It’s not often in comics that a creator gets to shepherd a character in work-for-hire comics anymore, much less their own. It’s even rarer that a character can be kept under their creator’s wing for nearly two decades straight, but that’s been the case for Jessica Jones. From Alias, to The Pulse, to New Avengers, and Defenders; Jessica has been primarily defined by one of her co-creators: Brian Bendis. But times change and all things come to an end, and the people who created Jessica: Brian Bendis and Michael Gaydos return for one final issue to send her off.
The final issue is pretty intimate, all things considered. A day in Jessica’s life as a private investigator after all the chips came down in the previous arc with the Purple Man. One would come to expect that in a superhero comic, a final issue would be a big punchy brouhaha, but this issue summarizes everything we’ve come to love about her over seventeen years. Her skill as a detective, her relationship with her family, her ability to empathize with people who’ve been forgotten by the world, and her dogged persistence. While that may seem like a quaint thing to focus a final story on, it’s a summation, a charting for where we’ve been and with any luck where Jessica will be going. It’s also a reminder that the best stories Jessica have been in are ones that deal with the forgotten people on the margins of the comic page, and her final case is one that is the culmination of a years-long running joke that finds its way out of being a punchline here, one that helps to remind what made Bendis’s take on the Marvel universe so unique.
It’s also worth taking one last look at Michael Gaydos. Lately the Marvel Universe has leaned towards a more Cinematic Universe-esque style toward its characters, and Jessica looking like Krysten Ritter is no exception. But Gaydos’s version of Jessica is always going to be a remarkable outlier among the shinier superhero comics out there, especially with the contrast shown with Jessica encountering other Bendis characters like Miles Morales and Riri Williams. Matt Hollingsworth also brings in a fantastic color palette as has been the case for the rest of this series flipping between the darker colors of Jessica’s world and the brighter world in the rest of the world. All of this comes together to create a final look at a world that may not be seen in this way ever again. If you’re looking to come in now on Jessica Jones, it’s a bit late to the party. But if you need a reason to start again, this issue is a labor of love of the highest order, and it certainly gives the next creative team quite a peak to climb. But regardless of what happens next, it’s going to be difficult to top.
5 Flying Armadillos out of 5