VARIANTS #3: Putting the broken pieces back together
Gail Simone continues to prove her character writing is some of the best in the business
in a number that brings together Jessica and her variants. Simone smartly bounces Jessica
of his mirror self in a superbly resonant way that not only digs into the psychology of
Jessica PRIME but also crack and question the psychology of its variants in real life
meaningful and sincere ways. What this does is that these variants are much sharper
focus and all of a sudden while they may all be Jessica they become distinct shades of the
who we know Jessica is. They are all defined by loss in their own way. Simone beautifully
delimits these differences without forgetting the scenario and the central narrative with
this whole character works and balances it cleverly with this mysterious threat that comes next
his family. We see more She-Hulk (which Simone surprisingly writes about) as well as Daredevil, Danny Rand, and Luke Cage. His Luke Cage is excellent and there’s a great fight scene with Simone’s tongue-in-cheek dialogue towards the end of the book which is tragic but perfect. It’s serious writing, with serious themes but Simone also manages to break the seriousness with a lot of humour, the cafe scene is a great example of how she does it before diving back into the mystery of what happens to Jessica.
Phil Noto continues to impress, the opening page is absolutely stunning. That’s another problem
with lots of talk and dialogue, but again, Noto is up to the task. The game of emotions
on Jessica’s different faces as they interact with each other is masterful. It makes you feel the emotion of Simone’s script quite believable, then pivots to an action scene that unfolds in the most wonderfully cinematic yet tragic way, so that the last page feels like the end of the cliffhanger from your favorite Marvel TV series. His different Jessica’s are wonderfully the same but different, the Jewel Jessica is younger and that’s reflected in the way he draws
she and the Jessica who was married to Daredevil have tougher expressions than all of them, he
speaks to a skill set of someone who is a master of their craft.
Noto’s issue 3 cover is perfect and if you like variations, Betsy Cola’s wonderful art for the recap page is available as a variation cover for this issue.