Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Pulse Vol. 1 Thin Air Trade Paperback Review

The Pulse Vol. 1 - Thin Air
Marvel Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
120 pages
$13.99 (2004)
ISBN 9780785113324

Contributors: Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, Brian Reber, Frank D'Armata, Cory Petit, and cover by Mike Mayhew

Reprints: The Pulse #1-5

Synopsis: The next chapter in the life of Jessica Jones unfolds!  She and Luke Cage have been together since the shocking revelation that Jessica is pregnant with his baby.  In an effort to keep herself out of harm's way during the pregnancy, Jessica has shut down Alias Investigations and is starting a new job with the Daily Bugle. 

J. Jonah Jameson has finally admitted his hard line, anti-superhero propaganda is not winning new readers.  He wants to create a superhero news section with Ben Urich (award-winning writer, but out of favor since he refused to reveal Daredevil's secret identity) and featuring Jessica Jones as a research consultant.  Jessica helped JJJ when his foster daughter went missing and has earned a microscopic soft spot in his petrified heart. 
This ain't half bad!

The first story Jones and Urich cover is one that cuts right to the heart of the Daily Bugle newspaper as one of their own is found murdered.  The suspect is believed to have super powers and the new reporting team have their work cut out finding the killer.  What happens when Jessica's new job puts her right back in harm's way?

Pros: Nice covers by Mayhew, great dialogue and story by Bendis, good art by Bagley who ain't no stranger to any of these characters (he drew flashback sequences in Alias)

Cons: I prefer Gaydos' art from Alias (the first series starring Jessica Jones) vs. Bagley's art on this one, Bendis/Bagley use an excessive amount of double-page dialogue spreads utilizing repeat/copied panels (i.e. Jessica's same head shot five times with different dialogue) in the first few issues, Alias had a MAX rating (for mature audiences) while this series doesn't = it's not the same Jessica Jones without the cussing!

Mike Tells It Straight: I loved Alias and really dug Bendis' portrayal of Jessica Jones.  When that series ended and this one started up I had to check it out.  Going into this reading with a lot of expectations I was both let down and thrilled at the same time.  Let me explain - Alias was a Marvel MAX book with a lot (I mean a lot) of cussing, smoking, and mature themes.  It was a hoot!  Then Bendis and Marvel decided to pull the plug in favor of this Daily Bugle centered book without the mature rating so they could feature all of the mainstream Marvel heroes without tarnishing their images with 'mature content' situations.  Complete BS IMHO. 

Wherefore art thou Jessica Jones?

Jessica Jones' character is lessened by her treatment in this series - she was the star of Alias, but is just another member of the cast here.  She doesn't swear, doesn't smoke (obviously with the pregnancy and all), and is not the true focus of the series.  Bagley's art didn't do her or Luke Cage justice (too cartoony).  It was a let down.  BUT...

The story was phenomenal - the Daily Bugle cast: J. Jonah Jameson, Ben Urich, Robbie Robertson et al were incredibly well-portrayed.  Bendis paced it really well and gave us a cliffhanger at the end of every issue.  Major events happened in the lives of Urich, Spider-Man, and a specific villain.  Bagley's art was perfect for these characters.  It was a book that changed the status quo and I loved it. 

In conclusion, the Alias fans will be disappointed by this book, but take solace - it's still a great read.  Yes, despite the ridiculous double-page, multiple-head-shot, and dialogue-ridden pages - Bendis delivers!



TO BUY and Recommendations: