it comes at the expense of moving the plot forward. It also still remains ambiguous whether Luke forgives Jessica at the end of the issue, leaving this aspect unresolved. Forcing Jessica into a new case so quickly feels like a cheap way to continue the plot without really addressing the repercussions of Jessica’s work with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Art: Michael Gaydos does an excellent job of capturing Jessica’s range of emotions in this issue, starting with her anger at the man harassing a woman on the street to her own looks of pain and helplessness when she confronts Luke Cage. For an issue focused on her emotional journey, it was important to capture all of these in the art.
Matt Hollingsworth allows for a subtle shift in coloring, making it brighter and lighter when she’s around her daughter, reminding you that in all the darkness of Jessica’s life there is one bright spot. Seeing Jessica cuddled up with her family offers the reader a temporary reprieve from the normal gloom and doom of this series.
The best scene of the issue shows Luke physically and metaphorically shutting Jessica out again. This imagery is so telling of not only their relationship but how isolated Jessica feels from all her friends after giving up everything for S.H.I.E.L.D. only to be unsure about the secrets they are keeping. Bendis makes great use of a completely black panel for a strong emotional punch.
Verdict: Compared to previous issues, this installment was incredibly slow action wise. However, it was rich in character development and emotion. Jessica Jones isn’t a hero, she’s a private investigator with a lot of issues and this series does a great job of capturing both of those things. This series is strongest when it focuses on Jessica as a person, and has had some trouble coming up with a compelling case for her to solve. Hopefully this new case with Maria Hill does that and also answers some questions left over from the last narrative arc.