And here we have a Marvel 101 for the fourth member of the Defenders, Jessica Jones. Unlike the other members of the team, Jessica Jones was created in 2001 by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. She was written in such a way to establish a longer history, meeting her when she is a private detective already screwed up by Kilgrave (the Purple Man), as we see her in the TV series.
Born Jessica Campbell, she goes to high school with Peter Parker, and her dad works for Tony Stark. After a car accident involving a military truck transporting radioactive chemicals, Jessica falls into a coma and becomes an orphan. After waking, she would be adopted by the Jones family. Exposure to the radiation gave her strength, invulnerability, and flight. She would be inspired by Spider-Man to become the costumed hero Jewel. A whole backstory is written that retcons her into the Marvel Universe.
All of this was done for the Alias comic series, which ran for 28 episodes, but Bendis was originally planning all of this with a different Jessica: Jessica Drew, AKA Spider-Woman. You can see a lot of similar elements between the characters besides just the first name. Bendis says that as he was developing the series, the character’s voice became something very different from Jessica Drew’s, so he created the new character instead.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones stays pretty true to the Alias comic series, giving us a Jessica (Krysten Ritter) who has all of the attitude and guilt of the comic character. She is the most modern member of Marvel’s The Defenders, and maybe the easiest to sell to non-comic readers. They started hinting at her origins in the first season, but we can expect more in Season 2, which is filming now. A recently released photo shows Ritter standing with David Tennant, telling us that Kilgrave will be back in some form.
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