Issue Date: January 2004
Story Title: Purple, Part 5
Staff: Brian Michael Bendis (story), Michael Gaydos (art), Matt Hollingsworth (colors), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letters), David Mack (cover), Marc Sumerak (assistant editor), Andy Schmidt (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)
In Ant-Man’s apartment, Jessica Jones discovers him murdered on his bed. Purple Man quickly reveals himself and explains that he is just tampering with Jessica’s mind, mentally controlling her and forcing her to see horrible things. Eager to plunge the city into chaos, he takes her with him to witness everything. Indeed, they walk in the streets, where Purple Man mentally coerces the crowd into brutally attacking each other. Suddenly, a psychic projection of Jean Grey appears before Jessica. Phoenix reveals that, years ago, while helping Jessica out of her coma, she planted a psychic defense trigger in her mind – a trigger which could potentially enable Jessica to overcome the Purple Man’s influence, if need ever arose again. Only Jessica can activate it, though. When Purple Man gleefully commands Jessica to attack the Avengers, who have just shown up to oppose him, Jessica manages to break free from his influence and knocks him out with a punch, saving the day and earning everyone’s respect. Later, she meets with Ant-Man, only to reveal that she is pregnant – and he is not the father. A disenchanted Ant-Man terminates their relationship. In the evening, Jessica catches up with Luke Cage, who confesses he thinks about her a lot, in turn prompting Jessica to reveal her pregnancy – and the baby is very much his. Jessica intends to keep it and an equally happy Luke welcomes the new chapter in their lives.
In Ant-Man’s apartment, a hysterical Jessica is howling incessantly. She has just discovered Ant Man, aka Scott Lang, dead on his bed, his throat slit, his complexion bearing a bluish hue, his lifeless eyes wide open, his entire body covered in millions of ants. Jessica can’t bring herself to stop screaming, in spite of herself: “Aaaggghhh! Oh my God! Somebody! Oh please! Oh please!”
In a chair next to the bed sits Purple Man, comfortable and relaxed, a bottle of beer in hand. Addressing directly the readers, an apathetic Purple Man asks them if this is Jessica’s comic book then. He commends it: subtle yet expressive artwork. Mainstream with just a touch of indy. Powerful color palette – interesting. He’s seen worse and been in worse. Suddenly annoyed by Jessica’s constant yelping, Purple Man urges her to be quiet. She’s annoying him already and it’s only page one.
“Oh my God! You… you bastard! You killed him! You killed him,” Jessica snaps. “Well, I am the bad guy,” Purple Man devilishly grins and raises his bottle, as if to make a toast. However, he clarifies he did not. He didn’t kill anyone today, yet. Jessica is about to tell him something, when Purple Man shushes her again. He explains that the interesting part of the mind control power is that he can make her do whatever he wants. He’s being honest here. Seeing Jessica lying there with her insipid, B-list, hack Avenger boyfriend made him want to see Jessica see Ant-Man dead, so he asked her to see him dead.
“There, see?” he points at the bed, where Jessica now sees that Scott is clearly alive and well. Purple Man states the obvious: Ant-Man is just lying there quietly like Purple Man told him to, giving him the snake eye. Purple Man warns Ant-Man to stop giving him that look. He didn’t kill Scott because it’s cheap drama compared to what he plans on doing today. But that doesn’t mean he can’t and won’t. Purple Man wants Scott to look at him like he looks at her, Jessica. He mentally commands Ant-Man to look at him like he wants to f*ck him because he’s the best a third-rate character like him could do. Complying immediately, Ant-Man’s facial expression changes from one of hatred into one of lust. “Close enough,” a satisfied Purple Man remarks.
He orders Jessica to stand up. He knows this is all very upsetting, but that’s clearly the desired effect. Being under his control, Jessica is unable to form coherent speech, uttering only incomprehensible grunts. Purple Man remarks this is just the first in what he hopes will be many, many reminders of how special she is to him and how much he detests her whore ways. He sarcastically notes that this may be her book but this is his time.
“Oh, wait! Look at that!” he suddenly exclaims in enthusiasm – it’s her worst nightmare! Before her, Jessica sees the costumed Carol Danvers in bed, groped simultaneously by Luke Cage and Ant-Man, all with lascivious expressions and wearing their costumes. “Nnoooo!” Jessica screams, closing her eyes, incapable of digesting what she sees before her. Purple Man wishes he could see what she sees, but he can’t; that’s how this little plot device works. He announces he has to go out and…
Suddenly vexed by Jessica’s yammering, he orders her to stop; she’s annoying him. Jessica stops, only letting out soft grunts. “Better,” he remarks. He announces he has to go outside and do something violent and chaotic, as it is his destiny, to end this. What he would like is Jessica to come with him and witness his big scene. And then, soon after, the two of them are going to have a meaningful and final confrontation. Addressing Ant-Man, he warns him that he’s not done with him… but this part of the story doesn’t involve him. “Lie here and dream of me,” he orders Scott.
Walking in the streets of the city, with the docile Jessica by his side, Purple Man explains that the hardest part is getting their attention. And he doesn’t mean these faceless extras, the crowd. He’s talking about the big guest stars. It gets so much nowadays to take little superheroes off their angst-ridden ass*s! One has really got to put on a show! “You hear that, drones? I need a show!” Purple Man shouts to the crowd. He mentally commands everyone to beat up the person to their left until that person is dead!
Chaos immediately ensues, as the crowd goes savage. They proceed to brutally bash each other, by any means necessary, using crowbars and guns, gouging eyes, bludgeoning and strangling. “Won’t be long now,” a thrilled Purple Man exclaims with a gleeful smile. The dutiful Jessica retains her blank expression of stoicism.
Suddenly, Jean Grey appears before Jessica in a psychic projection. Jean greets her and wonders if Jessica remembers her; it’s been a couple of years. Jessica hesitantly recognizes her: she’s Jean Grey. She’s one of the X-Men. Phoenix confirms that: she helped Jessica out of her coma during her first Killgrave incident. She clarifies this isn’t really her, though. This is just a psychic projection of her. She stresses she doesn’t have much time. They have their hands full where her actual body is. She asks Jessica if she knows what a psychic defense trigger is.
“What?” a confused Jessica exclaims. A psychic defense trigger, Phoenix repeats. She explains it’s something she planted in Jessica’s head during their recovery sessions together. “A what?” an utterly perplexed Jessica repeats. Pointing at Jessica’s forehead, Jean recalls that Jessica was worried about Killgrave taking control of her again. Jean thought something like this might work. The good is, Jessica doesn’t have to be under his control anymore, if she doesn’t want to. But it is Jessica who has to make the decision. Phoenix can’t make it work for her. Jessica has to trigger it – hence the word “trigger”. “I… I can end this?” Jessica exclaims in disbelief. “Please, do,” Jean urges her and her psychic projection vanishes.
While the outburst of senseless, massive violence around them escalating, an enthused Purple Man sees the Avengers approaching. “Here they come… Here comes the big crossover team-up…” he exclaims in satisfaction. Warbird aka Carol Danvers orders Killgrave to stand down. She stresses that they don’t want to open fire on a civilian area but they will. She orders him to surrender now.
Killgrave reveals to Jessica that this is why he brought her here. He wants her to fly up there and kill them one of them, anyone; her choice. Jessica does nothing, only staring at him blankly. Rolling his eyes with impatience, Purple Man grumbles that if she’s too stupid to pick one herself, he orders her to break Captain America’s back. That would work for him. “Do it now, whore!” he commands her.
Jessica simply stares at him… and then, suddenly, much to his surprise, she brutally punches him in the face and sends him landing on a parked cab. “Wow,” Captain America exclaims. “F*ckin’-mother…!” a raging Jessica lashes out at the already unconscious villain and grabs him by the neck, hurling him onto the pavement, where he lies senseless among newspapers that speak of his escape from prison. “Oh my God!” Carol Danvers exclaims. Carol keeps exclaiming that Jessica did it! “You did it! Look at you!” she enthuses as she hugs Jessica tightly. Jessica is unable to hold back a stream of tears – tears of relief and happiness.
A little bit later, Jessica watches from afar, rubbing her aching hand, as the Avengers strap the unconscious Purple Man and carry him away. Ant-Man appears with a cup of coffee and asks her if she’s okay. She asks him back. She admits she hates fighting. She’s glad how it turned out, but she just hates fighting. Her hand hurts and she…
Suddenly, it occurs to her to ask how Killgrave escaped from prison. Can Scott tell her? Did she do something to…? Scott explains it wasn’t him who broke out. It was this guy, Carnage. Carnage blew up the place. He blew up the security system or something and Purple Man just made a run for it when he had the chance. So, Jessica again asks with uncertainty, it wasn’t because of her? “Just bad luck,” he allays her fears. “Ain’t it,” she quips.
Scott stresses he doesn’t want to talk about any of this anymore. He wonders about what happened in his room… is that okay? “I promise,” Jessica says. “Even Carol?” he asks her. Jessica again promises. Relieved, Ant-Man remarks that at least they got past it – right? This was a pretty big thing… and they did it. They got past it.
He suddenly discerns Jessica giving him a strange look. “What?” he asks her. Jessica reveals she’s pregnant; she’s three months pregnant. “Oh…” Scott mutters, his eyes opening wide. Jessica shuts her eyes tight, a visible guilt expressed on her face. Ant-Man quickly gets the hint, his eyes narrowing with suspicion: “And it’s not mine.” Still unable to look him in the eyes, Jessica bites her lip and confirms that no, it’s not. Looking away, a disillusioned Scott lowers his head for a second. Rising from the bench, he bids Jessica his farewells: “Alright… ‘bye, Jessica.”
In the evening, Jessica is waiting for Luke Cage, sitting at the stairs outside the entrance to his building. “Well, look at you,” Luke exclaims as he approaches her, a burger in one hand, a Daily Bugle in the other, with the headline “Local Hero Saves City From Maniac.” Luke quips that she’s officially the only one of them Jameson ever writes nice sh*t about. Jessica is amazed. Luke deduces it’ll be good for her business. Jessica guesses so. She’s about to tell something to Luke, when he interrupts her and informs her he was just going to call her. “You were?” Jessica exclaims in doubt. Luke insists he was, just now. He asks her if she’s in the mood to talk.
“Oh no. Is it bad?” Jessica puffs. She pleads him: she can’t handle anymore… No, no, he assures her and adds that it’s up to her. “Okay. What?” Jessica asks him. Luke wants to say that over the last couple of months he seems to… seems to be thinking about her a lot. More than he was admitting to himself. Does she know what he means? Jessica admits she doesn’t.
Luke admits she frustrates him. She frustrates the sh*t out of him. However, he doesn’t want to get into that. They both know she’s like a bat out of hell around him half of the times but that’s neither here nor there. The thing is he’s grown quite… He rephrases that: he worries about her. When she told him all that sh*t about what happened to her, he found himself really caring. Though he knows she’s got some sh*t going with one of the Avengers and he also knows how the two of them are – they’re all just how they are with each other – he just wanted to tell her that he’s here. He just thinks about her a lot.
A shocked Jessica asks him if he likes her. “Yeah,” Luke smiles. “Like me,” like me? she insists. “We in high school now?” Luke quips. They remain silent for a moment, before Jessica blurts it out: “I’m pregnant”. Luke says nothing. Jessica clarifies it’s his. That’s what she came here to tell him. “And that’s… yeah…” she concludes.
An awkward silence ensues. Luke appears thoughtful… and then he starts smiling. He asks her if she wants it. Very, very, very much, she replies. Seeing him smiling, Jessica is relieved. Luke welcomes the news: “Alright, then. New chapter.”
Phoenix IV/Jean Grey (all X-Men)
Ant-Man II, Captain America, Falcon, Jack of Hearts, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Vision, Warbird, Yellowjacket (all Avengers)
This is the final issue of the series. The adventures of Jessica Jones continue in The Pulse series, also written by Brian Michael Bendis.
Although untitled in the interior pages, this story is undoubtedly “Purple, Part 5.”
Interestingly enough, Jean Grey recalls her earliest encounter with Jessica in Alias #26, even though it was actually Phoenix II, the Phoenix Force impersonating Jean at the time, who restored Jessica’s mind. Either Bendis is ignoring the controversial “Jean Grey was never the Phoenix” retcon, or, more possibly, it is another indication of Jean being able to recall experiences of Phoenix II as if they were hers, after she absorbed those memories through Madelyne Pryor. [X-Factor (1st series) #39]
Jessica’s pregnancy follows from her one-night stand with Luke Cage in Alias #1. Their baby daughter, Danielle, will be born in The Pulse #13.
Jessica narrated to Luke the ordeal she once suffered as Purple Man’s slave in Alias #25-26. Purple Man escaped prison in issue #27.
Next time around, it is Luke rather than Jessica who beats up Purple Man when he escapes from The Raft in New Avengers #2-3.
Aware of being in a comic book and contemplating the nature of the medium itself, Purple Man exhibits here what is known as “breaking the fourth wall.”
In the scene where Jessica beats the Purple Man, there is a comics store drawn in the background, named “Mr. Bendis Outlet.”
Issue Summary written by: Mesmerizer