VARIANTS #2: Jessica, Jessica, Jessica and Jessica…

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Things are getting stranger and stranger for Jessica. They say that at some point you have to face each other, but when it literally happens in your own living room and there are several of you, including a version holding a Captain America shield… it’s understandable that you might react with a little anger and maybe even some violence.

Gail Simone delves deeper and deeper into Jessica’s scarred psyche in issue #2 beginning with a brilliantly written exchange between her and Tigra in a restaurant. Simone’s incredible ability to step into a character’s shoes and examine the core elements of her personality is on glorious display in an exchange that touches on everything from Jessica Jones being offered a spot on A-Force to the reasons why Jessica doesn’t make the superhero costume to comment on how female superheroes are objectified in the 616 universe which is a clever meta commentary on how female superheroes are viewed in the real world. This is tempered by Gail’s wonderfully sharp sense of humor that imbues the serious nature of the story in an exchange that, towards the end, hints at clues as to why this variant affair has to happen.

Back in the present, Luke Cage helps Jessica take care of her two other selves. Again, the real glory of the play is how three-dimensional Luke feels and Jessica’s organic relationship through Simone’s first-person narration. There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on psychologically, including a visit to his head from Killgrave, people dying, Jessica (one of them at least) kissing Daredevil, and She-Hulk. It all gets a little confusing IF you’re not careful, but if you’re careful it’s pretty easy to follow once you discern who Jessica is and what the variations are…follow the colors of the shirt…it’s important . Gail shows her respect for recent past canon and cleverly demonstrates how every superhero and villain she uses in the number, including She-Hulk, is voice-perfect and flawless as Jessica finally considers the warning about his family, the mystery deepens and another colorful variant is (literally) crashing into the mix…

What can I say about Phil Noto that hasn’t already been said. His Tigra is magnificent, his She-Hulk too. The amount of emotional nuance he’s able to pull off with such wonderfully clean lines is absolutely superb for a storyline where the focus is on our main hero’s emotional state 90% of the time and dealing with a vast array of challenges. emotions with multiple versions of Jessica who, as the center of everything, needs to be believable in the emotional turmoil she finds herself in. Noto accomplishes this with tight framing of a huge amount of head and shoulder slams for all verbal exchanges only backing off to show the physical action. This is an issue that focuses heavily on emotional narrative and Noto is up to the task as the plot thickens!

A word about the main cover… Very often these days covers are used only as an opportunity to showcase the talent of the artist on the book or another equally talented person, not offering really a glimpse of the ongoing story and that’s not a problem. bad thing. What I love about this issue cover is that it’s a nice tease for something in the book. This is the image that grabs your curiosity and makes you want to know why this image is happening. It goes back to the days before social media, solicited coverage and press releases bombarding us with information before we even got our hands on the book, back to a time when you were navigating your way through a roller rack in a store and those covers spoke to you (or not) with a promise of action and mystery inside this comic. That’s what Phil Noto pulls off here with this blanket and it made me smile.

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