The Comic: Alias, written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by David Gaydos.
What’s it about: Jessica Jones was once a superhero. After her abduction and abuse at the hand of mind controlling villain the Purple Man, Jessica has become bitter and damaged, but not broken. Jessica is now a private eye, trying to put her life of superheroics behind her. The more she tries running from her past, the more her cases seem to connect back to it.
Why you should read it: Brian Bendis has become one of the most prolific writers of Marvel comics, and is a major creative force for the publisher. As he takes on more responsibilities, it impacts the quality of his comics. Alias reminds everyone why Bendis is considered one of the greats. It’s funny and dark, and a deep exploration into a fascinating new character. Over ten years later, the idea of a superhero comic that focused more on the day to day life of a character than fistfights with supervillains seems pretty average, but when Alias was first published, it was something of a revelation. The character and the format are influential and Alias holds up as a funny, moving tale of a woman overcoming adversity that would crush most of us.
Also, did you know: Alias was originally going to be about Jessica Drew a.k.a. Spider Woman, one of Bendis’s favorite characters. Marvel vetoed the idea on the grounds that kids who were fans of the character might open up the book, only to find pages of swearing and explicit sex. The character’s name was changed and comic history was made.