The Best Comics You’ve Never Heard Of: ALIAS

Before he was Mr. Marvel, Brian Michael Bendis was an independent writer. Creator of brilliant works such as “Torso,” “Goldfish,” and “Sam and Twitch.” He joined the Marvel stable and penned a little mature reader title called “Alias.”

Jessica Jones stars as a hard-drinking, tough-as-nails P.I. bitch. Oh, and she’s also a former super hero. Just don’t talk about it. She lives in the dark regions of the Marvel Universe, works for Daredevil, is best friends with Ms. Marvel, and is friends-with-benefits with Luke Cage. She really doesn’t care either. Her life is all about surviving and getting drunk. Until the first case we view. She gets hired to spy on a cheating husband. Who happens to be Captain America. The case ends up being a lot bigger than she thought it would be and sets the series in motion to be one of the best comics in the past 10 years. The series ran 28 issues and each issue is better than the last. Some truly phenomenal cases and works are used but the most engaging aspect is learning who Jessica Jones is. We watch her fall, get back up, and grow. She’s not a good person; she’s definitely not a bad person. She’s just an ordinary person. An ordinary person with super-powers.

Bendis’ strong suit has always been writing characters. He knows how they interact and can make a boring conversation interesting. Jessica Jones is the most real character I’ve ever read in comics. There is something so raw and true about her. You root for her and want her to do smart things. She doesn’t, though. She makes many mistakes and we get to watch. During which, she faces hard cases, and the skeletons from her past rear their ugly heads. We eventually learn ‘the Secret Origin of Jessica Jones’ and it’s a poignant and disturbing look at this normal woman’s extra-ordinary life.

These days Jessica is a major part of the Marvel Universe. After “Alias” ended she moved on to a title called “The Pulse” and eventually “New Avengers.” No spoilers here, but after reading “Alias” you’ll want to follow her everywhere. This minor character, B-list at best, is one of my all time favorites. She’ll become one of yours too. Oh and next year, watch for her own TV show on ABC, “A.K.A Jessica Jones.” (Since ABC already had a show called “Alias”) This pseudo-noir, character driven, super hero title should be read and devoured. You’ll be glad you gave this hidden title it’s due.

“Alias” is collected for Marvel MAX in two volumes.

Jo Schmidt