Comics : The Pulse #9

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of an Arc: "Secret War"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

It's the fourth and last part of the Secret War tie-in. (At least, I think it's the last part.) Does anything happen that makes any of this worthwhile?

In Detail...

The Pulse #9
Jul 2005 : SM Spin-Off
Arc: Part 4 of "Secret War"
Editor:  Andy Schmidt
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  Michael Lark
Inker:  Stefano Gaudiano
Staff Only
Issue
Review

Half deranged by her failure to find her missing boyfriend Luke Cage, Jessica Jones lays into J. Jonah Jameson after learning that he won't interfere in anything in which Nick Fury is involved. She calls Jonah a "sanctimonious piece of crap" and tells him "You're dead to me!" along with some other colorful statements. Then she stalks out of the Daily Bugle. Jonah sends Ben Urich "to get the crazy pregnant woman and bring her back here". Kat Farrell follows Ben and they meet up with her on the street. Ben's S.H.I.E.L.D. contact Al Mackenzie is waiting for them. Jessica body-slams Mackenzie into a newsstand but Mackenzie tells her he was going to divulge Luke Cage's location anyway. He steers Jessica to a bar upstate called The Locust.

Jess, Ben, and Kat arrive at the bar. Jessica wanders through looking for her boyfriend. Luke is nowhere to be found but Wolverine is sitting alone having a few brews in a back room, looking horribly sorry for himself. Attracted by Jessica's scent, Wolverine starts to come on to her until he finds out she is Luke Cage's girlfriend. When Jessica mentions S.H.I.E.L.D., Wolvie freaks out. "Get out!" he yells, "No more S.H.I.E.L.D.! No more Fury! No more Hydra with the hands. No more. Stop raping me! All of you!! Stop raping me!!" When Jessica tells him, "I'm sorry", Wolvie goes into a rage and threatens Jess with his claws. When the moment passes, he collapses back into his chair and begins to sniffle. (This is the scene we began with, by the way, back in The Pulse #6, in case you didn't remember. I sure didn't and only stumbled on it when I skimmed my past reviews.) Ben and Kat join the party and Ben mentions that Mackenzie has it in for Fury. Wolverine reasons that Mackenzie must have sent them here to "piss me off", hoping that he would "go and try to kill Fury". A pretty lame excuse for setting up this Wolverine/Jessica confrontation if you ask me. On the other hand, we still don't know what Fury did to everyone since the Secret War mini-series is suffering a bad case of the lateness. (Secret War, shake hands with your comrade New Avengers.) Kat tries to get Wolverine to go on the record but he blows her off. As he leaves he tells Jessica that "There ain't many places a sick super hero can hide safely" and this statement makes Ben realize he knows where Luke is.

Ben takes Jess and Kat to the Night Medical Center, a secret hospital in Hell's Kitchen for super-heroes where he previously met Matt Murdock when he was recovering back in Daredevil #58 May 2004. (And, really, it's a measure of how slow Brian Bendis' plots move along that I was certain, before I looked it up, that the issue in which Ben met Matt at the Night Center was only a couple of Daredevil issues ago.) They are met by Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, and others brandishing swords. Danny Rand (Iron Fist) is also there and he admits that, following Captain America's advice, he whisked Luke out of the hospital and brought him to the Night Center. When Jessica objects to being left out of the loop, Danny tells her he doesn't know her well enough to trust her, even disputing her word that she is carrying Luke's baby. When Jessica insists on seeing Luke, Misty backs her up and Danny gives in.

Jessica goes in to see Luke and cries at the sight of him. ("Didn't you used to be a tougher broad?" Luke says.) For the first time to his face, she says she loves him. He tells her the same. They are interrupted by a hologram projection of Nick Fury. He tells them he's sorry for what happened and that Jess will find out what did happen "soon enough". "You won't be hearing from me again" says Fury, "No one will." Then he disappears.

Back at the Bugle, Jonah Jameson contemplates going with the headline "Fury's Secret War Hits New York City". Robbie Robertson tells him that "If we publish this now before we know the whole story we'll almost certainly... we could end up in a war. A world war. And we don't know why he did it." Jonah goes with yet another "Spider-Man Menace" headline instead.

In General...

So just what did Fury do that has caused so much trauma? I guess we'll find out when the Secret War mini-series concludes. In the meantime, what did we learn from this four-issue tie-in storyline? Well, Jessica is really really in love with Luke Cage and went through a lot of hell when he disappeared only to find out he was stashed someplace safe by his friends who didn't have enough respect for her and Luke's relationship to trust her enough to tell her. In particular, it is a struggle of "lovers" really, with Danny in the role of the jealous spurned partner. That's a great premise for a story, I think, and it delves into complexities of character not normally seen in comics. But it's not a four issue story. When it's extended to that length, it feels more like some cheap practical joke played on the reader. The Secret War brought dire consequences! Luke is missing! What could have happened to him? Well, his friends hid him. Psych!

And the Secret War is still just hanging there. There sure isn't anything resolved in these issues. How do we even know this is the end of the storyline? Well, because the next issue blurb tells us that House of M is next. I can't wait to see how many issues we get of that tie-in that tells us essentially nothing.

Michael Lark's artwork is again nicely moody but the star of the show is still Pete Pantazis and his coloring. The cover by Mike Mayhew is powerful (love Wolverine's shadow) but is annoyingly deceptive. At least it bears a remote resemblance to the events in the story (emphasis on "remote") rather than being yet another one of those pin-up covers that Spider-Man seems to be stuck with.

Overall Rating...

I think Bendis writes a terrific Ben Urich and J. Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson. I love the relationship between Jessica and Luke. I love Kat Farrell, all business, trying to get a scoop from Wolverine. I love Jessica's shock at the realization that Danny doesn't trust her and the harsh feelings caused by this love triangle of Jessica and Danny and Luke. But if you're going to take four issues to do it, there has to be more of a pay-off. There has to be more of a story, too. Two webs.