Who is Jessica Jones, The Token Female Defender?

Spoilers – Jessica Jones – Season 1

Jessica: “My greatest weakness? Occasionally, I give a damn.”

– Jessica Jones, “A.K.A. Crush Syndrome” (Season 1, Episode 2)

An unscrupulous businessman is about to leave his building when he hears papers rustle. He looks around and notices a light moving in his office. He peeks into the office and sees a woman rifling his files, including some papers detailing some of his more questionable dealings.

The man decides this broad has seen too much and picks up a fire extinguisher. The woman hears something behind her and catches the extinguisher flying at her. She tosses it away as the man grabs a gun from his desk. Before he can pull the trigger, the woman wrenches the gun from his hand and crushes it. Jessica Jones knocks out the businessman and leaves with the evidence.

Jessica Jones is one of Marvel’s best female leads. She’s been a detective, an Avenger, and married fellow Avenger Luke Cage. So who is she? How did she become a superhero? And why did she quit? 

The Purple Man: Jessica Jones’ Backstory

Kilgrave: “What part of staying in five-star hotels, eating in all the best places, doing whatever the hell you wanted, is rape?”

Jessica: “The part where I didn’t want to do any of it! Not only did you physically rape me, but you violated every cell in my body and every thought in my goddamn head.”

– Jessica Jones, “A.K.A. WWJD” (Season 1, Episode 8)

 Jessica was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos and first appeared in Alias #1 in 2001. Alias was originally supposed to feature Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman, but the writers felt a new character would give them more freedom to tell a twisted story.

Jessica Jones had an ordinary childhood until her family’s car collided with a truck carrying radioactive chemicals. A comatose Jessica was the only survivor. Not surprisingly, the chemicals gave her superpowers because this is a Marvel story. For comparisons, see Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and if you venture outside Marvel, four charming turtles.

Jessica eventually awakened and realized she had superpowers. After watching Spider-Man fight a villain, she decided to call herself Jewel and fight crime too. Hers was a pretty basic story until she encountered Kilgrave, a mind-controlling psychopath.

Kilgrave controlled Jessica with his powers, making her his plaything and henchwoman. He eventually sent her to assassinate Daredevil and the Avengers. The heroes managed to break Kilgrave’s control and Jessica, suffering from PTSD, retired from superheroics.

Alias Investigations: Jessica Jones’ History

Trish: “[Kilgrave] isn’t here now.”

Jessica: [points to her head.] “Yeah, well, he’s always here.”

– Jessica Jones “A.K.A.99 Friends” (Season 1 Episode 4)

Jessica Jones started a detective agency called Alias Investigations that dealt with superhero clients. One of Jessica’s cases led her to work with Luke Cage, who helped her work through her PTSD. The pair worked together on several cases and fell in love.

Kilgrave eventually sought out Jessica because he was obsessed with the only woman who had ever escaped him. He attempted to control her again, but failed because Jessica had learned to shield her mind. Jessica beat Kilgrave to death when she realized that he could no longer control her.

Following his death, Jessica began using her powers again and became an Avenger. She remained on the front lines until she and Luke married and had a child. Jessica still works with superheroes in a limited role. 

Dour Detective: Jessica Jones’ Powers and Personality

Jessica: “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere and I need to update my resume. Would you put “day drinking” under experience or special abilities?”

– Jessica Jones, “A.K.A. The Sandwich Saved Me” (Season 1, Episode 5)

Jessica Jones is a Flying Brick. She has superhuman strength, durability, and flight. She is strong enough to stop a car or knock out a supervillain, but she won’t be arm wrestling The Hulk anytime soon. After escaping Kilgrave’s control, Jessica studied with Phoenix (of X-Men fame) to develop mental shields so he couldn’t control her again.

Jessica was an ordinary superhero before Kilgrave mind-raped her. The experience left her bitter, jaded, and suffering from PTSD. She moved past the trauma with Luke’s help and found closure in Kilgrave’s murder.

The Actors who played Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones was a recent character with little onscreen presence. That changed with the eponymous Netflix show starring Breaking Bad alum Krysten Ritter. Elizabeth Cappuccino plays young Jessica in flashbacks.

Jessica Jones next appears in the Netflix series The Defenders with fellow heroes Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.

Didya Get All That?

A superpowered detective with a dark past.

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