Everything You Need to Know About Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Most Badass Detective


Everything You Need to Know About Jessica Jones, Marvel's Most Badass Detective

Just over a month from now, Marvel’s next TV show debuts, featuring Jessica Jones. But who is Jessica? She’s not as well known as Daredevil or the Agents of SHIELD, even though she spent some time as an Avenger in the comics. So here’s everything you need to know about Marvel’s most superheroic detective.

AKA Jessica Campbell

Everything You Need to Know About Jessica Jones, Marvel's Most Badass Detective

Jessica Jones made her debut in the comic Alias by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos in November 2001, one of the first launch comics of Marvel’s new, R-Rated comics imprint MAX—but Alias began with Jessica not as a superhero, but a private investigator, working around the fringe of New York’s superhero scene and solving cases. Over the course of the comic’s 28 issues, Bendis and Gaydos slowly peeled back layers of Jessica’s history, including her superhero origins. And we learned how she began as Jessica Campbell.

Jessica’s birth parents were killed in the same accident that granted her superhuman abilities: a chemical spill during a car crash that left her in a coma for months. After being orphaned and taken in by the Jones family, Jessica’s powers—superhuman strength, flight, and limited invulnerability—began to emerge. She kept her powers secret however, until she saw Spider-Man battle Sandman at her High School (not knowing that Spider-Man was her classmate and high school crush, Peter Parker), and this set her on the path to superhero-dom.

AKA Jewel

Everything You Need to Know About Jessica Jones, Marvel's Most Badass Detective

Jessica’s first superhero identity was Jewel, and she had a minor career as a superhero of little renown. By the time Alias begins, Jessica has already given up her career as Jewel, and fans had to wait for the final arc of the series—The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones—to discover just why. For this storyline, Bendis revived an equally obscure comic character for Jewel to go up against.

One of the major limitations of MAX as an imprint was that, although its comics took place in the main Marvel Comics universe, it was heavily restricted in the characters who could appear in its pages. Marvel didn’t want the image of their most iconic (and kid-friendly) heroes to be associated with the adult content of the MAX comics, so Jessica’s main villain—and the source of much consternation about the Netflix adaptation, where he’ll be played by David Tennant—was a rarely used character from the pages of Daredevil: Zebediah Killgrave.

AKA The Purple Man

Killgrave, better known by his villain name, The Purple Man, first appeared in Daredevil #4 in the 1960s, but had faded from Marvel Comics almost entirely by the 1980s as Daredevil himself went underwent a gritty semi-reboot—that is, until Alias.

Killgrave was a former spy who, while on a mission, was doused in a mysterious gas that turned his skin purple and gave him the power to overwhelm the minds of other people using pheromones. Basically, Killgrave could get people to obey his every command. Adopting the Purple Man moniker, Killgrave turned to violent crime: most infamously his kidnap and mental torture of Jewel.

Everything You Need to Know About Jessica Jones, Marvel's Most Badass Detective

Following a minor run in with Killgrave, Jessica fell prey to his mind control, and became a horrifying tool for the criminal. For eight months, Killgrave abused Jessica psychologically and physically, using his powers to make her want to stay and endure his torture, in a sort of mentally-induced Stockholm syndrome. Eventually, in a fit of rage, Killgrave commanded Jessica to kill Daredevil, sending her to Avengers Mansion. The further she strayed from Killgrave, however, the less strong his grip over her grew. But it wasn’t enough for Jessica to break free.

She attacked the Scarlet Witch (mistaking her red costume for Daredevil’s), and with the Avengers unfamiliar with her career as Jewel—and unaware that she was under Killgrave’s control—they attacked Jessica savagely, as she tried to flee the Mansion. Only the pleas of then-Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers got the team to stop attacking her, but they left Jessica in a coma.

AKA Jessica Jones

When she awoke from her coma, Jessica underwent psychic therapy with Jean Grey to ensure Killgrave could never control her again—but Jessica was still traumatized, and horrified with the world of superheroics. The violation she’d endured at the hands of Killgrave, combined with the fact that no superhero cared enough about her to realize she was missing for nearly a year, saw her discard the Jewel persona and become the P.I. we met at the start of Alias.

Everything You Need to Know About Jessica Jones, Marvel's Most Badass Detective

But by the time Jessica’s origins had been revealed, Bendis and Gaydos were increasingly frustrated at the restrictions placed upon Alias at MAX. Alias came to an end, and the team brought Jessica and its cast of characters over to a new ongoing series, The Pulse, in 2004. Instead of a Private Investigator, Jessica was now a special consultant for The Daily Bugle’s “Pulse” section, which focused on superhero-related stories. At the same time, Jessica entered a committed relationship with Luke Cage, a confidant and sometimes-bodyguard who had appeared throughout Alias, culminating in a relationship that began after Jessica became pregnant with Cage’s child.

AKA Jewel… Again

Everything You Need to Know About Jessica Jones, Marvel's Most Badass Detective

Following the birth of her child, Danielle (named after Luke’s best friend, Danny Rand/The Iron Fist), Jessica and Luke got married. Jessica left the Bugle and became a stay-at-home mother, while Cage worked with the Avengers. And for a while, she became a background character in both Young Avengers and New Avengers. Jessica served as a grounding force for the heroes around her as well as Luke, a reminder of the lives they lead outside of their costumes—as well as to highlight the increasing danger of the superhero life as part of not one, but two separate Marvel events.

During the height of Civil War, Jessica found herself at odds with her husband, who joined Captain America’s anti-registration Secret Avengers—while she chose to register, so she could keep their daughter safe instead of going on the run. Shortly after, during the Skrull Invasion, Danielle was kidnapped, eventually sparking Jessica to return to the superhero identity of Jewel, so she could inspire and protect her child. As Jewel, Jessica became a major member of the New Avengers during the 2010 New Avengers comic series… but her original name didn’t last long.

AKA Power Woman

Everything You Need to Know About Jessica Jones, Marvel's Most Badass Detective

Just eight issues later, to honor her husband’s hero name of Power Man, Jessica ditched Jewel’s identity altogether and became Power Woman. She served with the New Avengers for two years, but the drawbacks of a superhero life caught up with her once more.

Although Danielle was kept well guarded at the Avengers Mansion (by Squirrel Girl, acting as the child’s nanny at the behest of Cage and Jones), eventually the stress of potential threat on the Mansion led to Jessica retiring yet again—much to the chagrin of Luke, although her husband eventually relented. The pair left Avengers Mansion and the New Avengers team altogether, moving to New York to begin a new life together… before Cage, to Jessica’s displeasure, began his own Avengers spinoff group, the Mighty Avengers. This time, however, Jessica Jones-Cage decided not to join him, only to offer support while she looked after Danielle.

AKA Jessica Jones… Again

The Mighty Avengers, featuring Jessica in a supporting role, continued up until this year’s Secret Wars, and the eventual reboot of the Marvel Comics Universe in “All-New, All-Different”—but both Jessica and her husband have yet to be seen in any of the 60 upcoming comic series planned as part of Marvel’s big reboot.

It’s hard to tell where Jessica’s rocky career as a superhero and mother will take her next: but with both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage heading to Netflix within the next 12 months, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her enter the spotlight again. Perhaps she’ll be following the format of the TV series and returning to her private investigator roots once more, 14 years after Alias hit shelves.

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Orange Wine Looks Like Pee But Tastes Like Magic


Orange Wine Looks Like Pee But Tastes Like Magic

“What is it?” the innocent wine drinker asks as she stares at a glass of golden grape nectar. It smells like a light red wine, but it looks like a dark white wine. It tastes like nothing you’ve had before. It is orange wine, and it is delicious.

The more you learn about orange wine, though, the more questions you’ll have. Who drinks it? What makes it different? When was it first bottled? Where is it made? And seriously: why is it orange?

It’s not all that complicated, actually. In fact, the story of orange wine informs the history of winemaking in general. Orange wine is also making a bit of a comeback—and for good reason.

The Background

Orange wine combines the ingredients of white wine with the process of red wine. Simply put, the vintner crushes white grapes and then lets the juice chill out with the skins on for a period of time. (The skins are immediately removed when making white wine.) Leaving the skins on gives the wine that golden hue as well as tannins and complexity normally found only in red wines.

This is actually how wine was made thousands of years ago in the Caucasus mountains. While methods evolved elsewhere in the world, people in present-day Georgia never stopped making wine with the skins on. We can also thank the people of Georgia for helping jumpstart the resurgence of orange wine’s popularity.

Orange Wine Looks Like Pee But Tastes Like Magic

Celebrated Italian winemaker Friulian Josko Gravner drew inspiration from Georgia in the 1990s. After visiting some California vineyards, Gravner lost faith in modern winemaking techniques and the increasingly common use of chemicals in the winemaking process. So he started making wine the Georgian way. Because the method requires leaving the skins on, no chemicals can be sprayed on the grapes when they’re growing, and Gravner also eschews the use of chemicals during fermentation and bottling.

Many people say Gravner deserves sole credit for sparking the global craze for orange wine. In fact, you can still buy a bottle of his legendary Riserva if you’re lucky enough to find it. Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled for orange wines from Georgia as well as Italy and Slovenia. As more vineyards get on board, you’ll find orange wines made anywhere from California to Australia.

The Taste

Invariably, the unique flavor of orange wine will surprise you. It doesn’t taste like white wine, and it doesn’t taste quite like red. And it definitely doesn’t taste like oranges.

It’s no surprise, then, that some in the wine community prefer to call orange wine “amber wine.” In fact, amber is a better word to describe the actual color of the wine. You’ll notice that color with the first pour. I hate to admit it, but it kind of looks like pee. Well, pee after a night of heavy drinking.

Orange Wine Looks Like Pee But Tastes Like Magic

The aroma’s next. Orange wine does smell a bit like red wine but with a little less of an edge. You can smell the dryness, but it’s not quite astringent. You’ll also get some of the fruity notes that you might expect from a rosé, another type of skin contact wine.

Now about that flavor. Los Angeles-based wine guru Lou Amdur described it best in a recent conversation. “It tastes like when you’re a kid and get a little illicit sip of booze from your aunt’s glass: ‘Wow that burns but I kind of like it.’” Lou told me. “It tastes like a watered-down bourbon.”

Orange Wine Looks Like Pee But Tastes Like Magic

I’m not quite sure I get the watered-down detail, but there’s definitely something revelatory about that first taste. You’ll expect the wine to be sweet, but instead, you’ll get socked by the dryness. Depending on how it was made, you might also get some smoky flavors.

“The longer the skin sits on the grape, you start to get these smoky flavors which is really weird,” explains Lou. “Usually with smokiness I associated it with toasted barrels or some wines from volcanic soils.” But with an orange wine, it’s just part of the fun.

The Challenge

Here’s the rub. Orange wine is not easy to find. It took me several tries before I ended up at Flatiron Wines in Manhattan. (Lou told me to go there.) They recommended an Italian skin contact wine from Paolo Bea Santa Chiara for $40 and a Chardakhi from Iago’s Winey in Georgia. The latter sells for about $17 and was the favorite of the two at a recent tasting in the Gawker offices.

Time will tell if orange wine remains as something more than a passing craze. However, Lou said it best when I asked him about the apparent trendiness.

“How can this possibly been a trend?” Lou told me. “We’ve been doing it for about 10,000 y ears. It’s not really a trend and if it were so what? That’s how wine remains relevant and a living thing to us is playing around with it. We’ve been doing it for about 10,000 years. We’ve only been making bread for about 5,000 years.”

Lou’s right about another thing, too. Drinking orange wine does feel like tasting wine for the first time.

Orange Wine Looks Like Pee But Tastes Like Magic

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