ADVANCED REVIEW:’ Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire,’ Episodes 1-3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire
Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire is published by Serial Box, written by Lauren Beukes, Vita Ayala, Sam Beckbessinger, Zoe Quinn and Elsa Sjunneson, and narrated by Fryda Wolff. Jessica Jones has made an art of ignoring her particular brand of super-powered trauma. But these days, she’s giving the whole “self-care” thing a try. Seeing a therapist, finding healthier coping mechanisms (read: no business-hours drinking), working toward not wanting to punch things all the time. Maybe even taking the occasional case that won’t eat her alive. A simple missing persons case seems like just the ticket.

With Serial Box already having released Marvel’s Thor: Metal Gods, and with Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood currently in full swing, the publisher looks to be going for a solid hat trick of superhero related content. And so far, they are off to a good start.

Jessica Jones first garnered wide spread attention when Netflix adapted her character to live action. The hard luck private investigator struggling to handle her PTSD and her need to punch things instantly stood out from other super heroic characters commonly presented in the Marvel stable.

But while the aforementioned version of Jessica Jones was still on a bit of a downward spiral, Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire’s take on the character has her on a bit firmer ground. She is still fighting her battle to be sure, but the character presented here is one that feels like she is heading in the right direction.

I absolutely loved the intro to this series, as it the last thing I suspected. It is so out of left field, yet it perfectly establishes Jessica’s character. Brawling, bruises, gunfire, and a runaway ice cream truck are all involved. Just another day in the life for our hapless Detective.

Following this quirky little intro to Jessica’s life Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire takes a moment to introduce the therapist who is currently attempting to help our protagonist get her emotional ducks in a row. Dr. Melody Hollman instantly establishes herself as the kind of person who could be a huge help for our heroine. Strong enough to not let Jessica manipulate the conversation away from what needs to be talked about, but not so forceful as to drive her away. Their interplay feels like two people who respect each other and know they both are trying to accomplish the same goal: seeing Jessica get better.

The biggest push Dr. Hollman makes is for Jessica to find some easy work. She tends to find cases that will emotionally destroy her. She needs to give her mind a break. And, to her credit, Jessica tries to do this. That’s why she accepts a simple missing persons case from an upset father who shows up at Alias Investigations’ door.

Colin Greene has just flown into New York from Illinois. He was supposed to be picked up by his son he hadn’t seen in years. When the son doesn’t show to pick him up he is convinced something is wrong. And since he hasn’t seen his son in so long due to his reaction to his son having powers, he figured Jessica would be just the person to help him.

I must praise the writers’ handling of this scene. As Colin explains the reasons for his son’s estrangement, Jessica, with good reason, struggles to maintain her professionalism. Father’s rejecting their children for who they are is always upsetting. And Jessica has seen plenty of it in her line of work. But, while I appreciated Jessica’s reaction I absolutely loved how Colin is written.

Colin screwed up. He knows it. He still slips up with terminology, at one point referring to powered people as “freaks” even. He stumbles, and he’s terrified that he’s lost his son forever. This man clearly has a ways to go yet in his acceptance of those who are different, but he’s getting there.

I felt this scene was so great because this is a point in change media often skip. People are either closed-minded or completely open. It’s like a light switch. And that’s just not how people change. A lifetime of habit and thought don’t just vanish, even if you’d like them to.

With Jessica on the case, she begins to track down the few leads Colin could give her. I won’t say where these leads take her, but once again Serial Box uses the playground that is the Marvel Universe to its fullest potential. Her first stop is an iconic locale for Marvel’s New York, though not one normally associated with Jones. I dearly hope it plays a bigger part in the story than just this nod, but even if it is left behind I still loved seeing it.

Jessica’s investigation through the rest of this portion of her story is told with great care and precision. Her instincts, while serving her well in hunting down clues, will also lead her to places that will most likely keep her from having that easy paycheck her doctor recommended. But, then again, that’s why Jessica Jones is a hero. She just can’t let a thing go. Especially when it’s trouble.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire Episodes 1-3 are available exclusively from Serial Box starting May 28th.

Jessica Jones: Playing With Fire Episodes 1-3
4.5

TL;DR

Jessica’s investigation through the rest of this portion of her story is told with great care and precision. Her instincts, while serving her well in hunting down clues, will also lead her to places that will most likely keep her from having that easy paycheck her doctor recommended. But, then again, that’s why Jessica Jones is a hero. She just can’t let a thing go. Especially when it’s trouble.