The Purple Man asks Jessica what he can do to help make the world a better place. Requesting Jessica’s suggestions, he says he’s ready to use his powers for good.
JESSICA JONES #17
Authors: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Michael Gaydos
Cover: David Mack
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
Jessica Jones has abandoned her former superhero life to find some normalcy. She has started her own Private Investigation firm, Alias Investigations, married former Avenger Luke Cage, and together they have a little girl, Danielle. However her tragic past as the victim of The Purple Man, Zebediah Kilgrave, a psychopath with the ability to compel people to do whatever he says, always haunts her. This trauma causes her to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and, for a while, alcoholism.
Jessica has spent the last few months destroying and reuniting her family, working undercover for SHIELD, losing her office to an explosion caused by Maria Hill, and dealing with a twisted murder perpetrated by a man claiming to be from another dimension. On top of it all, she has learned that Kilgrave has escaped from Ryker’s Island Prison and SHIELD custody. Jessica has enlisted the help of her best friend, Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. But after The Purple Man goes too far, using Jessica’s daughter to speak with her, Jessica decides she must meet with him. Sending anyone she cares about far away, she meets him at a small abandoned bakery to find out what he wants from her.
After stalling for a while, The Purple Man confesses he needs Jessica’s help but doesn’t get the chance to elaborate. An assassination attempt, perpetrated by Jessica and Carol, fails to take The Purple Man out. He loses his temper and has the people around the meeting spot attack each other as a diversion while he hides and resorts to plan B: Taking control of Carol to speak with Jessica from a safe distance. Luring her back to her apartment, he releases Carol and talks to Jessica face to face, asking her to help him be good.
What You’ll Find Out:
Jessica ponders the idea of using The Purple Man’s power to make the world a better place for everyone. Considering the consequences and the positives that could come out of manipulating people, Jessica ultimately decides that she can’t make people change, that it has to come from within them. Jessica explains to Kilgrave that he doesn’t understand the damage he causes with his power. Trying to make him understand the psychological effects, she ultimately asks him to go. After a bit of resistance, he finally understands, decides she’s right and apologizes for all the pain he has caused Jessica throughout the years.
As Kilgrave leaves, Carol flies in to take revenge for his abuse, but The Purple Man paralyzes Carol and leaves Jessica’s apartment. While watching from the hole blown in Jessica’s wall, she and Carol watch as Kilgrave walks into the street and collapses. Carol confirms that he is dead and throws his body into the sun. Carol retrieves Danielle for Jessica and Luke returns from Madripoor, proud of his wife for finally defeating the demon that has haunted her for all these years.
What Just Happened?
While the solicitation for the book gives a different idea of where this story may have gone, it would seem Bendis’ departure affected how long this arc was supposed to last. Suddenly cut short, the issue doesn’t necessarily feel that it is fully resolved, but nonetheless, Jessica faces her fears.
As Kilgrave interrogates her on what she would do to make the world a better place, Jessica ponders the morality of ordering someone to do something rather than the idea coming from within. She imagines a future with no more war, no one hungry, no one homeless, and sees a brighter future for her daughter. But ultimately, Jessica decides that forcing someone to do these things isn’t right. Jessica uses Kilgrave and his life of manipulation of others as an example. While Killgrave argues that this is what people do every day, Jessica argues that morality exists.
Morality is a big talking point in the issue. What is right, and what is wrong. The conversation illustrates that morality is relative, but that each person still tries to live by their own code. Killgrave has chosen his, and Jessica her’s. Killgrave tries to bring Jessica to his side, but she refuses, suggesting that there is only one thing he can do to make up for all the moral failing he has committed over the years: go. Though the command seems unclear, and Kilgrave fights her at first, he understands completely once she asserts her point of view. He agrees and ultimately decides that to make the world a better place he must not be in it anymore.
The more interesting part of the conversation is how Kilgrave apologizes to Jessica. He realizes that after all these years he never actually engaged her in a way that helped her to get closure. In the end, there is a satisfaction in not only defeating Kilgrave but in getting the closure she needs from her past with the villain. She didn’t have to outsmart him, block his powers, or beat him to a pulp. She simply made him see that what was best for the world was that he was no longer there to burn it down with his misery.
Final Thoughts: The solicitation for this comic seems to give the idea that the storyline would be a bit different. While it feels like there was a master plan initially at play, it would seem Bendis’ departure from Marvel may have cut this story short of its full potential. While the dialogue is still riveting and the confrontation between Jessica and The Purple Man exciting, the issue falls a little flat due to its ending.
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