Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Michael Gaydos / Marvel Comics
Hands down, this is the best Jessica Jones has ever been. Bringing Killgrave back to Jessica Jones is playing the best card the series has, and the result is as good as we could have wanted. Jessica’s fear is palpable, and the intensity of her emotion and post-traumatic stress bleeds through the panels through speaking with Carol Danvers, pleading for her help. Shit is real out here, and this is the most invested I have been in this series since it began. The trump card is played and, at least to this point, the trump card wins. “The Return of the Purple Man” is a damn thrilling book.
In Jessica Jones #13 Bendis also begins a challenging angle in writing Killgrave, which is to make him sympathetic. He stands out in public, openly mutant with purple skin, suffering the murmurs and whispers of passers-by wherever he goes. If you had the power to stop unwanted attention and harassment, wouldn’t you? Of course, most of us would not manipulate countless people for our own comfort, entertainment, and self-fulfillment – or would we? The fact that most of us would reject the likelihood of us all being so evil will make it difficult to humanize Killgrave, and understandably so. Still, it seems Bendis is going for it, and at the same time making the tone of this arc like that of a horror or thriller. Killgrave is like Pennywise or your most feared monster: when will he appear? It could be anywhere, at any time. When will he fucking appear?
Overall, again, this is as good as Jessica Jones has been. The return of Killgrave makes for high stakes – a feature this series has long been missing – and a thrilling sense of fear and anticipation. If you followed Jessica Jones’ Netflix series or have been pushing through this series for the past few arcs, this is the Jessica Jones story you’ve been waiting for. This is when we lean in.
Reading Jessica Jones? Find BNP’s other coverage of the character here.