I'll let this review serve for both volumes of Alias, as you're not going to want just one once you've read the other. I've only read one issue ever written by Bendis that I didn't like, and his work here is amongst the best of his career. I've heard him called a hack by jealous readers who can't hack (aha, a pun) that one man can write so many consistently top-drawer, massively popular books at once. Brian Bendis is no hack. He is the best regular comics writer in the business today, and Alias may well be his masterpiece.
The story follows Jessica Jones, who like her possible namesake Halo is a somewhat ordinary girl fed up with extraordinary circumstances. Jones is a retired superhero who runs a private detective agency and rarely makes use of her abilities, which are vaguely described at best. She makes dodgy decisions, drinks a lot, smokes, sleeps with the wrong men, and serves as a wholly rounded human heart to this series. By the end of the run, I was genuinely worried about her- one issue in which a past tormentor escapes confinement and pursues her is the tensest thing I've ever read, any medium- and found myself flying through the books in a sitting each. Bendis is a natural storyteller and a gifted linguist all in one, a rare combination in the field of comics. His situations are as compelling as his dialogues. His characters are full.
Artwork is provided by Michael Gaydos, whose style is representative of what appears to me be the anti-norm in comics work these days, a kind of dark, messy and almost ugly style that counterpoints the work done by more mainstream artists. Issues contain the occasional guest work from David Mack (who I can't stand) and Mark Bagley (whose work here is oddly jarring and unwelcome), but the writing is why you're coming back issue after issue. And come back you will, and the whole thing will be over before you know it. So you'll read it again and enjoy it just as much. This, folks, is a series worth buying, and a series worth keeping.
on 11 March 2010
If you're looking for something different to the usual Marvel read then I would recommend the Alias series. Jessica Jones is an example of character development at its best. This series has an intriguing plot, great art, and the writing is good is you don't mind the swearing. The book does have a lot of swearing in it but don't let that put you off. This is a first-class series and I highly recommend it.
Alias is the series which kicked off the MAX imprint from Marvel which was aimed at a mature audience.