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'The Variants' #1 gets Jessica Jones right
Marvel

Reviews

‘The Variants’ #1 gets Jessica Jones right

This book puts a very important character in incredibly capable hands.

With last Friday’s rather tragic ruling by the Supreme Court — what might be best described as an act of political violence against the women of the country — many are finding themselves living in a state of horrified and angry shock. Many might find that they don’t have a lot of emotional bandwidth to spare on the frivolity of comic books or long critical wailings about them; certainly, with ongoing national protests all over the country to see to, there might not even be time for them.

It seems markedly pertinent, however, for this to be a time in which comics (and the critical wailings surrounding them) feature a steady stream of women in the act of fighting. Indeed, there might not have been a more perfect week for Jessica Jones to reappear on comic stands.

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The Variants #1
Marvel Comics

The Variants #1 doesn’t address any of the real-world turmoil, and it’s unlikely any of final three issues of the series will, either. That doesn’t negate the fact that Jessica Jones is an apt figure to consider in the coming months of political backlash. So much of the character’s narrative foundation is, for good and ill, centered around violence perpetrated against women, and of women confronting that violence (and, of course, literally punching it in the face). She is a character all but designed to embody perseverance in the face of abuse.

It’s also a particular windfall for the only book currently featuring the character to (finally) be in the hands of Gail Simone, a powerful writer who has famously both critiqued and criticized the comic book industry’s handling of violence against female characters.

The Variants #1
Marvel Comics

While there might be some grumbling from fans about a lack of action in this issue — Jess only punches two faces, which is a bit of restraint for her — the bulk of the book manages to do what some recent representations of the character haven’t quite managed: it’s gotten the characterization of Jess right.

Struggling to accept her own happiness, reticent to become involved in the business of others, an overall hard-ass, Jessica Jones is best portrayed as the most fun bummer you know; she is smart, here, and just shy of driven. She is, at her best, capable of providing insight without ever quite applying that insight to herself. Most importantly, she’s ready to fight.

The Variants #1
None of this preview art does a lot at showcasing how #*@&ing *cool* she is.
Marvel Comics

The Variants is also delivered to us by the brilliant Phil Noto, whose closeups deliver a facial nuance unparalleled in the industry. This means that Jess’s inborn subtlety can be deepened, portrayed on several levels. With a multiverse’s worth of Jesses to juggle, Noto might be the perfect artist for the job, capable of making each delivery unique.

The issue sees the character under the most capable stewardship, which is a relief for those of us who worry every time she lands a new book. That she’s the character I feel most relieved about being with in this moment of very trying times is powerful enough. That we get to be around several of her is all the better.

'The Variants' #1 gets Jessica Jones right
‘The Variants’ #1 gets Jessica Jones right
The Variants #1
Arriving at a charged political moment, The Variants sees a meaningful character being handled by importantly insightful people.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.9
Nails Jessica's personality and wit.
Sets up a potentially unique take on the currently popular Multiverse Story.
Slow to action.
One can't help but wish we didn't have to have more Jess Deals with Purple Man stories.
8.5

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