I’ve been waiting months for the premiere of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix and the debut of our first female comic-book anti-hero. As much as I dig Agent Carter, Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, their heroics lean towards the squeaky-clean. Jessica Jones will be our first female hero with some grit under her nails, dirty laundry lying around the apartment, and the smell of alcohol on her breath.
Up until now, flawed heroes were limited to men—Wolverine and Iron Man, to name a couple. Jessica will be our first 3-dimensional female superhero. And it’s not just because of the conventional noir trappings of too much hard living and hard drinking; it’s the character herself. She’s deeply damaged and powerfully conflicted. Her better instincts are colored by bitter experience and her loyalties are questionable. And like too many of our returning veterans, she lives with severe PTSD.
I have huge hopes for this series. Those hopes are partially based on the fact that Melissa Rosenberg is the series writer and showrunner, and is committed to telling a great story that really is from a woman’s point of view. My hopes are also high because I was lucky enough to catch the first episode at New York Comic Con in August.
Since I don’t want to reveal any spoilers (and believe me, there are plot twists aplenty) how about a little background? Here’s your handy cheat sheet for Jessica Jones world, which just happens to be Hell’s Kitchen of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Easter eggs not included.
Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter): There aren’t a lot of former superheroes in the Marvel universe, but Jessica is one. Forget the kung fu ballet of Black Widow and SHIELD Agent Melinda May. Jones, who has super strength, is a brawler. She’s also a private detective with a drinking problem and a traumatic past.
Luke Cage (Mike Colter): A local guy with a mysterious past of his own, Cage is a neighborhood hero who is far more than he seems. We’re catching him about midway through his own journey, which we’ll learn more about when his own Netflix series debuts in 2016.
Trish “Patsy” Walker (Rachael Taylor): Jones’ best friend and a local radio host, Walker is the closest thing Jessica has to family and as a result, they have the kind of love-hate relationship you see with sisters.
Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss): The role of the powerful attorney and ally was changed to a woman for this series, and the former Matrix star plays her with icy determination.
Kilgrave (David Tennant): Don’t expect to see any of the beloved 10th Doctor in Kilgrave. He’s the man responsible for much of Jones’ past trauma. He’s the voice that lives in her head and the scariest kind of villain—the kind who thinks he does everything for a good reason.
Malcolm (Eka Darville): Jones’ neighbor and friend whose personal journey with addiction mirrors her own.
Hope (Erin Moriarty): The all-American girl—sweet, pretty, athletic—who shares an important bond with Jones.
Will Simpson (Wil Traval): The NYPD cop whose black-and-white mentality can’t adjust to Jones’ world of gray.