By Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Matt Hollingsworth, and Cory Petit.
Jessica Jones is up to something and this issue finally gets to the bottom of what is going on. This week the pieces start to fit together as we learn details around the true motivations of the people. Jessica Jones #4 is full of intrigue as a woman who just hired her to investigate her husband, turns up dead and Jessica wants to get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile, she is figuring out how to deal with her angry husband who is looking for answers about where their daughter is, dodging someone who appears to be following her, and finding time for former bestie Captain Marvel who needs to chat. All of this is going on around her, and Jessica is just trying to find the way to do the right thing, even at her own expense.
The Jessica Jones series comes with a big Parental Advisory warning on the cover, and rightfully so. This series even back in the MAX days was intended to show a grittier, dirtier, darker side to the costumed hero world. Bendis has a way of writing Jessica Jones so seamlessly with her connections to larger Marvel icons like Luke Cage and Captain Marvel that you get the impression she has been there all along. This issue does a nice job to tie in Jessica Jones to Civil War II, while also providing a new take on the events with Jessica’s on the front line approach and her resounding sarcasm and self-deprecating charm.
The real charm in Jessica Jones #4 is in the iconic art style and panel layouts that will forever be associated with this title. Art this issue is from Gaydos, with colors from Hollingsworth, and letters from Petit. The multi-panel layout is used during the conversation between Captain Marvel and Jessica, and it is a great way to use character reaction shots doubled with dialogue to really capture the mood and purpose of the conversation. First off, the fact that Captain Marvel is taking time out to seek out Jessica to talk shows the validity of Jessica as a hero, even a reluctant one. Bendis has chosen wisely who to associate Jessica with to show the reader Jessica is important without spoon-feeding all the details. Secondly, more questions arise after Jessica explains to Captain Marvel about her offer from Alison Greene (her kidnapper who wants to team up to take down all super heroes). In the shared panels between the Jess and Carol there is a comfortableness and familiarity portrayed through the body language and tone of the conversation. The continued cooperation and shared vision between Bendis, Gaydos, Hollingsworth, and Petit really show and deliver a book that operates on all cylinders.
You cannot talk about a Jessica Jones book and not mention the fantastic colors from Hollingsworth, it’s just not right. This book features heavy dark lines that only provide a better contrast for the use of color throughout. The real brilliance of Hollingsworth is in the use of color to exude the tone and mood of a page. Purple and pink are used to show compassion and possible deception while yellow and blues are the more hopeful, optimistic and altruistic. We see a lot of the purple when Alison Greene, her kidnapper in portrayed, and the yellow and blues are used a lot for the pages with Jessica and Captain Marvel.
This series is just continuing to get better and better with each issue. We finally get some answers to some questions from issue #1, but there is a long way to go. We are still wondering about the murdered woman who hired Jessica, and why Jessica was in jail. Her unique take on events and unique voice are welcomed amongst the family friendly titles that are turned out every week. As we wait for more answers, it is a delight to watch Jessica traverse the Marvel world once again with Bendis and team.