Even before David Tennant crafted the vile Zebediah Killgrave into one of the most memorable villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jessica Jones’ life was wholly corrupted by the Purple Man. The through line of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ excellent Alias is the devastating will-sapping control the Purple Man arrests from Jessica.
Previously: Marvel Legacy #1
We learn in Alias that before her hard-drinking PI days, Jessica tried to use her powers as the costumed Jewel, only to be made into the Purple Man’s plaything. There are many stories in Alias, but the big picture narrative is Jessica overcoming Killgrave and finally breaking free of his ownership of her life.
For years since Alias, Jessica has remained largely in the clear from Killgrave, as the supervillain has entered various states of SHIELD incarceration. The haunting reality of a villain like Killgrave, though, is his presence never really fades.
Bendis and Gaydos highlight the disturbing threat of Killgrave effectively in an opening series of splash pages. Jessica details the threat of the Purple Man, explaining to her good friend Carol Danvers that the Purple Man could take over anyone around them, at any moment, and you’d never even know. Gaydos’ emphasizes this point with an expanding view of familiar faces, growing in number and scale with each additional page. The implication is clear: When you’re Jessica Jones, you see the Purple Man everywhere.
That’s where we begin Jessica Jones #13, the opening chapter of Jessica’s entrance into Marvel Legacy, with the Purple Man on the loose.
Marvel Legacy promises to connect the Marvel Universe to its long and storied roots, and unfortunately for Jessica Jones that does mean the return of the Purple Man. What stands out in Jessica Jones #13 is how far Jessica has come since dealing with the Purple Man back in Alias.
Jessica is now a mother, carrying her son to safety at the first warning that Purple Man is free. At this point in her life, Jessica also has clear relationships with the Avengers, Defenders, and a committed romantic relationship with Luke Cage. Alias found Jessica still reeling from the invasion of her life and in many ways handling it on her own. Jessica Jones #13 highlights how far she’s come.
The question, of course, is even with the stakes raised will that be enough to keep the Purple Man out of her life.
Since Jessica Jones has only been a part of the Marvel Universe since the 2000’s, Bendis and Gaydos don’t have to wade through nearly as much continuity (Carol Danver’s rightful distrust of babies aside) to set the stage for new readers. Likewise, the Netflix Marvel Jessica Jones series has made Killgrave a clear part of her story on a larger cultural level.
The end result is a Marvel Legacy issue that very much feels like it’s achieving the goal of the rebrand.
ESSENTIAL COMICS READING
In order to better understand the backstories outlined above, I recommend the following Marvel reads!
Daredevil Vol. 2: West-Case Scenario (Last time I remember seeing Purple Man!)