You have ventured into a cross-over courtesy of Silver Bullet Comics. For one week, and one week only…Ambidextrous will dwell within both its original birthing facility, the Silver Soapbox, and its own corner of the site where the Crucible have effectively usurped control for the next few weeks.
We are here today because a fellow SBC reviewer believed that Alias, Bendis’ new project from Marvel’s MAX line, sucked the posterior of a donkey. I passionately disagree with this assessment and this is what you need to consider in order to properly view the situation my way.
Marvel’s MAX Comics are not for children. They are being provided for consumption by rational, clear thinking “adults” that will appreciate and enjoy storytelling techniques and concepts not found in the latest installment of the Avengers. An adult analysis of characters that can enjoy wild sex, smoke with wild abandon, and make decisions that stand the possibly of being incorrect…kinda like real life. MAX is Marvel without handcuffs, and Alias by Brian Michael Bendis is the first bullet. I won’t argue that the first installment is a shot through the heart…but I believe Bendis at least struck a significant limb.
We’re introduced to private detective Jessica Jones while she breaks a bit of disturbing news to a client regarding his wife. He doesn’t like what he hears and turns violent, leaving her no choice but to put his face through a window. The authorities are called to investigate the scene and we learn the truth…Ms. Jones once belonged to the legion of heroes known as the Avengers. And apparently she’s fallen a long way.
Her depression leads her to excessive drinking in an establishment owned by Luke Cage, Power Man and Hero for Hire. They exchange pleasantries and something much more intimate before the night is over in the much-heralded sex scene that reportedly stopped the printers due to obscene content. The morning after, Jones meets a client that wants her to locate a sister that has recently disappeared with a mysterious beau.
This leads Jones to a shocking revelation…
I liked this title. The trademark Bendis dialogue was free-flowing and his artistic collaborator Michael Gaydos gave him ample space to utilize the numerous dialogue balloons that the writer employs when left to himself. His title character was interesting and portrayed three-dimensionally, a woman with problems trying to make her way through life, unsure if her decisions will lead her down the correct path. Bendis injected uncertainty into the life of his htitle character Jessica Jones and caused her to respond with smoking, careless sex, and irresponsible drinking. And people swore while in the course of normal conversation…something that happens in real life as well.
The shocking cliffhanger also ensures the next few chapters will prove most interesting, as Jones will likely be forced to confront the dark underbelly lining the Marvel Universe. Things are not as they seem apparently and what person more qualified to ferret out the truth than one that once operated within the secret circle?
If this were the standard SBC rating scheme at work, the book would easily earn four out of the five available bullets. My fellow reviewer gave it ONE and compared it to Youngblood and Heroes Reborn. Here’s what I think he failed to consider.
The man commented that Alias shares the same name as an upcoming series premiering shortly on ABC about the secret life of a female spy. He then makes the assertion that this makes Bendis’ latest offering derivative in nature…because of a name similarity.
Who knows the exact entity that suggested Alias as a title for their latest project initially, ABC or Marvel. More importantly…who gives a hell!? Apparently, the two projects share minimal similarities in scope and approach and even less in audience. If Marvel isn’t worried about the possibility of being attacked for copyright infringement, a costly and annoying process to be sure…I think a reviewer using this as a reason to label a project as derivative has suddenly lost their footing.
The man commented that Alias lacks sex appeal and that Luke Cage is an inappropriate sex partner for Jessica Jones. He also commented that the whole sex scene lacks originality. Last time I checked…Alias wasn’t about sex. It was about a former superhero turned private eye and her misadventures operating on the fringes of the Marvel Universe. The sex scene itself was not graphic or gratuitous and the dialogue helped to produce the desired effect in the reader more than the panels themselves. If you want a stimulating and horribly imaginative sex scene…watch a porno. Jessica Jones having “relations” with Luke Cage was less about throwing a random sexual tryst into the midst of the story for no reason, and more an incident to shed further light on a title character that seems determined to abuse herself on several levels.
Luke Cage, last time I checked, was black. As I’m sure the original printer in Alabama is aware of. (For the record, I believe nearly wholeheartedly that the obscene content they took an issue to was the portrayal of interracial sex.) News flash…interracial sex isn’t a big deal. The fact that Luke Cage, a black man, participated in sexual acts with Jessica Jones, a white woman, means nothing. It’s not a big deal, no matter how much people may want it to be.
A former fictional female detective hooking up with a black detective in some product of mass media called Guardian Angel (which isn’t accurately explained any way) means…NOTHING. Black men and white women having sex isn’t a plot twist…it’s reality. Once again, the bottom drops out of an argument that suggests any time a white female detective takes on a black lover it’s fair to label it as derivative. Take a poll…white women have been known to have sex, and yes, even MARRY black men.
The man commented that former Spider-Woman Jessica Drew should take over this project because she’s much more interesting and more deeply rooted in heroic nature than Jessica Jones. That would be an interesting idea…if people were at all interested in Jessica Drew and whatever the hell she’s doing wallowing in Cancelled Character Hell.
Let’s bring back Ka-Zar too. What about Darkhawk? No? Well, why not? What’s that you say…people don’t care!? Leave Drew in the box she’s trapped in and move on.
MAX isn’t about superheroes, at least not traditional superheroes anyway. It’s not about brightness and spandex. It’s about realistic portrayals of characters. Characters that smoke. Characters that drink. Characters that have irresponsible sex. Like real people do sometimes. If people can’t leave their archaic rules about what comic books are supposed to read like, look like and taste like at the door, just keep reading your Avengers and Superman books and don’t join us down here in the world of MAX.
I’m not expecting everyone to agree with me…but if you compare a book to Youngblood and Heroes Reborn…reasonable arguments are necessary. Alias wasn’t the best, but it was a good start and damn sure wasn’t the worst.
Haters be hating? You be the judge…