Will Marvel’s Jessica Jones be More Than Just Another Strong Female Character?

Still waiting for Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel to anchor a major comic book movie? Tired of seeing female superheroes shunted to the sidelines? (Hey, I’m talking about you, Black Widow and Storm.) Well never fear, Jessica Jones is here. Yes, Marvel and Netflix just dropped the teaser trailer and release date (November 20) for the newest superhero series that fits in the acclaimed Marvel Daredevil universe.

 

 

Just one problem. Who the hell is Jessica Jones?

I’ve been reading Marvel comics since Sue Storm was in pigtails and yet all that I know about Jessica is that she married Luke Cage, aka Power Man.

Mike Colter as Luke Cage and Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones.
Mike Colter as Luke Cage and Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones.

And therein lies a problem. Is Jessica Jones just one more Strong Female Character (SFC) whose butt-kicking abilities really belie the fact that she’s just there as a foil for the male hero? (Think Trinity in the Matrix trilogy.) As Bijhan Valibeigi pointed out at Black Girl Nerds:

“…the definition of an SFC [is a] character whose exterior qualities and achievements are designed to stand in contrast to her inner feminine vulnerability. She is given value because of her masculine traits; she is kept from being the protagonist because of her feminine traits. … A character that is designed to evoke a trope or fill a perceived voice is barely a character, and more like a caricature.”

The evidence that she might be a fully rounded character might be Marvel’s Agent Carter. Sure, Peggy Carter may have started out as a sort of Trinity, there to save the hero so he could save the world, but she’s developed into a hero in her own right and has been portrayed with a robust inner life by Hayley Atwell. But what about the new heroine?

Here’s what we know about Jessica Jones so far.

Creators: Brian Michael Bendis, writer; Michael Gaydos, artist. Television series writer and show runner Melissa Rosenberg who describes Jessica as “incredibly flawed, damaged and interesting character regardless of her gender,” has chops. She was the head writer on the TV show Dexter.

Origin: Survived a car collision with a military convoy carrying radioactive material. The rest of her family was killed. After several months in a coma she awoke with super strength and the ability to fly.

Jessica Jones and her alter ego, Jewel.
Jessica Jones and her alter ego, Jewel.

Defining moment: She was subjected to mind control and psychological torture by one of Daredevil’s enemies, who sent her to attack the Avengers. She was badly injured in the brawl and spent another long period in a coma. Demoralized and suffering from PTSD, she quit being a superhero.

Profession: Private investigator.

Star: Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones.

Tagline: “It’s time the world knew her name.”

Affiliations: Luke Cage aka Power Man (and her eventual husband) played by Mike Colter. High school crush Peter Parker.

Marvel Comics.
Luke Cage and Jessica Jones in Marvel Comics.

Genre: Psychological thriller.

So will Jessica Jones escape the SFC trap as well as super villains? We’ll find out November 20.

 

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