Jessica Jones is one of my favorite Marvel characters ever created, both in the comics and the Netflix TV show. Her superpowers are vast, but the origin story of where they came from is different, depending on whether you’re considering the TV show or the comics version. So, how did Jessica Jones get her powers?
Jessica Jones got her superpowers after a horrible car accident, both in the TV show and the comics. However, things differ in the show a bit – instead of gaining abilities from radioactive waste, Jessica was experimented on by a company named IGH while in a coma.
The situation gets even more complicated – while in the comics, her entire family gets killed in the crash, Jessica thinks that everyone but her died in the TV show as well, only to find out that her mother survived, too. Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about Jessica Jones’ powers and how she got them.
How Did Jessica Jones Get Her Powers In The Comics?
Jessica Jones had her first actual appearance in Alias #1 in 2001 (however, she appeared retroactively in the Amazing Spider-Man #4 in 1963.
Jessica’s first surname was Campbell. She attended Midtown Highschool as a classmate of Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. Jessica even had a crush on him but never told him.
In fact, there was a moment when she wanted to tell Peter how she felt, but when she tried approaching him in the New York Hall of Science, Peter was bitten by the radioactive spider moments before, so he left the exhibit.
Anyways, Jessica’s father was an employee in Stark Industries. Tony Stark gifter her father with tickets to Disney World with the entire family. Jessica and her brother Phillip were arguing on their way back home, and Mr. Campbell inadvertently veered off the road right into an incoming military truck filled with radioactive waste.
Jessica’s entire family died from the crash while she was in a coma for six months. Right around the time she woke up, the Fantastic Four were battling Galactus, which caused huge amounts of cosmic radiation, so it’s possible that it enhanced her newfound powers and woke her up, but never confirmed.
Jessica was then adopted by a kind, loving family from her neighborhood and legally changed her last name to Jones. Mrs. Jones – Jessica’s adoptive mother – had a similar experience where her relatives got killed when she was younger, so she instantly felt a deep connection to Jessica.
Upon returning to high school, everyone looked at her as this freaky girl who survived a crash that killed her entire family. Peter Parker had a similar experience with his family, and later Uncle Ben, so he tried approaching her. However, Jessica mistook Peter’s kindness for pity, which enraged her, so she cussed him off and ran away.
As he was running away, she accidentally leaped in the air and realized – she was flying! That was the first moment where Jessica found out about her newfound powers. Ecstatic about the powers, Jessica lost control and fell into the Hudson River, only to be saved by Thor.
Later, in Alias #23, while Jones was testing her powers, she leaped into the air and accidentally fell right on top of Scorpion, who was robbing a laundromat at the moment. He was knocked out long enough to be apprehended. That, along with witnessing a fight between Spider-Man and Sandman, prompted Jessica to try out the superhero life.
Jessica realized how much potential her powers have as she practiced, including superhuman strength, leaping ability, short flight, fast healing, regeneration, and durability.
How Did Jessica Jones Get Her Powers In The TV Show?
Jessica Jones Netflix TV Show had a dark, grim undertone, and the origin story of her powers changed as well. Instead of being a part of a kind family and then adopted by a kind family again in comics, Jones wasn’t that lucky in the show.
The Jones were Jessica’s original family. Just like in the comics, Jessica and her brother Phillip argued in the back of their family car, causing their father’s distraction for long enough to crash into a truck. However, it wasn’t carrying radioactive waste. Regardless, the accident killed everyone but Jessica – or at least she thought that was the case.
After being in a coma for a while, Jessica woke up in a hospital. She overheard the Walkers – the family who eventually adopted her – talk about her entire family being dead, after which Jessica broke down in tears. To make matters worse, Dorothy Walker – her adoptive mother – took her in just for a publicity stunt for her daughter Trish’s reality show.
Dorothy Walker was often abusive, especially to Trish, which Jessica realized when she saw bruises on her neck. During one intense argument between Dorothy and Trish, Jessica locked herself in a bathroom and, in a fit of rage, broke down a super-heavy marble sink.
Confused but fascinated with her strength, Jessica picked the sink up and realized she could easily lift it over her head with one hand. Trish saw her doing that but agreed to keep it a secret if Jessica kept Dorothy’s abuse a secret, too.
Things boiled over when Jones caught Dorothy forcing Trish to throw up to lose weight for the show. She threw Dorothy across the room and threatened never to touch Trish again, which ultimately developed an unbreakable bond and friendship between the two stepsisters.
Years later, when both Trish and Jessica were already in college, they started drifting apart – partly due to Jessica’s irresponsibility and partly due to Trish’s drug and alcohol addiction.
When Jessica saves a guy on the street from being robbed by thugs, Kilgrave – a guy with strong telepathic mind-control powers – sees it. Impressed with Jones’ abilities, he controls her and forces her to live with him, essentially becoming his slave.
However, his mind-controlling commands only work for about 12 hours before stopping. Jessica almost breaks free one time before Kilgrave puts her under control again. But, he took it too far one time, forcing her to use her superpowers to kill a person.
The trauma of committing a murder breaks Jessica free, walking away from Kilgrave despite him giving out numerous commands to her. At the same moment, Kilgrave is seemingly killed by a bus.
The entire experience left Jessica Jones suffering from severe PTSD, which led to alcohol abuse and avoiding any human contact – including her adoptive sister. She almost completely gave up on being a superhero, but after a while, she opened her own private investigating business.
Fast forward a while, Trish finds a vital nugget of information – Jessica’s hospital bills after the initial accident were covered by a mysterious company called IGH. Also, she hadn’t been admitted to a regular hospital bed for almost twenty days after the accident, during which time she was in a coma.
Jessica continues to investigate this further, only to realize that she was put under experiments during her comatose state. She confronted one of their doctors, who revealed that Jones died during the initial operation, but the IGH revived her. Then they edited her genome to heal her, which enhanced parts of her DNA and gave Jessica the superpowers.
Furthermore, Jessica found out that her mother survived the accident, too, and also underwent the experiments, giving her superpowers as well.
There you have it – unlike the comics, the truck from Jessica’s accident didn’t carry radioactive waste – her powers came from further experiments and genome editing.
Is Jessica Jones A Mutant?
Due to the nature of her abilities, many fans are wondering if Jessica Jones was a mutant? Well, yes, and no.
Yes, because her genome and DNA had been mutated and changed, giving her the superpowers she has. No, because Marvel classifies mutants as beings born with their mutations and powers.
Jessica was born as a normal human being, but events later in her life gave her the powers. If you consider Jessica Jones a mutant, then Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Daredevil, and other characters who had accidents change their genome are mutants as well.
Another reason why fans believed Jessica was a mutant was the speculations and rumors about the name IGH. Some fans believe the name came from MGH, which stands for Mutant Growth Hormone in the Marvel comics. However, Sony had the X-Men rights at the moment, so the MCU was forbidden from using the word “mutants.”
Instead, whenever they referred to a mutant, they called them “inhuman,” which would explain the change from MGH to IGH. In the series, the acronym IGH stands for Industrial Garments & Handling, which is an obvious front to cover what the organization is actually doing. I mean, what does genome editing have to do with industrial garments, right?
Finally, I want to touch upon the theory that Luke Cage, Kilgrave, and Jessica Jones are all somehow connected – and the connection is IGH. On the mysterious yellow USB that Kilgrave got from Connors, it’s revealed that his mother used to do experiments on him, ultimately leading to his powers.
Luke Cage was also experimented on after his accident. It seems that everything is pointing out that Kilgrave’s mom was an IGH doctor and that the same organization might be responsible for all of their superpowers.
We’ll never know for certain as the show was abruptly canceled, but at least it’s clear where Jessica’s powers came from – and the backstory is so much more complicated than the comics.