Saturday, March 11, 2006

Looking back on The Pulse

Brian Michael Bendis' The Pulse came to a conclusion this week, after a fourteen issue run. Featuring Bendis' beloved character Jessica Jones from the acclaimed Max title Alias, this title never lived up to its predecessor. The move from Alias to The Pulse saw a few changes that weren't necessarily bad for the story: It could use mainstream characters, but had to cut out the extravagant cussing from the mature title. It shifted Jessica from a private eye to a reporter, where she was able to interact more with Marvel Universe's big stars. The tone became lighter in tone with more supporting characters. It still couldn't recapture the magic of Alias, however. I think a big part of the problem was that The Pulse became Bendis' book to examine things from his other projects. There was a big House of M issue, a drawn-out Secret War story...the stars of the story just weren't being flushed out in light of the company-wide crossovers. The only issue where something relevant is added to the character of Jessica Jones was really in this final issue, where we are treated to a glimpse of Jessica's past, that in which she meets Luke Cage amid a brief stint as a "darker" superhero. Even Alias artist, Michael Gaydos, coming on to the title wasn't enough to save the series. And looking back, it seemed like it never really found its footing. It was supposed to be a glimpse into the lives of the reporters from The Daily Bugle. It could have been cool to witness these stories and it certainly didn't upset me to see Jessica Jones working in a different environment...unfortunately, with the "special" issues of The Pulse, the initial premise was shifted to the backburner and was never really used. Things like Luke Cage being attacked in wake of Secret War kept getting in the way of this being a great book, and ultimately, of finding a voice.

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