Panelology is a weekly podcast about comics. We talk about current books, what we're looking forward to, and how to get into reading comics in the first place.

Alias #1-5 (Marvel Comics, 2001; #1-5)

I teased a Jessica Jones write-up a week or two back. Well, here it is, finally.

If you’re familiar with the character from her show on Netflix, you have a pretty good idea of who Jessica Jones is. The first arc of her debut comic series does not explore the oppressive threat of the Kilgrave, but it does find her manipulated by outside parties. When Jessica tracks down a woman who has ghosted on her family, her client disappears, and her subject ends up dead.

Oh, and Jessica catches Captain America’s (then-secret) identity on video tape in the process.

This first arc focuses on Jessica the loner. She has yet to become involved with Luke Cage beyond one-night stands. Her friends from her brief time with the Avengers will barely speak to her—and she can’t get into the Avengers’ Mansion when she needs. That sense of isolation—and the self-doubt that it feeds and which feeds it—are front-and-center in a way here that is rare now and, I suspect, would have been unheard of in 2001.

Michael Gaydos’s Alias art is inky and stylized. It relies on high-contrast coloring from Matt Hollingsworth and deep shadows to build a noir feel. The art’s greatest strength is its panel layouts, though. Instead of filling every inch of the page, panels shrink and grow, flowing with dialogue; the effect is almost like seeing music charted on a staff.

This is, unsurprisingly, the series to pick up if you want more Jessica Jones in the style of her TV show. Bendis and Gaydos created the character, and this run provided the basis of her Netflix incarnation. And even if you haven’t seen the Jessica Jones TV series, it’s worth checking out.

Collected in

  • Jessica Jones: Alias, Vol. 1 (Alias #1-9)
  • Alias Omnibus (#1-28, What If Jessica Jones Jones Had Joined the Avengers #1)


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis | Artist: Michael Gaydos | Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth | Letterers: Richard Starkings, Wes Abbott, Oscar Gongora | Covers: David Mack | Editor: Stuart Moore


Space Riders, Vol. 1 (Black Mask Studios, 2015; #1-4)

DC Comics Bombshells: “Enlisted” (DC Comics, 2015; Digital Chapters 1-9, Print #1-3)