The Read Pile: Alias
Confession time, folks: until a month or two ago, I had never read Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ Alias series. It slipped through the cracks, mainly because it was at it’s height when I was in high school and college, where the only books I was reading were Spider-Man and Batman comics. I’ve long heard of how incredible the series is, and with the upcoming Jessica Jones series hitting Netflix, I decided it was high time that I splurged on the omnibus edition. Now that I’ve finished it, I figured I’d dust off the ol’ “Read Pile” and give it a new installment.
First off, let me just say this: to everyone who was on my case to read this series, you were 100% right and I’m sorry. Alias isn’t just the best Brian Michael Bendis series I’ve read, it’s one of the best Marvel series I’ve read. Bendis and Gaydos create a Marvel Universe that’s so real that it’s almost too real. While former hero Jessica Jones plays in her own corner of the Marvel Universe, characters like Matt Murdock, Luke Cage, and even Captain America and Spider-Man make appearances. The cases Jones takes on are fantastic, and really gripping. They’re cases that get by the big guys like Thor and Iron Man, left for Jones to solve.
Bendis and Gaydos take a deep dive into the noir and seedy underbelly of the Marvel universe. This is a place where Mattie Franklin, the former Spider-Girl that I completely forgot about, can get wrapped up with a disturbing drug dealer and become their source of Mutant Growth Hormone, and where a former joke character like Killgrave The Purple Man becomes one of the most despicable villains in comics. Bendis takes his time revealing Jessica’s past as a super hero, and the slow burn behind what happens to her is fantastic and horrifying. The team goes to great lengths to make Jessica Jones act and behave like a real human being (a self-destructive human being sure, but a human being nonetheless).
Now that I’ve finished this omnibus, I do wonder just how Marvel Studios is going to adapt it. They’re going to have to tone down the F bombs of course, but they’re also going to need to tone down some of the subject matter as well. While Daredevil and Netflix are known for not really censoring creators, but at the same time, there’s some stuff in this run that’s pretty damn dark. I can’t imagine that the Killgrave arc is going to be done exactly from the page, and that’s not just because Jean Grey pops up in it.
One other thing that sticks out in my mind for Jessica Jones after reading Alias is the casting of Jones. I think Krysten Ritter has done an awesome job in Breaking Bad, Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 16, and other TV shows and movies, but she’s not who I picture bringing Jones to life. In my mind (and judging from Gaydos’ art), I picture someone who looks a little older. Weirdly, the ones who stand out in mind are Fear The Walking Dead’s Kim Dickens and Yancy Butler from the short-lived Witchblade series from the early 00’s. As always, I’m sure Marvel saw something that we haven’t seen yet, so hopefully my initial concerns about Ritter will be proven false by the time the series hits on Friday.
If you’re like past me and still haven’t read Alias, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It’s a great reminder of how good Brian Michael Bendis (and Marvel) can be, and it’s a really eye-opening look into a different take on the Marvel Universe. In all honesty, I think it’s one of the best comics I’ve ever read, and a must read series.