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How Did Jessica Jones Get Her Powers?

Brush Up on Jessica Jones's Gut-Wrenching Origin Story Before Watching Season 2

Image Source: Netflix

If you've seen, oh, I don't know, any superhero movie or TV show before, then you know that the hero's origin story is almost always a tragic one. Jessica Jones, the titular hero of Netflix's critically acclaimed Marvel drama, is no different.

While season one of Jessica Jones works to establish the cynical P.I. and reluctant superhero's gritty life in New York's Hell's Kitchen, season two dives into her own heartbreaking upbringing. The first trailer for season two, which was released a month ahead of the season's March 8 debut, features a few glimpses of how Jessica (Krysten Ritter) lost her family as a teenager and subsequently gained her superhuman strength. Neither experience was a cakewalk, of that you can be certain.

It will be interesting to see how the new episodes keep Jessica's story moving forward — she's getting a new love interest, still recovering from Kilgrave's (David Tennant) reign of terror, and tracking down a vicious murderer — while also surfacing important elements from her past. We can't be sure of how Netflix's adaptation of her story will play out in the upcoming season quite yet, but for now we can fill you in on what young Jessica goes through in both the comics and in season one, just in case you need a refresher.

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Image Source: Marvel Comics

In the comics, Jessica Campbell is a regular teenager and student at Midtown High (where Peter Parker goes to school). That all changes when her father gets tickets to bring their family to Disney World from his boss at Stark Industries (yes, Tony Stark) and loads up the family in the car for the trip. As you can see in the panels above, their return journey is a fatal one: the Campbells' car ends up crashing into a military convoy transporting radioactive chemicals.

Jessica is the only one who survives the collision but spends several months in a coma. When she wakes up, she realizes that her exposure to the chemicals in the convoy has left her with super strength, flight, and invulnerability. Afterward, Jessica is adopted by the Jones family after a brief stay in an orphanage. She returns to Midtown High as an outcast but eventually bonds with Peter once she realizes the two have more in common than she initially thought, prompting her to start using her powers for good.

Netflix's version of Jessica's story obviously takes a few significant diversions from its source material, but the bones of her devastating childhood are still there. Season one shades in Jessica's young life in episodes like "AKA WWJD," when Kilgrave brings her back to her childhood home (where he's re-created it exactly as it was when she first lived there, down to the family photos and old Nirvana poster). She has more detailed flashbacks to the crash, which happened on the day she and her family set off on the 12-hour road trip.

Just like in the comics, Jessica had a mother, father, and little brother who all perished in the accident. In the show, Jessica inadvertently triggers the crash when she breaks her brother's Game Boy in the backseat, causing her father to take his eyes off the road when he turns around to yell at her. We only see up to the car almost slamming into the back of a large truck, but there's nothing on the nondescript vehicle — hazardous materials warnings, for instance — that signifies it's carrying radioactive chemicals.

In "AKA I've Got the Blues," Jessica finally awakens from her coma postcrash. She finds herself adopted by Patsy Walker, the mother of Jessica's classmate and TV actress Trish Walker, as a publicity stunt to distract from a nightclub fire Trish caused. We also discover that a shady company called IGH paid for Jessica's medical bills after the wreck and probably played a part in how she gained her abilities in the first place. The season two trailer all but confirms that, offering us glimpses of Jessica strapped to a gurney and files with her medical information on them. The trailer also opens with a few harrowing scenes from the day of Jessica's accident:

Image Source: Netflix

Interspersed with gruesome shots of the blood-covered bodies of her family, there's a clear image of the truck they slammed into. It's overturned, and a ton of aluminum chemical containers are strewn about the highway — maybe Jessica gets her powers from a chemical spill after all? Either way, it's obvious that a complex, mysterious web of lies and memories awaits us in season two.

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