Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Michael Gaydos / Marvel Comics
As this second arc of Jessica Jones finds its footing, it shows promise for being better than the first. A low bar, to be fair, as issues #1-7 failed to capture readers, but nonetheless a commitment to this series rewards with quippy dialogue, great artwork, and, yet again, a promise to take this story in an interesting direction. This time, the opportunity lies in Jessica Jones’ trust – or distrust, rather – in Maria Hill, the former S.H.I.E.L.D spy who shows up shot and bloodied on Jessica’s bathroom floor. Hill is known to be one of the best and most manipulative spies on the planet, which begs the question from both Jessica and readers: do you trust her?
Jessica’s internal dialogue raises every red flag possible to explain to herself, and you, why Maria Hill is never to be trusted. Maria, high on pain killers, is still intuitive enough to acknowledge that it’s hard to trust her, and that Jessica is not likely to do so, but asks for her help regardless. She also explains that mistrust in S.H.I.E.L.D – and her, by association – has been programmed into everyone’s subconscious through algorithm-based media programming by the government to give citizens an outlet for their conspiracies, hatred, and fear. Every word from Maria Hill’s mouth begs the question of whether to believe her or not, which makes for a fun read as you look for clues in either direction, weighing your skepticism with any compassion you might have for someone begging for your help. The two things weighing heaviest in Hill’s favor? For one, she’s high as a kite, if you choose to believe that compromises her ability to effectively manipulate; and second, she tosses a big stack of money to pay for your services.
As is the strength of Jessica Jones, the one-on-one dialogue between its characters carries the issue, a little mystery mixed with a little comedy and a lot of wit.
Overall, “The Secrets of Maria Hill” is a strong start to a new arc worth your time. It places readers in the “what would you do if you found yourself in the world of espionage,” which can go in many directions depending on the spies involved. Is Maria Hill like Mission: Impossible’s Ethan Hunt, the type who is consistently innocent every time but frequently framed? Or 24’s Jack Bauer, the type who has been put in impossible situations as she says, forced to do bad things for good reasons and deserves credit for countless times saving the world? Or is she really a villain trying to manipulate you to hurt her enemies or save herself from a fate she well deserves? Enjoy the ride as you look for evidence to support your guesses.
Reading Jessica Jones? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.