Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jessica Jones: Who We Are and Who We Want to Be

We're a little over a week from Netflix's next Marvel Cinematic Universe outing as of today, and I'm more than a little excited. After how well Daredevil was done, I'm really looking forward to this. The reasons, though, are more than superficial this time.

I love the MCU. It's very flashy and exciting and fun, and while Daredevil was a departure from that, it still retained the overall quality and love of the source material that previous adaptations simply lacked

Jessica Jones looks to take the grim-dark of Daredevil and completely redefine it.

But there's a more personal slant to this, too. I've mentioned in the past how Barbara Gordon, aka Oracle and Batgirl, is a personal hero of mine: someone I look up to and semi-jokingly refer to as “waifu.”

Barbara Gordon is a character that refuses to stay down. She's intelligent, athletic, and driven. Seeing the Batman in action first-hand, she took that inspiration and made her own hero out of it, becoming a valuable member of the Bat-family. Life then proceeded to hit her, very very hard, when Joker shot her through the spine and paralyzed her, but she did not stay down. She refocused her skills from the physical to the mental, using her brains and wit and technical prowess to become Oracle, who ended up being an even bigger and more powerful asset of the DC Universe than Batgirl was. And when the DCU was rebooted years later and she was back on her feet as Batgirl, she refused to back down, even when terrified, when having to face off against the Joker again. In short, Barbara Gordon is everyone I wish I was.

Jessica Jones... is not. Jones was one of the first super-heroes of the modern age, but she was an unknown. A jobber. When you think of heroes, you think of Captain America, Ms Marvel, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch maybe, but not Jewel. And during one of her adventures, she faced a very evil man who could be very, very persuasive. He did horrible things to her and in front of her, and when she was finally free of him, she was very damaged. Life hit her, very very hard, and she did not get back up so readily. In fact, she stayed down for a very, very long time. 

I can't help but identify. Certainly not to the same extent -- I was never a superhero -- but that's how these stories work. They're exaggerations of real life, exaggerated people. I met a woman who was very persuasive and did horrible things to and around me. I was hit by life, very very hard, and I did not get up for a very long time. Even now I feel like I've maybe reached a sitting position, but am not entirely sure I'd trust my own two feet to stand on. Like Jones, my life revolved around what I could do to keep going long enough to reach my next drink. That part of my life is, more or less, behind me now, but I'm glad to see that a character that can't quite handle tragedy as well as the A-list of Marvel will be part of that world. It makes me feel a little more like I'm part of my own world still. In short, Jessica Jones is everything that I am, or at least was.

Much like Daredevil, I'll be providing my thoughts on Jessica Jones after I've seen all of the episodes. Until then, I recommend everyone at least give the show a chance. It's got a lot of positive hype behind it, but it's certainly not going to be quite as upbeat as an Iron Man film might be.  This will be a much more personal and painful story, and may provide a bit of catharsis to anyone who has been through something similar, if not on a smaller scale.

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