Zebediah Killgrave (Purple Man)

Purple ManLast character appearing in the Jessica Jones promotional pics, this time the show’s villain: Zebediah Killgrave (mispelled Kilgrave), portrayed by David Tennant. Not much is known about him, apart from the fact that he’ll be a man with connections to Jessica Jones‘ past, and that he comes back to ruin her life once again. In the comics, Killgrave is known as the Purple Man because of his skin color, but the show preferred a more realistic approach to the character, and now he only wears in purple, with a perfectly normal pigmentation (understandable…but disappointing). Everything else remains to be seen…in the meanwhile, let’s take a look together at the original one.

Zebediah Killgrave was born in RijekaCroatia, when it was still a part of Yugoslavia. A gifted intellect, Killgrave became a physicist, and his skills as a scientist attracted the attentions of the Soviet Union‘s agents. Considering his remarkable intelligence, his manipulative nature and his perfect cover, the Soviets offered Killgrave to become an international spy, an offer that the man immediately accepted, feeling it akin to his character. Posing as a simple scientist, Killgrave travelled the world stealing military secrets for the Russians, working in labs and facilities as a “guest” physicist. During one of his missions, Killgrave was sent into a chemical refinery in the United States to collect data on a secret compound the Americans were producing, an advanced nerve gas. During the night, he tried to steal a sample of the substance, but a security guard caught him: the man shot him, but hit one of the canisters instead, and Killgrave found himself completely covered by the chemical. As an immediate result, his skin was permanently purplemancomics1dyed purple, but apparently nothing else changed in his organism. Still in pain, confused and panicked, Killgrave was arrested by the guards, and brought in for questioning: unable to focus, the spy gave a weak and absurd justification for his presence near the canisters at night…and much to Killgrave’s own surprise, the guards believed him and let him go freely. The accident obviously aroused Killgrave’s suspicions, and he started to investigate the phenomenon: he tried again with random people, telling unbelievable lies and asking for impossible things. The experiments were succesfull: everybody was simply eager to do whatever he asked for, they gave him anything, did things for him, and allowed him to do anything to them. The chemicals had given Killgrave the ability to control any other person’s will, and everybody promptly obeyed anything he said. Perfectly understanding the potentialities of his newfound powers, Killgrave quitted being a spy and began an “activity” of his own.

Making robberies was extremely easy for Killgrave: he just entered a bank and asked for the money. He soon became extremely rich, and created the criminal alias Purple Man to accomplish a series of frauds. Everything was at his disposal: money, expensive tools, houses, even people. If he wanted a woman, he just needed to speak to her, and she was his to control. He raped many women this way, but one among them was an ecception: Melanie, a girl he unexpectedly fell in love with. Hoping that she would have loved him for what he was, Killgrave released her from his mind control…and she fled to Canada, horrified by the Purple Man and by the things he had done to her (Killgrave would have known this only years after, but Melanie was pregnant, and she gave birth to his daughter, Kara, who inherited her father’s powers). Disappointed by “mere humans”, Killgrave moved to New York City, where he purplemancomics2began building a criminal empire, aiming to conquer the entire city…and the world soon after. His megalomaniac plan was soon thwarted by Daredevil, a hero with a force of will strong enough to resist the Purple Man’s powers. Killgrave was arrested, but he obviously managed to escape quickly (simply asking a guard to escort him to the outside). Wanting to avoid facing Daredevil again, the Purple Man moved to San Francisco, where he reprised his plan to create a criminal empire. Again, however, Daredevil stopped him, and forced him to abandon all his projects; back to New York, the Purple Man tried a new approach, and used his powers to force Maxwell Glenn, an industrialist, to committ crimes on his behalf. Caught, Glenn was put on trial, and committed suicide. His defense attorney, however, was Matt Murdock, so once again Daredevil faced (and defeated) the Purple Man, who nearly died when he fell into the sea during the following battle. The experience, however, changed Killgrave’s perspective: he realised he didn’t have to be personally committed in any criminal activity, as his powers allowed him to obtain anything he wanted for his whole life. The Purple Man, for the time being, retired from the scenes, and dedicated to a comfortable and luxurious life…at least until his neverending ambition moved him to some bigger projects.

Zebediah Killgrave is an ambitious and greedy man, able and willing to obtain anything (and anyone) he wants. As the Purple Man, he emits powerful pheromones that allow him to mind-control anybody hears his voice, with the only exception of people gifted with an incredible force of will (quite a rare phenomenon: so far, only Daredevil, the Kingpin and Dr. Doom proved to be strong enough to resist Killgrave’s powers, and the first one sometimes surrendered to them as well); another effect of the chemicals he’s been infused with is an accelerate healing that allows him to survive even critical injuries and wounds. A man with an immense power and no morality at all, the Purple Man is one of the most dangerous individuals alive, capable of forcing an entire city to obey his will…and his will is never aimed to anything good.



  1. […] Zebediah Killgrave (Purple Man) […]

  2. […] mythology. In AKA Crush Syndrome, we get a glimpse of what happened between Jessica Jones and Kilgrave, especially regarding the end of their “relationship”, and we see the mind-controlled […]

  3. […] Jessica Jones‘ second episode, AKA Crush Syndrome. After Hope murders her parents under Kilgrave‘s suggestion, all witnesses are brought into the police station for declarations, Jessica […]

  4. […] episode, AKA Top Shelf Perverts. The moment Jessica decides to go to jail in order to lure Kilgrave in a trap, she tries to solve some unfinished business, and one of these involves her best […]

  5. […] Jones tv series. In the ninth episode, AKA Sin Bin, agent Will Simpson is nearly killed by Kilgrave, and ends up in the hospital…where he refuses to be treated by anyone but a Doctor Koslov, […]

  6. […] a superhero, and of course she knew nothing of the time she had been controlled and abused by the Purple Man. Alisa tried to reconnect with Jessica when she became nationally famous as the wife of Luke Cage: […]

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