I intended to post this last night. The backlog
still has three comic reviews to come up, one per
day.

General Information

Title: Alias Vol. 4: The Secret Origin of Jessica
Drew

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator(s): Michael Gaydos and Mark Bagley

Original Publication Date: March 2004 reprint of
material first
published in 2003.

ISBN: 0-7851-1167-0

Cover Price: $17.99US, $29.00 Can

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

Jessica Jones is forced to face Killgrave, the Purple
Man, who was the
villain that originally drove her to retire from
superheroing.

High Point

Killgrave, as a villain, didn’t make me laugh. His
powers should be a
threat, but I never perceived him that way in the old
Essential
appearances. Personally, I think making him purple
was a mistake;
that detracts from why he’s really dangerous.

Low Point

Killgrave’s level of awareness.

The Scores

We’ve seen all of the major elements before. Forrest
Gump had the
“character meets all the key figures in
history” (although the key
figures are appropriate to the history of the Marvel
universe.) We’ve
seen the “overcoming old fears” bit, too. It still
works, and they
haven’t been used in this combination that I can
recall. This
combination creates a bit of a dichotomy; a character
this deeply
imbedded in the Marvel universe shouldn’t have a
problem with the
issues at hand, and yet she was nearly powerless. I
give it 5 out of
6.

The artwork by Gaydos is appropriately ugly
for Jessica’s
adult world, while Bagley’s stuff works well for a
more innocent time
in her life. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is very well done, in general.
Killgrave’s
awareness is unexplained, and there’s a bit of a deus
ex machina
moment that bugs me. (Why didn’t Jean tell her way
back when?) I
give it 4 out of 6.



The characterization is well done.
Jessica’s behaviour
finally makes sense to me. (Granted, I haven’t read
the first two
volumes yet, but I’ve now read over half the series,
so I know her
fairly well.) She shows a lot of depth here, as do
some of the
secondary characters. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was
fairly strong. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The flow is hampered by the artist shift. I
just reminds me
that this is a comic, with sudden jumps like that. I
give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a very interesting collection.
It works for
comic fans and non-comic fans, because it has more to
do with the
impact of characters on each other than on
superheroics. I give it 5
out of 6.

In total, Alias Vol. 4: The Secret Origin of
Jessica Jones

receives 32 out of 42.