Jessica Jones #11 continues the unraveling of her newest case and reveals the information she got from Maria Hill’s father in the last issue. The majority of this issue is a definite departure from the normal Jessica Jones format; however, it is both fun and thematically on point. It will be particularly pleasing to long time Marvel fans, but there is plenty to enjoy for the newer fans as well.
The issue starts out like a classic Jessica Jones story including typical the art style and the dialogue as well as the presence of embodiment, such as when Jones asks Hill to pee in a cup for her, and a lack of interpersonal skills, such as when Jones is unable to bond with Hill’s father because they are both parents. As soon as Hill begins reading the Mission Failure Report Jones brought her, the issue transforms into an issue within an issue titled Maria Hill, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Breakout!” This section has Silver Age aesthetics complete with Stan Lee like alliterative nick name filled credit lines and Nick Fury once again being depicted as a white guy. It is essentially a flash back to the incident and the review of it. The paneling starts out fairly standard, but when the rescue goes sideways, the entire page follows suit. This is the major highlight of the issue as a whole and draws attention to the shift in perception that trauma can cause. Trauma is indeed a theme extensively covered in storylines featuring Jessica Jones, so it does not feel thematically disjunctive. An interesting thing to note is that the report is damaging to all that know of it and the reader is now placed in the same position as the characters in the story now that we know the contents of it as well.
Despite his “Seldom-Surpassed Scripting,” Brian Michael Bendis isn’t at his strongest here. There are a couple of moments that feel forced or unnecessarily vulgar and not all the lines have a clear pattern of delivery. I did love the line about Jones deserving some ice cream though. I am continuously impressed with the way that Michael Gaydos delivers the original look of Alias, but Javier Pulido steals the show in this issue. The splash page especially feels like it could have come right out of the Silver Age. Also, Pulido’s depiction of the Hydra turned Commander Reynolds is deliciously unnerving.
In the end, the best parts of the issue only tangentially include Jessica Jones. Maria Hill really takes over and, while that is not terrible, it may not be what every reader was hoping for. That said, there is a lot to like and I think that the inclusion of “The Breakout!” was a refreshing experiment that paid off. If you love Maria Hill, or Silver Age Marvel, make sure you pick this one up. Four Stars!
(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A) Michael Gaydos (CA) David Mack