Things in Print Thursday :: monthly book review [Alias]

11 Aug

Wait! It’s August. Yeah, I know, I had a hard time tracking down Alias and then it’s not exactly short and also I was finishing grad school so leave me alone.

So I got off my ass to read Alias, the super-R Jessica Jones series, because in August at some point I was told I could read about PTSD. This is an important and serious issue, and as y’all saw the things coming up online just seemed miserable, and besides I meant to read this anyway, just for doing’s sake.


Here is the interesting thing about Alias v. Jessica Jones s1. Alias is act first, ask questions much later. Alias wanted to throw you into the grit of Jessica’s life and shade the clues about the PTSD in later (which is cool in a way, because it means – like Corinne Duyvis not saying the word “autistic” for 40-some pages – you get a chance to get to know the protagonist without constantly having this specific thing shoved down your throat). Alias introduces the character and then (without actually saying the term PTSD) lets you know “oh yeah, this thing happened.” Jessica Jones s1 was a bit more direct about the trauma and also spent more time actually addressing it.

Here is the interesting thing about Alias v. the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. I don’t have a lot of reference for the comic book versions of a lot of characters besides what I’ve heard secondhand, but both the personalities and the overall landscape of the situation is just so different sometimes. In an interesting way, in a way that makes sense, but still. Jess felt pretty much like the Jess I’ve already met, but many of the auxiliary characters required a lot of constant reminding that it wasn’t going to be exactly the same. (For example, I legitimately cannot imagine a single character in the MCU willingly setting Scott Lang up with anyone, let alone Jess, but hey.)

Here is the interesting thing about Alias generally. Things about Jess are presented unflinchingly. Sometimes she is an asshole. Sometimes she does bad things. The narrative doesn’t try to say why you should forgive her these things, the narrative just says “okay, well, here’s the deal” and lets you make up your own mind and that is 100000x better than a laundry list of pity. It’s more narratively effective.

And it’s a narrative that’s not about PTSD, but has a central character with PTSD, that she’s allowed to deal with in the course of the otherwise-directed narrative. I don’t know, exactly. That’s what I’m trying to go for in these books: books featuring but not about differences. So that was successful.

–your fangirl heroine.



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