Jessica Jones as Captain America: The inside story on Marvel's new Cap from The Variants #1
Now that's my kind of Captain America!
These days, Marvel is more committed than ever to expanding its multiverse. Across both its onscreen and printed content, Marvel has introduced us to different versions of our favorite heroes and villains. We have the ongoing Spider-Verse saga, and we were also recently treated to the miniseries The United States of Captain America. The series introduced us to people inspired by Steve Rogers to become their own version of Captain America so they can carry on the fight for freedom for all (too bad comic book characters like thetransgender Cap, Aaron Fischer, aren't real).
And the most recent character to get the multiversal treatment is one of Hell's Kitchen's top private investigators (and super mom), Jessica Jones. After taking what seems to be a routine case, Jessica Jones' investigation turns out to be anything but typical, bringing Jessica face-to-face with her past (and herself). In The Variants #1 by Gail Simone, Phil Noto, and Cory Petit, Jessica Jones meets versions of herself from alternate universes, including a Jessica variant who becomes Captain America.
Who is Jessica Jones?
Jessica Jones (formerly known as Jewel) is a superhero (although she prefers not to don the white and blue unitard) and runs Alias Investigations, a small private investigations firm. After a tragic accident that allegedly killed the rest of Jessica's family, she discovers the radioactive material her family crashed into gave her superpowers. Inspired by Spider-Man, she decides to help others, donning the Jewel costume for the first time. Unfortunately, she only has the chance to go on a handful of adventures before being kidnapped by one of Marvel's biggest bads, Killgrave (AKA The Purple Man) who can make anyone do anything he wants. In addition to having a penchant for sexual assault, kidnapping, and homicide, Killgrave has a real problem with costumed heroes.
But once Purple Man gets his hooks into Jessica, he doesn't want to let her go and kidnaps her for eight months. What happens next is one of the most accurate depictions of emotional and psychological abuse I've ever seen in a comic book. Although Killgrave never touches Jessica, he keeps her as a pet, forcing her to watch him have sex with other people. One day, he instead decides to send Jessica to kill Daredevil, despite his powers wearing off at a distance. So, in her hazy mental state, Jessica attacks Scarlet Witch, believing she's Daredevil. And, of course, the Avengers bring their full might to protect one of their own (well, in this case).
So, when we first meet the traumatized, heavy-drinking Jessica Jones, she's already given up on being a superhero and tossed in her cape, even turning down Nick Fury when she is asked to join S.H.I.E.L.D. to serve as the Avenger's liaison…at least in main Marvel universe known as the 616.
What is Captain America's relationship with Jessica Jones?
In the alternate universe What If…Jessica Jones Had Joined the Avengers? by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Jose Villarrubia, and Petit, Steve Rogers approaches Jessica after she has rejected Nick Fury's offer, and he convinces her to move into Avengers Mansion. Working with the Avengers (including Scarlet Witch in the George Perez-designed costume), she eventually overcomes her trademark self-loathing and becomes a hero. During a fight with the Squadron Supreme, Jessica saves Cap's life, and sparks fly. It's the beginning of a beautiful relationship, and the high-jumping hero marries Steve instead of Luke Cage.
In the Marvel-616, however, Jessica makes a different decision and leaves the superhero biz, at least for a little while. Instead, she becomes a private investigator whose path still crosses with Captain America… but in a different way. In Jessica Jones: Alias #1 by Bendis, Gaydos, Matt Hollingsworth, and Bill Sienkiewicz, with letters by Comicraft, the private investigator is hired to locate her client's sister, Miranda Pritchett, who is secretly dating Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America. During the investigation, Jessica gets video footage of Steve without his mask while changing into his star-spangled uniform. Discovering that the videotape will unmask Cap's secret identity and damage the US President, Jessica returns to the woman's house, discovering Miranda was strangled. What a mystery!
Jessica does not unmask Cap by leaking the video to the press and tries to warn him that his secret identity may be at risk. Although the private eye's first few attempts were unsuccessful, Steve eventually learns about Jessica's decision not to share the video with the public and stops by her apartment to thank her for being one of two people who would do that for him.
During Civil War, Captain America refuses to bring in heroes who won't comply with the Superhuman Registration Act and decides to go underground and form a resistance movement. Initially, Jessica goes underground with Luke Cage, joining Cap's Secret Avengers (however, she eventually flips sides). But when Steve decides to surrender to the authorities, things turn deadly when he is killed en route to his arraignment. Taking over Cap's role, Luke becomes the New Avengers' leader.
For a while, the couple raises Danielle while they are fugitives because they believe the New Avengers' actions are justified. And to be a good role model to her daughter, in the New Avengers Annual #3 by Bendis, Mike Mayhew, Andy Troy, and Comicraft, Jessica decides to return to the superhero business, so she can help save Clint Barton from the Dark Avengers. She even wears the blue-and-white unitard again while saving lives.
However, Jessica eventually decides that being a hero isn't something she is interested in doing full-time, and she returns to her usual PI style of jeans, a dark coat, and sunglasses.
Who is Jessica and Luke's daughter, Danielle Cage?
Jessica and Luke have been an item for a long time in Marvel comics. The couple's story begins in Alias and continues in Jessica Jones: The Pulse #1 by Bendis, Petit, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, Frank D’Armata, and Brian Reber, and throughout the series' 14-issue run, Luke and Jessica also welcome their daughter, Danielle Cage, into the world. Well, and the rest of the Avengers welcome her into the world too. In fact, the heroes are so excited about the couple having a baby that they throw a shower at Avengers Tower (and even Captain America shows up).
Following Danielle's birth, Luke and Jessica decide to get married. And you'll never guess who officiates the wedding: Stan Lee!
First fighting by Captain America's side (and her husband's side) in Civil War, Jessica refused to register under the Superhero Registration Act, defending her principles alongside her husband. But fate isn't kind to the new family. And, of course, shape-shifting Skrulls invade Earth only to complicate things while the superheroes are at odds in Secret Invasion. To keep Danielle safe, Jessica believes she must seek asylum with the registered Mighty Avengers, betraying Luke's beliefs by doing it. However, during the Skrull invasion's final battle, Jessica decides to join the fight, and unbeknownst to her, she leaves Danielle with a Skrull posing as Edwin Jarvis. After Skrulls kidnap Danielle, Luke must go undercover with the Dark Avengers so that he can track down his daughter and return her to her mother.
However, the threats to Danielle's life don't end there. Following SHIELD's dismantlement post-Secret Invasion, Jessica learns that Purple Man escaped from custody. Although she tries to hide with Danielle in an underground bunker, Killgrave takes control of Jessica's daughter. But instead of letting Killgrave continue to play on his terms, Jessica eventually gets him to admit he abused her, just before he drops dead.
Danielle herself has some exciting adventures down the timeline, by the way, especially alternate universe versions of herself. In New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 by Al Ewing, Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham, a story set in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan in the year 20XX, we are introduced to Captain America 20XX… who is none other than a future version of Danielle Cage! And she's wearing one of my favorite Captain America costumes: a red, white, and blue leotard with a high leg line that reminds me of Jane Fonda's workout videos.
As Danielle springs into battle against her arch-nemesis, the Gold Skull, she reveals that she inherited the powers of both of her parents. "So I don’t just throw the shield — I am the shield," Danielle declares!
Captain America 20XX makes a Marvel-616 appearance in US Avengers #2. In Danielle's universe, Thanos murdered half the heroes of Earth before his takedown was organized by Black Widow, kind of like the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but with different heroes. But more importantly, she reveals that she has teamed up with dozens of Danielle Cages across the multiverse, and "they were all Captain America."
What's next for Jessica Jones' Captain America? Will she team up with the future version of Danielle Cage as Captain America? Any version of Danielle as Captain America will do.
Here's everything you wanted to know about multiverses (but were afraid to ask).