Okay, I’m going to keep this quick as my day job schedule is a bit hectic; i.e. someone put in for vacation time and I’m too nice to deny a break to someone who works two jobs.
So, I just got to watch the first episode of Jessica Jones last night and I’m kind of shocked at the turn Marvel decided to take with their cinematic universe. Given how even the heavy stuff in their movies has been treated with some levity, I never expected them to take on some of the darker elements of their comics.
Let me sum up the first episode for those who have yet to see it. The story follows the titular Jessica Jones, a metahuman that fans of the comics will recognize (get used to that phrase whenever I talk about the MCU) as the superheroine Jewel. In the story, Jones has abandoned her vigilante life to become a private investigator (yes, comic fans. WE know why she left, but the others don’t. Don’t ruin it for everyone else).
As she works on a missing persons case, she discovers that the kidnapper is recreating moments from her past using the girl he took. We see brief flashes of this creep that fans of the comics will recognize (see what I mean?) as Zebediah Kilgrave; a.k.a., The Purple Man, who has the power to emit a mind-altering pheromone that makes others easily manipulable. Think rule 63 Poison Ivy with WAY more sleaze.
And by more sleaze, I mean that it’s heavily implied – in comics and the show – that Kilgrave has used these powers for everything up to and including rape.
It’s a good thing that this is a Netflix original series, because no cable station or movie studio would sign off on a story like this. And that’s actually unfortunate because, as painful and disturbing of a topic as rape is, it’s one that doesn’t get talked about enough in media. I applaud Marvel for taking this bold step and look forward to seeing how they handle it later on.
So, what does this mean for the MCU? Well, in terms of universe building, Jessica Jones follows the tone set by Daredevil as setting the stage for the ‘street level’ heroes like the title characters and Jessica’s love interest, Luke Cage.
Speaking of Cage, this means we may be getting a new Captain America sooner than expected. Currently, in the comic universe, the mantle of the first Avenger was passed down to the hero formerly known as The Falcon. However, the series Avengers: Ultron Forever, which takes place in the distant future, reveals that Luke and Jessica’s daughter, Danielle Cage, takes the title of Captain America.
But, more importantly, this show serves as way of toeing the waters of more serious subject matter. Should Jessica Jones be successful, it may not be long before we see stories like Tony Stark’s struggle with alcoholism.
It’s starting to get creepy how Marvel seems incapable of not making me interested in what they’ll do next.