The Pulse 1: Thin Air

pulse volume 1 thin air cover trade paperback tpb spider-man
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Inside look at the workings of the Daily Bugle

Squanders great characters and feels anticlimactic

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Pulse

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mark Bagley

# of Issues: 5

Release Date: 2004

pulse #2 cover spider-man vs vulture

The Pulse #2

Reprints The Pulse #1-5 (April 2004-November 2004).  Terri Kidder needs a big story.  As a new employee at The Daily Bugle, she finds that impressing her boss J. Jonah Jameson means going deeper than she’s ever been as a reporter.  When she gets a lead about disappearances at Oscorp, Terri sets up a meeting with Norman Osborn…but Terri is about to become the story herself.  Norman’s identity as Green Goblin is threatened, and Jameson’s recent hire of Jessica Jones means that his reporters might just have the extra muscle they need…but Jessica and Luke Cage’s pregnancy could be jeopardized by the danger.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, The Pulse Volume 1:  Thin Air is a Marvel Comics superhero book.  The series spins out of Jessica Jones solo series Alias when ended with Alias Volume 4:  The Secret Origin of Jessica Jones, and features art by Mark Bagley.  Issues in this volume were also collected as part of Jessica Jones:  The Pulse—The Complete Collection.

I really loved Alias.  It was a fun, edgy series in Marvel Comic’s adult MAX line.  The Pulse is where I started falling out of love with Brian Michael Bendis.  The story (while somewhat interesting) took the fun of Alias and jettisoned it for an all-ages comic without the bite.

The story is largely the exposing of Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin.  It was this period of time where it seems like everyone’s secret identity was being exposed.  Characters like Daredevil and Spider-Man (not quite yet at this point) were losing their secret identities with the idea that secret identities are foolish…but they are a fundamental aspect of a lot of characters.  With Osborn, it feel anticlimactic.  The Pulse was a new book, but it feels like Spider-Man really deserved the story that would pump out Osborn’s identity…and it shouldn’t have been a footnote subplot of this series.

pulse #4 cover green goblin mike mayhew art

The Pulse #4

My real problem with The Pulse is Jessica Jones.  Bendis who created the character turned her from a hard drinking, swearing, trainwreck into a relatively straight-laced balanced character in this series…which takes away her fun.  It is all under the guise of “I’m going to be a mom, and I must clean up”, but it doesn’t feel faithful to the character.  Jessica Jones becomes every other super hero female even if she doesn’t use her powers…Jessica is neutered.

What I do like about The Pulse is the idea that it is almost a procedural book along the lines of Gotham Central or Bendis’s Powers.  With Ben Urich and Kat Ferrell as costars, the book isn’t a traditional superhero book.  That is good, but I still think The Pulse would have worked better in the MAX line with more MAX type stories about the gritty underground of superheroes and New York City.

The Pulse isn’t a bad book, but it isn’t what it should be.  The Pulse had so much potential, and Bendis failed the characters.  The series quickly got sucked into crossover events and storylines that didn’t allow the series to grow as it should have.  Bendis squandered both Daredevil and Alias to bring a so-so book to the shelf.  The Pulse 1:  Thin Air is followed by The Pulse 2:  Secret War.

Related Links:

Alias 1

Alias 2:  Come Home

Alias 3:  The Underneath

Alias 4:  The Secret Origin of Jessica Jones

The Pulse 2:  Secret War

The Pulse 3:  Fear

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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