Today’s Super Comics — Alias #1-28 (2001-04)

alias 1Yeah, I’ll just go ahead and declare the entire Alias series as fantastic. And for non-comic readers, this has nothing to do with the Jennifer Garner television show, but it is the source material for the also-excellent Jessica Jones series on Netflix.

With Jessica Jones, writer Brian Michael Bendis has created one of the most fascinating Marvel characters of all time. Jessica gets more character development in 28 issues than many characters receive over the course of decades.

And while the series would be riveting as just a character study, the plots are great, too. The comic is actually more episodic than the Netflix series while still retaining a strong overall arc. It shows private investigator Jessica Jones working unconventional cases in the dark corners of the Marvel Universe as she tries to distance herself from her traumatic superhero past.

Michael Gaydos’s gritty art style creates the perfect atmosphere for the stories, and for the flashbacks to Jessica’s “Jewel” days, we get another perfect artistic fit—Mark Bagley, bringing a cleaner, brighter style that suits the more innocent days.

The first issue has the distinction of being the first Marvel comic book to employ the F-word, something the Netflix series didn’t even do. I point that out as a warning – THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR CHILDREN. I repeat, do not let your kids anywhere near this one. Dark stuff takes place in these issues.

Not one issue missteps, though. Bendis and Gaydos (and Bagley) demonstrate superb tonal agility throughout, and they deserve credit for an extraordinarily difficult achievement—they created something new and fresh within a decades-old fictional universe.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: Michael Gaydos, with flashbacks by Mark Bagley

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; Alias and Jessica Jones: Alias trade paperbacks

Appropriate For: ADULTS ONLY!