After an incredible season of Marvel’s Daredevil, we’re pumped for the next collaboration between Marvel and Netflix: Jessica Jones. Although never considered in the upper echelon of popularity, Jessica Jones, played by Krysten Ritter on the show, has an extensive history involving almost every major player in the Marvel Universe. So extensive, in fact, that it would take hours if not days for you to catch up on her fourteen-year history (first appearance was in Alias #1 in November, 2001). Since you probably don’t have that kind of time, we figured it best to give you a quick run-down of Jessica’s past in anticipation for the show’s release on November 20.

Jessica’s character is important in comic book history as it highlights the struggle to live a “normal” life as a superhero. Jessica’s first series, “Alias,” was published as R-rated (under Marvel’s MAX brand), allowing writer Brian Michael Bendis to explore the realism of humanity in a ways not possible in other comics. She is one of the very few main characters in both Marvel & DC Comics to become pregnant, suffer from PTSD, smoke cigarettes, and have an affair; her stories comprehensively detailing her experience with these and other real world issues.

Powers & Abilities

As the result of a car accident with a military convoy carrying radioactive chemicals, Jessica Campbell was put into a coma and awoke with strange, superhuman abilities. Flight was the first power Jessica discovered but she has never mastered the ability. Unless she’s emotionally charged or has been recently practicing, her flight patterns and speed are often erratic. It’s widely thought that Jessica could master this ability with practice, though many suspect she can never breach the speed of sound even with proper training. She chooses not to hone this ability because of airsickness. She also has superhuman strength, the limits of which have never been properly measured but she can hold her own against other super-strong heroes and villains, punch through solid metal, and throw large objects (cars, trucks, etc.) with little effort. Similar to most others with super strength, Jessica is extremely durable, proving immune to bullets, knives, electricity, explosions, and falls. She’s no where near invulnerable as many supers (both good and bad) have seriously injured her over the years, the prime example being severe injuries sustained after being punched by the Vision. If she is injured, her body heals extremely quickly. In addition to her superhuman powers, Jessica is an experienced detective, practiced journalist, and is skilled in hand-to-hand combat.

Character History

Before the accident that spawned Jessica’s powers, she was a classmate of Peter Parker at Midtown High School in New York. Her family was on their way to Disney World to use tickets gifted to Jessica’s father by his boss, Tony Stark, when their car was hit by a military convoy, immediately killing her family and exposing her to toxic chemicals. Jessica fell into a coma and woke up around the same time that the Fantastic Four encountered and defeated Galactus. After spending some time in an orphanage, Jessica was adopted by Mr. & Mrs. Jones, who thought it best to re-enroll her at Midtown. Jessica was ostracized by most of her classmates and bullied by Flash Thompson (yes, the same one that bullied our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man). Peter Parker tried befriending her but she mistook this as pity and ran away. This is when Jessica discovered she could fly…or fall as she crashed into the Hudson River before being saved by Thor.

Like I said, her history involves some big names.

After seeing Spider-Man take on Sandman, she decided she could use her powers for good, embracing the name Jewel. Soon after her first attempt at heroism, she was captured by Zebediah Killgrave -- the Purple Man -- Jessica’s primary adversary and the suspected main antagonist of the TV series. Killgrave kept her prisoner for eight months under pheromonic mind control. He sends her to attack Daredevil but Jessica accidentally attacked Scarlet Witch instead, whose reality-bending abilities ended Purple Man’s hold over Jessica. Shortly after, she was offered membership in the Avengers but she declined, opting to become an independent vigilante named Knightress.

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