Shiny Shelf

Alias: Come Home

By Jim Smith on 01 March 2003

WARNING! Contains spoilers!

No, not the Jennifer Garner TV show, but the Marvel MAX comic from the pen of shelf favourite Brian Michael Bendis. ‘Alias’, in case you’re unfamiliar with it, is about Jessica Jones, former superhero and current detective. It’s a street level book, where cases concern runaway girls and pickpockets, where people smoke, swear and wig out on coffee and where the grand technicolour canvas of the Marvel universe intrudes only briefly and usually for ironic effect.

‘Alias’ is the Marvel comic book where characters bitch about who slept with who, and who walked out on who and why. It’s the one where people point out that having a conversation about your personal life while standing within half a mile of Matt ’super sensitive hearing’ Murdock ain’t that smart and where people worry about the fact that their lifestyle may consist simply of them drinking too much. It’s unique in that respect, and it’s also consistently witty, well plotted and brilliant, with beautiful art from Michael Gaydos (who worked on ‘The Crow’, but we’ll forgive him that).

This volume collects issues # 11 – # 15 of the series and is labelled ‘Vol. 2′ despite being the first collection from the monthly book. No, I don’t understand that either, but ‘Vol. 1′ is currently scheduled to be released in a few weeks time. That’s a shame, because much of the content of this TP follows on by necessity from the earlier issues. ‘Alias’ has that soapy vibe that Bendis brings to much of his work, the extended confrontation between Jessica and Luke Cage is great character comedy in its own right, for sure, but it works better if you’ve actually seen what it is they’re talking about.

The main story in ‘Come Home’ concerns Jessica journeying upstate to find a teenage runaway whose estranged parents want her back. It’s a well-judged tale which uses mutants and metaphor to effectively illustrate small town bigotry and closed mindedness – the writers of JSA would do well to take note that this is the way to get comic books to engage with the real world.

You can buy ‘Alias: Come Home’ from our chums at Amazon

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