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10 Ways Jessica Jones is Breaking All the Superhero Rules

She deals with trauma realistically.

For decades, action heroes from Superman to (ironically) Rambo lived through horrors and shrugged them off. Or, like Batman, used it as fuel for the heroic fire. Iron Man 3 pushed the envelope for emotional fallout in action heroes, dealing a fair bit with PTSD and the aftermath of the harrowing experience Tony had in Avengers. But Jessica Jones lives in that place, examining what happens when someone puts themselves out there to help people, pays the price for it, and tries to put their lives back together afterward.

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She drinks.

This is related very closely to the first point, but it's worth saying - we've come a long way since the "Beer Bad" episode of Buffy. Jessica could drink a Raymond Chandler detective under the table, and she might be the most liquored-up character in popular culture this side of Indiana Jones' Marion Ravenwood. Even the Iron Man movies shied away from making Tony's drinking the problem that it is in the comics, but whiskey is basically a background character here.

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She doesn't wear a cape.

In a world where audiences are suffering superhero fatigue, Jessica changes it up by wearing her street clothes, a loud proclamation that while she "doesn't broadcast it," she also doesn't give a damn who sees her in action. She rips a lock off its hinges or kicks through a wall with little more than an exasperated roll of her eyes, as casually as she does anything else.

(Image via MarvelsJessicaJones)

She isn't into drama.

So many superhero stories are saddled with manufactured drama that comes from poor communication. That's not the case here. With the exception of a couple of frustrating moments toward the end of the first season, Jessica does actually trust the tiny handful of people she lets into her life, and she doesn't waste effort trying to hide her powers from anyone. The drama comes from the way the villain completely pervades the show's atmosphere, and from her history with him.

(Image via MarvelsJessicaJones)

She takes what she wants.

In that spirit, Jessica doesn't waste time pining over a love interest and how she can "never reveal the truth" to him. Instead, she finds a guy strong enough to stand up to her and breaks his bed in half, smashing a trend that runs through Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, and even Buffy. 

(Image via MarvelsJessicaJones)

She isn't the female version of a male superhero.

There are a lot of great female characters in comics, and they've done a lot of good in both their world and ours, from Batgirl demanding equal pay for women in the '60s to the new Ms. Marvel giving a great role model (and publicity) for Muslim teens in America today. Still, most of those characters are known for being the "female version" of Batman, Captain Marvel, Superman, and more. Even when Jessica Jones tried the superhero thing in her past, she was her own person.

(Image via MarvelsJessicaJones)

The show addresses mature themes.

This isn't escapist fantasy, and it's not for your children. Jessica Jones features a hypnotic villain capable of violating minds and manipulating actions, and Jessica finds herself in a city where every stranger (or friend) is a potentially lethal threat.  That terror permeates the show. The show's antagonist, Kilgrave, started out as a cheesy '60s Daredevil villain, but this show (and the book it's based on) realize the full gross potential of his powers, to horrifying effect.

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But not too mature.

In the '90s, comics were pushed into postmodernism, thanks to writers like Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, and started to explore deeper issues. Unfortunately, an industry-wide censorship code meant that mainstream comics could only play with those issues on a surface level. The result was a cartoonishly misplaced attempt at grimmness full of empty violence and childish titillation. Jessica Jones threw off the Comics Code Authority's censorship in favor of a big ol' warning label on the front to tell a story that didn't revel in "adult content," but wasn't afraid to use it, either. The show reins in some of the language, but the book's spirit is still very much part of the DNA.

(Image via MarvelsJessicaJones)

She improves on the books.

The great thing about Marvel so far is its ability to condense decades of character development into something a broader audience can care about, while still keeping the core personalities that make these characters great intact. The Jones of the comics is very much present, but the series makes Kilgrave more palatable, makes Jones' trauma more severe, and turns 71 years of "Patsy Walker" history into something that makes sense.

(Images via davidwalker197 MarvelsJessicaJones)

She supports other women, both on-screen and off-screen.

So many female characters are busy sniping at each other for a career or a love interest, but Jessica Jones stands firm when it comes to helping the women in her life, especially her childhood friend Patricia Walker. Likewise, Krysten Ritter has come out swinging at "which-is-better" articles comparing her show to Supergirl, loudly broadcasting her love of Supergirl and its star on Instagram.

(Image via therealkrystenritter)