Comics : The Pulse #12
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
Last issue, Jessica's water broke even though she's only (we learn this time) in the sixth month of her pregnancy. And Ben Urich is on the trail of D-Man who seems to be thwarting robberies and then taking a little sugar for himself.
The Pulse #12
Jan 2006 : SM Guest
Summary: New Avengers (with Spider-Man) Appear
Arc: Part 2 of "Fear"
Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) or whatever the heck she is calling herself these days flies Jessica to the hospital but Jessica is in a lot of pain and begs Carol to slow down. The pain keeps up as Jessica gets admitted. This, plus the fact that she is only six months pregnant, makes Jessica fear that she will lose the baby.
While Luke Cage tries to flag a cab to get to the hospital, Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp), with whom Luke, Carol and Jessica were visiting last issue, calls the Avengers.
At the Daily Bugle, Ben Urich presents the beginnings of his D-Man story to J. Jonah Jameson who demands that Jessica Jones be brought in to help. But Jessica is a bit busy going into a very painful labor. The doctors ask her if she has super-powers and when they learn that she does, they start to worry about radioactivity. They kick Carol out of the emergency room because she is "emitting energies". And no one can locate Jessica's doctor.
Continuing his investigation, Ben goes to a local police precinct to get info from Detective Davis about D-Man. He learns that D-Man was homeless and previously arrested for vagrancy but doesn't get much farther before other cops tell Davis to get the reporter out.
Back at the hospital, the head administrator orders Jessica out. "We cannot give birth to whatever she has in there!" she says, "We don't know what kind of mutant is going to come out." She calls for the orderlies to "Roll that woman out of here and onto the street" but this becomes unnecessary when the Avengers (including Spidey) show up to take care of her. They whisk Jessica away in a quinjet. Luke, who has been running to the hospital, arrives just in time to leap and snag a ride with the group as Iron Man flies the quinjet to the home of Dr. Strange.
Back on the street, Ben Urich interviews the proprietor of the pawnshop where D- Man thwarted a robbery but took something for himself. The proprietor noticed the theft but thought the super-hero was Daredevil. He feels a lot better finding out it wasn't DD after all and he tells Ben that D-Man comes out of the sewer "like every other day". Ben goes into the sewer to check things out. A gloved hand reaches for him behind his back.
In Greenwich Village, Dr. Strange assures Jessica that she is in good hands. He tells her that he was in attendance when the Scarlet Witch gave birth. "And this has to go better than that did" says Spidey. After an uncomfortable pause, the web-slinger says, "Oh, my God, that was so much more clever in my head before it came out of my mouth". "I don't think it was" Spider-Woman replies. Dr. Strange tells Jessica that the baby is ready to come out. He wants to cast a mood enchantment spell to relax her but Jessica turns it down. "I can do this", she says.
Hmmm. Well, my reaction to this issue is much the same as last issue. It has some very nice touches to it such as the scene where the administrator demands Jessica's ouster only to be faced with the arrival of the Avengers in a nice full-page illustration and the scene with the pawnshop owner. Only Bendis really lavishes attention on dumpy-looking side characters like this; giving them a personality instead of just using them as conveyors of plot points. There are again, as always with Bendis, some enjoyable bits of dialogue; the best being the three page exchange between J. Jonah Jameson and Ben Urich. The various character touches (the administrator's fear of a mutant baby, the respect Detective Davis has for Ben Urich as the man who "took down the Green Goblin", the disdain Detective Davis has for Ben's notion that a D-Man story is important, Spidey's inappropriate comments at just the wrong time) ring true and enrich the story. The art is moody and yet somehow also lustrous. The cover of a bare-chested Luke smashing through a wall wearing only shades and a gold chain has nothing to do with the story but I love it all the same. Still, exactly what is the story at this point? Did we get any farther than last issue? We learned that Jessica has only been pregnant for six months and that the Avengers take her to Dr. Strange. We learned that D-Man is living in the sewer. Not much for a whole issue. I accept the trade-off of good dialogue and character scenes filling the space usually reserved for story progression but that doesn't mean I won't take points off for it.
Like last time, call it four webs.