jessica jones vs alias

Jessica Jones and Her Powers

One of the most interesting aspects of Jessica as depicted in Alias is how unremarkable her powers really are. She’s stronger than the average human, but most notable Marvel heroes would win an arm-wrestling tournament. She can fly, but she’s less than graceful and can’t land. It makes sense that she could get away with abandoning a superhero career – no one is going to miss her when the Avengers are around.

The show follows suit. Jessica’s flying has been Nerfed into powerful jumping, but otherwise, Jessica’s superpowers are significantly less colorful than those of any other MCU hero. But that’s totally okay. Her lack of flash, the fact that her powers make her strong but not invincible, only make her all the more vulnerable and interesting. Knowing that she can’t Hulk her way out a big fight scene keeps the stakes right where they need to be.

jessica jones clips

Jessica Jones and Her Superhero Career

There aren’t too many costumed vigilantes wandering the MCU right now. Daredevil is new on the scene and Spider-Man is around the corner, but the only major, known heroes are the Avengers, who operate mostly in the public eye. So it would have been impossible for Jessica Jones to recreate Jessica’s superhero career as seen in Alias. It may have been short-lived, but it involved her getting in a costume, giving herself a hero name (Jewel) and flying around the city protecting the innocent and fighting crime. Jessica is a fascinating character in the larger Marvel comic universe because of how unremarkable her superhero career is. Meanwhile, any superhero career in the current MCU would still be completely and totally remarkable.

So the show adjusts the timeline. Jessica’s vigilante career comes to an end almost instantly. She stops a single mugging, gets taken by Kilgrave, and that’s that. The result is something far more nihilistic. Why help people at all when this is what happens to you? TV Jessica is a far darker and more self-destructive person and her even briefer hero career feeds into that.

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Jessica Jones and Her Bad Habits

In Alias, Jessica is mess, but she’s a controlled mess. She drinks too much. She sleeps around with strange men. She gets into trouble of the personal and professional varieties. She’s flawed, but she has her act together. You get the impression that she pays her rent on time, even though crushing pain and trauma are always lurking at the fringes of her everyday existence.

Netflix Jessica is a disaster zone. Her apartment and office are continuously trashed, she gets thrown out of bars into literal piles of garbage, and she might as well have vomit stains all over that badass leather jacket. It’s definitely a big adjustment for those who know the source material. When you compare both iterations of the character side-by-side, the live-action version is the one veering toward the cartoonish.

However, it’s a testament to the Jessica Jones crew and Krysten Ritter‘s performance that TV Jessica never feels like a joke. Her pain is all too real, her psychic wounds deep and painful. It helps that the series devotes an episode to her life prior to Kilgrave. Seeing the admittedly sarcastic and slightly maladjusted Jessica before she was fundamentally damaged makes her story all the more heartbreaking. If Alias is about a woman dealing with the scars of trauma, than Jessica Jones is about a woman dealing with open wounds.

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