Pearl #3 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Michael Gaydos, Artist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Unlike Cover, Bendis and Gaydos’ Pearl is a very conventional comic, exactly the kind you’d expect to get from these creators. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good comic – it is exceptionally put together, with some of the best art I’ve seen from Gaydos in quite some time – but it’s also not holding many surprises. Equal part character study of the young Yakuza hitwoman Pearl Tanaka and action-packed mob thriller, it does a good job of intersplicing quiet scenes with loud.
But I’m not sure the loud scenes are nearly as compelling so far.
At the beginning of the issue, rival clan members Ryu and Rumor are discussing Pearl’s foiling of their attack, and they figure out it’s the tattoo artist they previously encountered. The sinister twins decide to put their hitman Shiba on the job. Pearl, not yet knowing that this danger is coming her way, is preoccupied with her complex relationship with Rick Akari, the young man she saved in the first issue.
Much like Mack on Cover, Gaydos experiments with his art style quite a bit in this issue, using unconventional color styles to illustrate the chaotic nature of the club scene. Pearl’s best friend Kimmy has a major role this issue, and she adds a nice bit of normalcy to the proceedings.
What I liked the most this issue, though, was Pearl’s complex relationship with Mr. Miike. This crime lord seemed to be set up as the main villain of the series, but the flashbacks this issue show that his interaction with her goes back to when she was a teenager. He tried to get her out of the life and not exploit her the way he did her mother, but she wasn’t scared off easily, leading to them becoming enmeshed. He’s a good example of a morally gray character done right, from what we see so far. Bendis is doing a slow-burn crime thriller here, and it could turn out to be a masterpiece in the long run. Right now, it’s a little too conventional to reach those highs.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.