Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Pulse Vol. 2 Secret War Trade Paperback Review

The Pulse Vol. 2 - Secret War
Marvel Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
96 pages
$11.99 (2005)
ISBN 9780785114789

Contributors: Brian Michael Bendis, Brent Anderson, Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Pete Pantazis, Cory Petit, and covers by Mike Mayhew

Reprints: The Pulse #6-9

Synopsis: Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are the victims of a brutal attack which leaves both in the hospital. Nick Fury shows up at the hospital and reveals Luke took part in a covert espionage action which has run afoul.  Luke goes missing and Jessica must desperately claw for clues to his whereabouts.  She utilizes every resource available, but superheroes are notoriously bad at returning voicemail messages. 

Can her friends at the Daily Bugle help when Fury is considered an off-limits subject?  Jessica has no one to turn to until a trio of Hydra agents pick her up and offer her aid.  Will she sell her soul to save Luke and the baby?

Pros: Great covers by Mayhew, Bendis continues to deliver good dialogue and plot, no more Mark Bagley from the first story arc, Lark's art was really good (he drew the last half of this collection) and reminiscent of Gaydos from Alias, Jessica gives J. Jonah Jameson a piece of her mind, Danny Rand (aka Iron Fist) gives Jessica a piece of his mind
Cons: Anderson's art was better than Bagley's, but too dark, this story is a tie-in to Secret War and you get the feeling the major action is happening elsewhere, no MAX rating (Marvel's mature content imprint) and no swearing/explicit content

Mike Tells It Straight: We finally get a Jessica Jones story arc in The Pulse, but it's a one-off, side story to Secret War.  I loved Alias and the previous story arc (The Pulse: Thin Air) didn't have enough Jessica Jones in it for my taste (although it was still a great story). 

This time we get enough Jessica Jones, but no real explanation of the events causing vast turmoil to descend upon her life.  Instead we spend four issues in the dark and then get a small amount of clarity at the very end.  The art style by Anderson and Lark is dark and moody, which emphasizes the fog poor Jessica is in throughout the story. 

Bendis writes a successful tale if his objective was to highlight the confusion of Jessica during the spillover of events from Secret War.  If you haven't read Alias or Secret War then this may be difficult to follow.  Otherwise it was a passable entry into the saga of Jessica Jones' life and brings back the focus to our favorite flawed, former superheroine.  I still miss her abundant profanity, but we're back on track to the Alias days.

TO BUY and Recommendations: