Jessica Jones' Mom Is In Marvel Comics, But Alisa Jones Is Drastically Different In The Series
Major spoilers ahead for Jessica Jones Season 2. The second season of Jessica Jones takes a big step away from the comics and literally brings a character back from the dead. However, the Alisa Jones in Marvel comics is a little different from what we see on screen, in a few ways. Not only does she not have super powers, but she's an entirely different person.
While Jessica was adopted by Trish Walker's family after the car crash that destroyed hers on the Netflix series, in the comics she was adopted by Alisa Jones and her husband. Alisa is still alive in the comics, lives in residential Queens, and acts as a grandmother to Jessica and Luke Cage's daughter Danielle. Jessica's birth mother in the comics, however, is named Mrs. Campbell — and she does actually die along with the rest of her family.
Dave Campbell, Jessica's father, worked for Tony Stark. They were headed to Disney World on a family vacation funded by Stark when the crash happened. Another connection that they have to familiar faces in the MCU is Peter Parker. In the comics, Jessica went to high school with the web-slinger.
These two characters, Jessica's mother and her adoptive guardian, have been combined for the Netflix adaptation. Jessica reveals to Oscar that her full name is Jessica Campbell Jones, and that her middle name is an homage to her mother's maiden name. So, while Alisa Campbell was never a character in the comics, her name is a series of homages to existing characters.
Of course, neither character was subjected to illegal experiments and given both extensive reconstructive cosmetic surgery and super strength. It's possible that this Alisa Jones was combined with another character who encountered Dr. Karl Manus in the comics, like She-Thing for example, but nothing like that is confirmed in the season.
It's so cool to see a female character have this kind of morally gray arc. She's struggling with the same things that Jessica is struggling with, but handling them differently under different circumstances. It's also very cool to see this story told about an older woman.
“When they sent me scripts of the part," actor Janet McTeer said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "I thought, ‘This is a part I haven’t played before. To do something you’ve never done before when you’re my age is really cool. I liked the challenge. I realized that it’s hard enough running around when you’re 25, but when you’re 55, that’s harder.”
This season doesn't give not your typical TV take on motherhood, that's for sure. Even Dorothy Walker, Trish's abusive, opportunistic mother, has a sympathetic moment when she realizes that both of her girls have alienated themselves from her. “These characters are damaged by abuse but are nevertheless struggling their way through life," McTeer said in the same interview, "to try and overcome it and be happy. They’re strong and weak at the same time.”
A few small elements have been lifted from the comics, however. Jessica's brother is named Phillip, just like he is in the source material. In a Season 2 episode, Alisa tells Jessica that she and their Dad had been fighting. While Jessica didn't know, Phillip was aware. In the comics, the car crash happens as Jessica and Phillip are in the back seat, listening to their parents argue. Just small details like that peppered this new take on Jessica's mom.
"It took someone coming back from the dead to show me that I've been dead too," Jessica says (dramatically) in the Season 2 finale. This season of Jessica Jones is about family, what it means to be a monster or a killer, and control. Alisa embodies all of these themes. You almost kind of wish she was more in the comics, because after this season fans will definitely want to learn more.