Nov 23, 2015

Luke Cage vs Killgrave the Purple Man

Jessica Jones: From Marvel Max to Netflix Star, Part 2
Luke Cage vs Killgrave the Purple Man
Ben Smith


If you’re like me, then you’ve spent the weekend devouring Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix.  I’ve already covered Jessica’s debut in the comics, in the series Alias, where she overcomes a traumatic past to start a new life with Luke Cage.  The show decides to focus on the source of that trauma, the mind-controlling Kilgrave (Killgrave in the comics, Kilgrave in the show), and his obsession with Jessica.  Jessica has to balance a complicated new relationship with Luke Cage, with finding and stopping Kilgrave, all while keeping her friends safe.  (One of the great things about a show like this, I had no idea if my favorites, Trish and Malcolm, were going to make it out alive.  So many times it looked like they were about to meet their end, and every time I was prepared to lose it.)  It’s a compelling look at becoming a hero, even when she doesn’t necessarily want to be one.

In the show, Luke Cage never did get a chance to get his revenge on Kilgrave, but in the comic, he very much did.

In the pages of New Avengers (also written by Brian Michael Bendis, the co-creator of Jessica Jones) a collection of heroes on scene during a supervillain prison breakout try valiantly to contain the situation.  Luke Cage is fighting alongside Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man when he comes face to face with Jessica’s former tormentor, the Purple Man.

Unlike in the Netflix show, Luke and Killgrave did not cross paths in Alias.  Jessica and Luke didn’t decide to further their relationship until after she had already overcome and beaten Killgrave.  This is the first time that Luke Cage has crossed paths with the man that mentally raped his current girlfriend and future wife.  It’s the psycho ex-boyfriend taken to the extreme, comics style.

Killgrave nonchalantly commands Luke to kill his friends, and then kill himself, in a stunning cliffhanger to the second issue.  (I can’t imagine anything more terrible than being controlled by the one person you hate most in all the world.  The person that destroyed the life of the woman you now love.)

As the next issue opens, Killgrave is gloating in his typical asshole manner, as he thinks he has Luke Cage under his command.

However, Luke lets Killgrave in on a little secret.  His powers aren’t working right now.

And then he unleashes one of the most satisfying beatings in the history of comic books.

Thankfully, Captain America is there to keep him from going too far.  (The Purple Man definitely falls into that Joker realm of villains in comics.  You don’t want to kill him because then you have to stop using him, or resurrect him, but there’s really no reason he shouldn’t be terminated.)

One of the great things about the adaptation of comics to movies and television, is that an extremely minor character like the Purple Man can become one of the most dangerous villains in all of the Marvel cinematic universe.  He’s often been easily overcome in the comics, but when you translate his powers to a live-action setting, he is nearly unbeatable.  Not to mention the overwhelming creepiness of his abilities and how he uses them.  It’s really not easy to make the skull-faced Nazi look better in comparison, but that’s just how awful Kilgrave is.

With Daredevil and now Jessica Jones, Marvel and Netflix have proven that they are an unbeatable partnership.  As great as Daredevil was, and at the time I believe I called it one of the best true superhero adaptations ever (He called it unquestionably the best superhero TV show ever. - Cranky Editor Man), I found myself thinking several times that Jessica Jones was even better (I agree. - Cranky Editor Man).  Some of that may be due to recency, or the thrill of truly not knowing what was going to happen next.  (Like I said earlier, I never knew what characters were going to survive in Jessica Jones.  Watching Daredevil, you kinda know that Foggy and Karen are going to make it.  Urich too, but, they proved me wrong with that one.)

One thing’s for sure. They’ve guaranteed that every new series that debuts is instant appointment television for me.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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