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‘Jessica Jones’ Is Great…Even If You Don’t Like Comic Books

Culture
Photo courtesy of Netflix

premiering this Friday

Jessica Jones is a seriously enjoyable and smart addition to the seemingly endless Marvel media takeover. You don't have to be a diehard comic-book fan to dig into this neo-noir Netflix series, which stars Krysten Ritter as a hard-drinking private dick with a secret superhero past, although it probably helps. Still, the show stands on its own two feet, and on the very capable (and strong) shoulders of Ritter. She's joined by Rachael Taylor as Jessica's best friend Trish Walker, Carrie-Anne Moss as the ruthless attorney Jeryn Hogarth, Mike Colter as the sexy and mysterious Luke Cage, and David Tennant as Kilgrave, the nexus of Jones' problems and, as it turns out, her most recent case.

When Jessica isn't solving seemingly impossible cases, she's getting blackout drunk in an effort to quell her PTSD. The cause of her trauma isn't made explicit at first—we get glimpses from flashbacks and nightmares—but her latest case makes it impossible for her to avoid any longer. Hope (Erin Moriarty) is a fresh-faced athlete from the Midwest whose parents hire Jessica to find their daughter after she goes missing, and the deeper Jessica gets into the case, the harder it is for her to squash down the events of the past and the horrible events that brought her to where she is now.

I jumped into Jessica Jones with almost no information beyond the marketing that's been all over the Web. I was curious to see if the show could stand on its own, if it made any sense, or offered any pleasure to a person who wasn't busy filling in the blanks of the characters' backstories or seeking out the connective tissue between the various properties. It's easy to pander or to let viewers do the extra footwork—and to be sure, it can be really fun to put the puzzle pieces together if you're a fan—but it takes creativity and smarts to create a narrative that can be enjoyed on its own merits. The cool thing is that it is possible to 100 percent enjoy Jones as a newbie to the Marvel world, and I would imagine that Marvel fans will find it even more delightful. 

Like Matt Murdock in Daredevil, the first Netflix Marvel series, Jessica Jones lives in Hell's Kitchen, in a New York City that was devastated by the fight between the Avengers and Loki, as seen in The Avengers. There are some allusions to this event, but it's not as central to the plot as in Daredevil. And if you've read anything about the Marvel/Netflix deal, you know something's up with Luke, the hot bar owner that Jessica spends her free time spying on, because he's got his own spin-off coming, as well. 

Digging deeper into its Marvel roots reveals something especially interesting, which is that showrunner and executive producer Melissa Rosenberg flipped the gender of Jeryn Hogarth. There's no fuss about the fact that Hogarth is a lesbian either, other than the fact that her affair with her secretary Pam (Susie Abromeit) is contributing to a messy breakup with her wife. There are other changes as well, but that's the most obvious and the one least likely to give away any pertinent details about the story.

Rosenberg is probably best known for her Twilight scripts than anything else until now. Rosenberg's scripts improved upon the books quite a bit, but there's only so much you can do with source material that has a legit love triangle between a sparkly vampire, a simpering teen, and a werewolf who eventually falls in love with her former crush's vampire baby. What's particularly delicious about Jessica Jones—aside from all the big-screen-worthy action scenes—is that it can be read as an indictment of Twilight's idea of love and romance. While it's all well and good to separate fantasy from reality, people who engage in Edward's behavior in real life are stalkers, or worse.

In Jessica Jones, the person who acts most like Edward is the show's villain, and our heroine is doing everything within her power to break his hold on her and everyone else he comes across. She is the definition of an unlikeable protagonist; she's spiky and self-destructive, and she has done (and will probably do even more) unforgivable things. I can't wait to find out just what they will be.

Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Which one, though?

Kim Kardashian is suing fast fashion retailer Missguided, claiming that the brand uses her image to spark interest in and sell its clothing. This lawsuit comes a few days after a theory, that she may be selling her own vintage clothing designs to fast fashion brands so that they can rip them off, made its rounds on the internet.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kardashian's attorney Michael Kump writes that "Missguided systematically uses the names and images of Kardashian and other celebrities to advertise and spark interest in its website and clothing." Other celebrities that the brand has tagged on its Instagram include Cardi B and Dua Lipa, along with the other members of the Kardashian-Jenner family.

Kump uses the example of the Yeezy dress that Kim posted to Instagram, which was ripped off by the brand within a couple of hours. "Recently, for example, after Kardashian posted a photo on Instagram of a dress that was made for her... Missguided quickly responded with its own Instagram post... boasting that it would be ripping off the design within 'a few days,'" Kump continues. "Missguided purposefully inserted Kardashian's Instagram username (@KimKardashian) into its post to capitalize on her celebrity status and social media following in promoting the sale of its upcoming product."

Kump also draws attention to the fact that the brand uses Kardashian's name so much that it may lead others to believe that she works with the brand, which, he wants to make clear, she does not: "Missguided's U.S. website has included entire pages that are devoted solely to the sale of clothing inspired by Kardashian, and on which Kardashian's name and likeness are prominently used without her permission to promote the products."

Some are noting that it's suspicious that Kardashian is not suing Fashion Nova, as well, since the brand most recently ripped off a vintage Mugler gown that Kardashian wore. Though it may be harder for Kardashian to make any claims since timestamps have revealed that the dress was made before Kardashian premiered the dress.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.

He previously claimed to be a victim of a hate crime

According to reports, actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested by the Chicago Police Department. As CNN outlines, he's facing a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report. If found guilty, he could face up to three years in prison.

The Empire star previously claimed that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime on January 29. He alleged that two masked men attacked him, tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and yelled, "This is MAGA country!" Brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo were eventually arrested and brought in for questioning, during which news broke that one appeared on Empire and the other worked as Smollett's personal trainer. Now, according to both men and reports, it's being said that Smollett paid them to "orchestrate" the attack.

Smollett's attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, have issued a statement regarding their client's defense. "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," they told Deadline. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."

If this is all true, this unfortunate turn of events should in no way take away from the fact that there is an abundant number of racially and sexually motivated attacks happening all of the time. They also still remain vastly underreported, so it's essential to listen to alleged victims, always.

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