What I thought of Jessica Jones episodes 9-13

Obviously, massive fuck-off spoilers ahead if you read on……


The end of episode eight upped the stakes as Jessica realises that Kilgrave can’t control her anymore and as we head into episode nine the series makes it clear that Kilgrave doesn’t just think that he isn’t a rapist, but that Jessica was repeatedly raped by Kilgrave. This makes the previous episode where Jessica spends a long time alone with Kilgrave to find out how to either stop him, or change him to become a better person all the more heroic.

And it’s these episodes that Jessica’s arc to become a hero is made clear, though she’s only doing what she’s doing to stop Kilgrave not to mention get some justice for herself and Hope, the girl forced to murder her parents by Kilgrave. In fact Kilgrave can’t be redeemed or saved but it’s also here that it becomes clear just why David Tennant picked this part rather than playing a heroic role in another Marvel project. Apart from Jessica and Luke, Kilgrave is the best role in the series, and Tennant plays him at times as someone that thinks he’s doing right, not to mention as someone that has finally found someone he genuinely loves in the shape of Jessica. It’s not as blatant as the comics thankfully..

I enjoyed Alias, and the Kilgrave story was very good, but there’s no escaping that there’s a huge element of titillation in a story about the main character being raped and abused by the villain. There’s none of that here as the viewer is forced to confront the result of rape as Hope’s not just tried to abort Kilgrave’s child, but is clearly such a damaged human being that painting Kilgrave in a titillating light would be grotesquely offensive. So Tennant plays him as a damaged monster, especially as Jessica finds the videos of Kilgrave’s parents experimenting upon him as a child.

But the big fanboy event in episode nine in the revelation about Simpson, the cop controlled by Kilgrave that became Trish’s lover. After being blown up by Kilgrave’s bomb in the previous episode, he’s seen by a specific doctor, Kozlov,  he’s asking for who isn’t part of the hospital he’s in, but seems to be part of the military unit he used to be involved in. This up til now seems pretty pointless filler going nowhere until the moment Simpson asks for a red……

Simpson is being set up to be Nuke from the fantastic Daredevil story Born Again. For the casual viewer it’ll still work as it helps set up a superheroic fight later on in the series, but for the comic fan it’s a major moment setting up Born Again in either a future series of Daredevil, or a potential film.

The only problem is that these final episodes do become more superhero comic booky. Kilgrave changes from a stalking, creepy rapist to more of a megalomaniac comic book baddie at times, but it’s Tennant’s performance that holds it back from getting too over the top.

Episode nine is a pretty packed episode. There’s a lot of exposition, a lot of dialogue and a lot of huge plot revelations such as the discovery of Kilgrave’s parents (including some of the shittest accents you’ll ever hear as Jessica calls Manchester Uni) and the one about Simpson and oh, Kilgrave has been captured by Jessica and imprisoned in a special cell designed by Simpson.  It’s all pretty breathtaking stuff but it’s a big, big episode that feels a wee bit too crammed full after the thoughtfully paced previous episodes.

As we move into episode ten Kilgrave has murdered his mother, taken his father captive, escaped after taking control of Hogarth and episode ten features Simpson losing his mind thanks to the drugs he’s on, but it’s Hogarth that becomes the victim of Kilgrave as she’s forced to take him to a doctor after being injured in the previous episode. This doctor is Hogarth’s wife, Wendy, who she’s divorcing and in order to clean up loose ends Kilgrave orders Wendy to cut Hogarth 1,000 times. Hogarth’s mistress Pam smashes Wendy’s skull in so in one fell swoop Kilgrave has destroyed another three lives.

Having his dad as prisoner means Kilgrave can concentrate on making himself more powerful in order he can control more people over a wider radius, not to mention a longer period of time, but also so he can control Jessica who’s realised she’s immune to Kilgrave’s powers. Episode ten is a bit of a relative breather as it allows characters to breathe a bit, until the ending where an escaped Kilgrave holds members of the Kilgrave survivors group hostage as they stand on a bar with nooses round their necks. He’s also got Hope under his control again.

At this point Jessica’s faced with the bad guy decision as to who to save? Hope takes that decision out her hands by breaking a glass and sticking the broken end into her neck as Jessica saves the others from hanging. At the end of the episode as Hope lies dying Jessica promises her that she’ll kill Kilgrave.

The final three episodes are where the series becomes more like a superhero programme. Episode eleven features a knock-down fight between Simpson (who is now quite mental and is hunting down Kilgrave himself) and Jessica (who’d normally pound even a pumped up Simpson easily, but she’s broken her ribs in a car accident) so we get a pretty brutal fight that wrecks most of Jessica’s flat and is only stopped when Trish turns up, drops one of Simpson’s red pills and batters Simpson long enough to give Jessica the chance to put him down for good.

We also get more flashbacks to Jessica’s childhood in these episodes, including the start of Trish and Jessica’s friendship not to mention Jessica discovering what she can do.These scenes are lovely little scenes and the kids playing young Trish and Jessica are fantastic. One of the other highlights of these episodes is the character Malcolm who started the series under control of Kilgrave and hooked on drugs but by the end of the series becomes a strong, reliable person that helps people.

But by the end of episode 11, Luke returns but he’s under control of Kilgrave and is forced to blow up his bar as Kilgrave continues to torture Jessica. Episode 12 is the Luke and Jessica show as the pair work together (Luke obviously survives the bombing and Kilgrave isn’t aware of his super powers) to track Kilgrave down so they can kill him. At this point it’s worth mentioning the fact that there’s some setting up of either a second series of Jessica Jones or The Defenders as Trish tracks down who IGH are as they’re the organisation behind Simpson’s and possibly Jessica’s abilities. Frankly this bit of plot development sticks out like a sore thumb but back to the story..

Problem is that although Luke would normally be free of Kilgrave’s power after 12 hours, once Luke and Jessica find him, his powers have increased and in fact his powers last 24 and spread a wider radius so he’s still under orders to kill Jessica which results in a huge Avengers style fight (albeit on a vastly smaller budget) that only ends when Jessica fires a shotgun at Luke’s head at point blank range knocking him unconscious for most of the final episode which avoids the easy situation of having Luke and Jessica save the day.

The final episode is good but the end feels empty. That’s because it’s been built up that Jessica is going to defeat Kilgrave, or kill him, and then she’ll embrace her being a hero and we’re in Marvel territory. Before that though it’s worth mentioning the connective tissue between Jessica Jones and Daredevil with the appearance of Rosario Dawson as nurse Claire Temple who helps Jessica with Luke who is still unconscious, but after some pretty eye-watering procedures from Claire, is nursed into health.

The big climax is set on the New York harbourside as Kilgrave tries to escape on the boast owned by more of his victims. He thinks Jessica is walking into the trap he’s set, but it’s Trish wearing a pair of headphones to block out Kilgrave’s power. Jessica simply walks into the carnage as Kilgrave has ordered the large crowd on the harbourside to kill each other but it’s hear that Kilgrave orders Jessica to stop, and she does. Kilgrave’s got power over Jessica again.

Kilgrave takes control of Trish (who’s had her headphones knocked off), and quite clearly threatens to rape her in a line that’s vile but Tennant manages to deliver it perfectly. Ordering Jessica to smile to check that his powers work he agrees to swap Jessica with Trish, but Jessica’s been bluffing and once Kilgrave’s close to Jessica and everyone else is safe she lifts him off the ground and snaps his neck killing him. It’s the logical end to the series, and as Jessica returns to her office to find Luke gone and Malcolm cleaning things up the expectation is that once she listens to her voicemails and hears the cries for help that she embraces her heroic journey because this is how the superhero genre works right?

Nope, not here. Jessica’s just killed someone. They were a psychotic rapist bastard but she’s had to give up so much that she doesn’t want to be the hero people think she is because ultimately she was only trying to keep herself alive.But there’s a lot going on at the end as Malcolm takes a call for Jessica as the suggestion is that she’ll be helped into a more heroic role.

Making Jessica a hero at the end of the series would have been false. It wouldn’t have worked because she’s still recovering from the abuse dished out to her by Kilgrave, not to mention the effects of killing Luke’s wife  but Jessica’s not unchanged by the end of the series. She’s just overwhelmed so there’s the opening for a season 2 when it comes, which it seems isn’t going to be til after The Defenders in 2017 which is a pity. There’s a lot more that can be done with this idea, especially the idea that Jessica doesn’t want to be a hero but just do a job to pay the bills.

Jessica Jones is highly recommended. It does get into real superhero territory near the end, but for casual viewers this is probably Marvel’s most ‘adult’ project yet so I’d not recommend sticking the kids on front of this over Christmas to keep them quiet. If however you want something with a bit more meat to it than say, Ant-Man or the last Avengers film, then this is for you. The acting from all the cast is superb, but it’s Krysten Ritter and David Tennant that hold the programme together as both turn out the highest levels of acting, which is tough when both at times have to say some difficult lines. Also I have to say that they use New York as a character in itself here as the story moves from the cold, frozen months of winter through to spring and summer. They take every chance they can to liven up scenes of exposition or dialogue by using the city of New York as the backdrop and it’s perfect.

It’s a triumph for Marvel as was Daredevil who returns next spring for a second season, and think I believe Luke Cage is due near the end of next year with Iron Fist and The Defenders the year after.There’s also rumours that The Punisher’s appearance in Daredevil’s second season is going to spin the character off into his own Netflix series, plus the stories of a Netflix Moon Knight series (one of Marvel’s many Batman copies, but made more interesting because of it’s supernatural aspects) aren’t going away.If all this maintains the same quality then great, but I just hope they find the time to sneak in a second series of Jessica Jones in there so we can see more sooner rather than later.

Altered State part 3: Reflections on Scotland’s First Independence Referendum: Endgame

The last part of Altered State outlined the independence referendum campaign and the promises made by Better Together to ensure that Scotland remained part of the United Kingdom, for now at least.

This third part deals with the aftermath, including the SNP’s astonishing victory in May’s general election in Scotland. Like the other parts it’s essential viewing but there’s some  wise words of caution from Derek Bateman in regards pushing for a second referendum sooner rather than later because if that happens too soon and it’s lost (and right now polls are split but it’d still be a defeat for Independence) then it’s over. It’ll never happen.

That’s why many on the Unionist side are desperate for another referendum to happen ASAP because they know the only way to kill the dream of Scottish Independence is to kill it stone dead via the ballot box. That’s what they thought would happen in September 2014 and it didn’t.

So be wise, proceed with caution and a second referendum will come when it can be won. That’s not for the remainder of this decade, and here I disagree with Bateman who outlines a timescale of 20 years. I disagree, I think in a decade it’ll happen. I hope it happens.

Anyhow, enjoy the third part of this splendid series….

What I think of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1


35 years ago or so the great Jack Kirby created Devil Dinosaur for Marvel Comics near the end of his long career, and nobody liked it. Unless of course you were an utter nutter like me that loved the adventures of Moon Boy and his friend, Devil Dinosaur who was a large red Tyrannosaurus Rex. To the 10 year old me, it was brilliant.

Fast forward to 2015 and Marvel bring us Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur written by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare, with art by Natacha Bustos. In all the titles Marvel have been launching to get away from the miserable grim and gritty bollocks that they published, this one (even more than the delightful Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) stands out because it is Kirby, and even though Devil Dinosaur is one of the lesser Kirby creations, it’s still important to people like me.

But from the minute we’re introduced to Lunella LaFeyette it’s clear that this comic is going to try to charm the arse off you.


Lunella is a Reed Richards level genius who still happens to be stuck in school, and is trying to get to a better school where her abilities will be recognised and nurtured. Instead she’s mocked by classmates for her intelligence.


Lunella’s got not friends, though her parents love and care for her the problem is that she’s stuck and can’t get out of the situation she’s in. Thankfully something is coming her way in the shape of a particular red dinosaur.


We have the sad death of Moon Boy, some comic book stuff involving a Macguffin that enables Devil Dinosaur to travel to New York in the 21st century.


Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is a total and utter joy.This is a fabulous fun read that doesn’t get stuck in messy Marvel continuity as anyone can pick this issue up and they’ll get it right away. It also captures the feel of old Marvel Comics but done in a very modern way, and there’s not one page of grim grimness. Even Moon Boy’s death isn’t dwelt upon for too long, and it certainly isn’t violent or exploitative.

This comic is bloody fabulous. I recommend it to kids old and young as this is just joyous stuff and I’ll be back for next issue…

What I thought of Wild’s End: The Enemy Within #3

Thoughts about #1 and #2.


At the end of last issue Clive had been shot trying to escape, Susan and Peter escaped the British army prison and Cornfelt is struggling with the smack he took and is trying to explain himself to the British military commander.


As for Alph and Fawkes they’ve led the army to the point where the aliens first landed to see what’s still there while having the odd bit of banter with the army in the process.


Susan and Peter discover not just where the rest of the villagers are, but Susan makes a surprising discovery about Clive that changes her opinion of him, and as for Fawkes, he’s still being Fawkes and trying to make an escape if he can but has led the army to the place where his friend was murdered by the invaders.


By the end of this issue the paranoia of previous issues has been replaced with some serious tension as the army (or at least a small part of it) finally realises the scale of what it’s up against, not to mention they finally see part of what it can do.

I love the Wild’s End concept partly because of the original way it’s telling a possibly tedious story, and for the fact that whenever the story seems to be lagging a wee bit writer Dan Abnett ups the stakes for our characters and by the end of this issue, the stakes are well and truly upped so roll on next issue to see how they get out of the situation they’re in….

What I thought of Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1


30 years ago Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns came out from DC Comics and didn’t just redefine Batman, or show a creator at the very peak of his creative powers but it gave DC Comics (along with Watchmen) their first huge success of the modern era. It also did the thing of completely rewriting how people did superhero comics which in many cases, ended up with 4th rate Frank Miller clones trying hard to emulate him and generally being total shite, and the less said about Miller’s 2001 sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the better.

I still remember being a lad working in AKA Books and Comics in Glasgow opening up the boxes from that weeks delivery seeing that brilliant cover of that first issue and thinking even then that this was something special so it’s with a cautious sense of optimistic nostalgia that I approach Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

The first thing that’s obvious is that the lighter tone of The Dark Knight Strikes Again is pretty much gone as is Frank Miller’s art replaced here by Andy Kubert and Klaus Jansen’s passable Miller pastiche.


There’s been some debate online as to how much input co-writer Brian Azzarello has in this series, and it has to be said, it certainly reads like Miller but that internal monologue style he made popular is pretty easy to replicate, and frankly in this it feels tired. From the off, it all feels, well, like a 80’s or 90’s band getting back together for a tour but the only remaining member is the lead singer and he’s sort of lost his voice.


The actual story is fairly academic as it’s about getting Batman into fights, and this achieves that, plus there’s a bit about Superman and Wonder Woman which pads things out but the main story is over and done with quickly. Nothing new or exciting happens. It is quite literally going over old ground and each page reminds me of just how groundbreaking and exciting this isn’t.

Then there’s the back up strip set in the ‘Dark Knight Universe’ starring the Atom.


This is better, but it’s still not doing anything exciting or new. It’s just another grim superhero story. We’ve seen it, and like old bands cranking out gigs on the nostalgia circuit this manages to remind you sort of what it used to be like but it’s not the same. This isn’t fresh, and in fact it drips with being a tedious marketing ply with every page.

I can’t honestly think of one thing in this that hasn’t been done better by other writers over the last 30 years and in that sense this is a shame as it’s like watching a much loved band come out singing flat every other note. It still creaks through as a read but I just wish that these talented people involved tried something new and that Frank Miller thought better of his legacy than to leave it like this all battered and torn like a used copy of Razzle rather than add something glorious to it.

What I thought of Providence #6

Thoughts about #1#2#3,#4 and #5.


Last issue left Robert in the home of Hector, Alan Moore’s clear analogous version of Herbert West, and things are not as safe for Robert as he thinks, especially as Hector makes him a proposition over breakfast.


It turns out that James and Hector have to move on as their, behaviour and experiments have been uncovered by the university, so they leave Robert to get ready to move on as he continues to research his book.


After some conversation Robert finally get’s his hands on a copy of Hali’s Book.


Moore’s built up this book over the course of Providence so at the series halfway point we finally get what’s been the subject of Robert’s quest, and one of the things that’s been lurking in the background quietly creating a feeling of dread in that this book is a terrible, terrible thing.


After reading the book, Robert is confused to say the least, He’s got no idea what the date is, or how long he’s been in Manchester, or why the university’s youngest student Elspeth is taking such an interest in him. Meanwhile the slow sense of disquiet Moore’s built up starts to turn to unease as Black isn’t a bad man, far from it. He’s a good man, but I can’t help feeling that something quite terrible is going to come for him as some point in this story.

And it’s in Elspeth’s lodgings that something terrible happens.


And Moore doesn’t let up as to what happens, and it’s not easy to read as that terrible thing that’s been building up happening to Robert happens and it’s horrible. Really horrible, It’s also going to set off Moore’s critics but all is not as it seems here and did I say that Moore makes it completely horrible?

It’s brilliantly written, but it’s Jacen Burrows splendid art that brings home the horror. There’s little moments of subtlety in all the grotesque depictions of events that confirms Burrows as a fine comic artist that should be getting as much praise as Moore is for this series, because without a good artist this issue, and the final pages especially, wouldn’t work.

The slow burn in Providence pays off here and with another six issues to go things can’t get worse for poor Robert can they?

What I thought of Jessica Jones episodes 6-8

There’s spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned!



I wrote in my previous blog that so far Jessica Jones had skirted round the subject of rape, abuse it handled, but it’s not made clear if Kilgrave raped Jessica, or indeed, any of his victims. In episode six this ambiguity is truly dumped as the girl Hope, who Kilgrave ordered to kill her parents arranges for another prisoner to beat her up. Jessica and Jeri Hogarth thinks this is prison bullying, but it’s not. Hope paid the prisoner to beat her up in order to try to induce an abortion so she can’t carry to term the child growing in her that’s the result of Kilgrave raping her.

It’s a case that in episode six Kilgrave becomes more and more disturbing as we realise just exactly what he’s doing not just to Jessica, but to her friends like her upstairs neighbour who he commands to kill himself and leaves lying in Jessica’s bed. In one scene a comic character becomes a tragic victim of Kilgrave, but it becomes worse for him as Jessica plans to use his corpse to get herself imprisoned in a Supermax prison so she can keep her friends out of Kilgrave’s way and lure him to her at the same time.Of course we’re in the Marvel Universe, so the smart thing to do is go see Tony Stark and the Avengers. explain the situation and let Stark send one of his Iron Man drones to capture Kilgrave and sort things out. That series though only runs ten minutes…..

After ripping her neighbours head off from his corpse and taking it to the police, she finds out that Kilgrave isn’t going to allow that to happen as he’s taken control of everyone in the police station in a great, and quite menacing scene that shows the level of power Kilgrave has, plus it allows David Tennant to turn on his acting chops.

Problem is Kilgrave is tearing Jessica’s life apart but she’s alienating friends like Luke who she’s admitted to that she killed his wife while under the control of Kilgrave. This prompts Luke to call her a piece of shit, and to dump her. It’s tragic because Luke and Jessica worked as a couple, thanks mainly to the chemistry of Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter. Then Kilgrave steps things up by buying Jessica’s childhood home (the scene where is dawns on the viewer just what house Kilgrave is buying is a fantastic scene), so not even this happy memory is sacred. He’s defiled that place while his plan is to have Jessica come to him willingly rather than use his powers to get her to stay with him, but can Jessica escape with the help of Trish’s friend Simpson? Best get watching to find out!

At the end of episode eight Jessica Jones is on a par with Daredevil. There’s not been the procession of big set pieces there was in Daredevil, and the easy trick of making the series just about Luke Cage and Jessica Jones has been avoided (after all, there’s a solo Luke Cage series coming soon on Netflix) and Jessica’s supporting characters are a glorious mix of people. This though is a very focused story based upon the actions of two people that influence everyone around them so in some respects there are similarities between Kilgrave and Jessica.

I’d highly recommend Jessica Jones. If the last five episodes meet the quality of the first eight this this could be a series that surpasses Daredevil and that’s some feat if it does.