I suppose after all the times that I complained about a lack of superhero intervention in the other graphic novels I’ve read, I was due for an ensemble cast. The Pulse certainly delivered on my request and in spades.
Following Alias, a comic that I read last year, The Pulse story revolves around several main characters, including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and of course Spider-Man. After Jessica Jones saved J. Jonah Jameson‘s daughter in the previous comic, he’s had a change of heart and wants to run a piece in his newspaper about Super-Heroes doing right. He turns to Miss Jones for assistance, and offers her a job which she desperately needs to get insurance (gotta love how even superheroes need Aetna) for her pregnancy.
All the while, a side plot appears where people are disappearing at Oscorp. A reporter, Terri Kidder, investigates and is promptly murdered by Norman Osborn a.k.a. The Green Goblin. I have to say that the comic book version of this character is far more sinister than the one in the first Spider-Man movie. He also looked absolutely insidious in his costume and his eyes were that of pure insanity. It’s also around this point in the comic where I was introduced to Ben Urich, a reporter that was buried by lawsuits when he first tried to expose Osborn. I found this character interesting because he seemed like a Peter Parker without the superpowers, and his devotion to keeping Daredevils identity a secret is quite admirable.
Urich links Osborne to the Terri Kidder murder and immediately calls Spider-Man, who was just as surprised as I was that this man knew his identity. We get a few panels in the next issue where Urich describes how exactly he knew that Peter Parker was Spider-Man, and I feel like Bendis was giving his readers a silent nod to the fact that sometimes comic book characters can be a bit dense for convenience. There’s a dramatic moment or two where Parker talks about Gwen Stacy‘s murder, and vows to stop Osborne for good if he is in fact murdering people.
J. Jonah Jameson reluctantly agrees to go with Urich’s information and informs the police of Osborn’s crimes, but when the arrest was to take place, The Green Goblin appears and promptly attacks everyone at the scene, including Jessica Jones who briefly believes that her unborn baby was killed and proceeds to kick the ever living snot out of Osborne. Spider-Man also gets his licks in but I was almost expecting him to kill Osborne. Almost.
This run made me happy because it gave me a very satisfactory follow up to Jessica Jones and Luke Cages relationship. I had felt very strongly about her as a character and after all the crap she experienced in the Alias run, it’s nice to see that she has the support of an indestructible superhero. I still kind of find the idea of a B-list hero to be fascinating, especially considering the emotional connection that she has with the reader. I almost found her more entertaining than Spider-Man in the comic, even if the subject of Gwen Stacy has held attention since the story arc was brought to my attention this past summer with The Amazing Spider-Man. I want to know more about the tortured side of Peter Parker, the side of him that would rather die than reveal his identity to Mary Jane.
And then of course we again have the brief mention of Daredevil. If there was ever a more elusive hero in this saga I’m reading, I’d be hard pressed to find them. I have a feeling that he might be appearing in future Pulse issues that I have yet to get to, but for now I’ll just keep reading and be hopeful for an appearance.
The comic ends on a positive note, with Jessica Jones’ baby intact and Norman Osborn behind bars, even though I’m not sure how “captive” a villain like that can be. I wanted to see him killed, and I think that’s a testament to just how emotionally invested I’ve become with the characters from Alias. I wanted so badly for Luke Cage to rip him limb from limb, and I think that any boyfriend or husband would understand that sentiment after reading this run.
So should you read this comic? If you’re like me and slowly getting yourself acquainted with the Marvel Universe, then my answer would have to be a resounding yes. The only thing I’d suggest is to read Alias first, so you have the same attachment I did.
I think The Pulse was the only time I ever smiled at a fictional character getting health insurance. Maybe you’ll feel the same.