Alias—Volume 3: The Underneath

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 8/10

Spider-Woman returns


Comic Info

Comic Name:  Alias

Publisher:  Marvel Comics/MAX

Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:  Michael Gaydos/Mark Bagley

# of Issues:  7

Release Date:  2003


Alias #10

Reprints Alias #10 and #16-21 (August 2002-June 2003).  Jessica Jones returns home to find a girl in her apartment, dressed as Spider-Man, and who flees when she realizes she doesn’t know her.  Jessica learns that the girl is Mattie Franklin, the third Spider-Woman, and that she is in trouble.  This is complicated by the fact that Mattie is the foster daughter of J. Jonah Jameson who already has a rocky past with Jessica.  Now Jessica must set out to free Mattie from the group using her and it brings up Jessica’s past fears.  The only chance Jessica might have is an old-fashion team up with Jessica Drew…the original Spider-Woman.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Michael Gaydos (with help from Mark Bagley on the Jewel flashback), Alias—Volume 3:  The Underneath was released by Marvel’s MAX imprint which is targeted for adults.  Following Alias—Volume 2:  Come Home, the collection includes Alias #10 (August 2002) which has Jessica’s first encounter with J. Jonah Jameson which plays heavily into this storyline.  The collection is also part of the bigger collection Alias:  Ultimate Edition 2 along with the fourth trade paperback or in the Alias Omnibus.

Alias continues to be one of my favorite comics in this volume.  I am a big Bendis critic, but Alias falls under the branch of comics that he has written that I love.  The series is raw and rough and lives up to the MAX imprint that never really did much in my opinion (other than allow swearing in the Punisher books).  If MAX was like this, DC Vertigo might actually have more of a challenge.


Alias #20

This collection is great because it brings up the question that I and many had when Alias came out.  Why, when there is such a great character like Jessica Drew who is also a detective, did Bendis create Jessica Jones?  The basic answer is probably that when Alias kicked off, Bendis wasn’t really allowed to use many of Marvel’s big players like Spider-Man due to the content (though I doubt many cared about Spider-Woman), but this storyline does re-incorporate Jessica Drew into the Marvel line after being a side player for years…granted, Spider-Woman is one of the characters that I feel Bendis ruined (along with Jessica Jones) during his Avengers run, but it is great to have her back here.

The story also is kind of poignant especially after you read the next collection Alias 4:  The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones.  This story explains why Mattie’s plight is so important to Jessica.  I won’t go into what happened to Jessica here, but the fourth volume explains some of Jessica’s reaction to Scott Lang (“the good boyfriend”), her Jewel dream, and why saving Mattie was hard for her.

Alias is a great series and Alias—Volume 3:  The Underneath is a fun addition to this series.  I wish Jessica Jones had stayed this way and hated her downgrade in The Pulse, but it is great to go back and re-read the character how she was meant to be…screwed-up but well rounded.  Alias—Volume 3:  The Underneath was followed by Alias—Volume 4:  The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones.

Related Links:

Alias—Volume 1

Alias—Volume 2:  Come Home

Alias—Volume 4:  The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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