Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogathon 05: The Pulse: Secret War

[Discussed in this post: The Pulse #6-9.]

This story basically expands on the Luke Cage/Jessica Jones subplot from Secret War as she tries to figure out what the hell has happened that cause someone to be in their apartment when they got home and make it blow up.

Luke is in critical condition because the doctors can't get through his skin and Jessica is freaking out. When Fury and Cap show up, things get worse as something happens at the hospital (the beginning of the final fight from Secret War) and, during that time, Luke disappears -- presumably taken by Danny Rand somewhere safe. Except Jessica doesn't know where and can't get ahold of him.

This story is a rough one for Jessica as she spends most of it utterly confused and freaked out, clinging to the idea that all that matters is keeping her baby safe. That baby keeps her sane here. She eventually gets together with Ben Urich and they go about trying to figure out what's happened. Urich gets a call from an old SHIELD source that hints that Fury has fucked up -- and it's okay to write about it. This is an oddity, because, normally, Fury and SHIELD are hands off, because the media assumes that if it's something that needs to be printed, they'll be told (otherwise, lives may be in danger -- a lot of lives)... and, if they don't play by SHIELD's rules, they'll lose all access to everything in the government. So, to suddenly be told that writing a story about Fury is okay... well, something must have changed.

During this time, Jessica is kidnapped by Hydra who make her an offer, which she rejects. She's sent to the wrong place after being told Luke was upstate and encounters Wolverine. Then it dawns on Urich where Luke will be and we get a scene that still kind of bugs me: Danny basically tells Jessica to fuck off. This scene never rang true for me and still doesn't. Danny's reasoning seems solid: he doesn't really know Jessica and Luke's life is in danger. Except, they were both by Luke's side at the hospital. Obviously she's not a threat. It's presented as a momentary lapse in judgment as the others tell him to shut up, but it really stands out. It isn't a momentary lapse in judgement since they purposefully didn't tell Jessica where Luke is -- all of them.

Jessica, though, covers for Danny when Luke asks how he's been treating her, which I think is nice. She understands what Luke needs then, while Danny doesn't. A good idea, showing how Luke's closest relationship has changed from Danny to Jessica, but done in a manner that's forced.

I really like how this story ends with Jameson deciding not to run the story about Fury and his 'secret war' even though he can. It shows an understanding that some things are more important than the news and need to stay secret. I assume some other media outlet eventually told the story, though.

Brent Anderson and Michael Lark provide the art here and what can you say about these two guys? They're very, very good. Anderson does the frantic, tired Jessica very well -- same with the fucked up Logan who is damn near suicidal after having his brain messed with again. Anderson is a respected artist, but he deserves more, people. Lark, too, does great work. It's no coincidence that Bendis's best work is accompanied by great art -- his method of writing relies on artists who can depict real human emotion or it falls a bit flat.

As we'll see in 30 minutes with New Avengers: Breakout.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]