Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Michael Gaydos, Javier Pulido / Marvel Comics
The good news is that Jessica Jones #11 is one of the better issues of this series due to its plot progression mixed with its usual wit that makes this character so adored. That, as well as a clever trick in the story that risks being an off-putting gimmick but works out well – but more on that later. The bad news is that this is what is “good” for Jessica Jones, which, by now, is a lower standard than what we expected when we began this series. It has shown its stripes and the stakes at which her stories will be told, and if they do not change, this is where we are. I still hope for more though, perhaps naively. Jessica Jones can be a grounded, slow burn while still offering a higher risk to our protagonist than falling more down on her luck. The “can’t catch a break” angle based on decisions whether to get involved with someone else’s muck has its limits until those stories – and the inevitable negative consequences – become Eeyore saying his tail fell off again.
In issue #11 though we learn more about Maria Hill courtesy of Jessica’s investigation and a run-in with Maria’s dad. The exposition around that discovery is shown as a break from Michael Gaydos’ artwork and turns to a separate story altogether, a quick Maria Hill one-shot inside our story, drawn by Javier Pulido. An art change mid-book can always be jarring and throw readers off a bit, but this one fits, and as Maria looks inside a casefile and transports us into this secret backstory it feels more natural than forced. And when we come out on the other end, things get real.
Jessica Jones #11 is funny, maintains its trademark high-quality dialogue, and moves us forward. Still, it lives within a series that cannot seem to find its footing, and its recipe of one part wit with two parts water cannot work effectively. The added twist, while welcome, cannot save from the feeling this series is not going anywhere beyond Jessica being the superhero version of Grumpy Cat, and that will continue to be a shame until this series finds a worthy story for a worthy character.
Reading Jessica Jones? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.