[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Creators: Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos
Letters: Joshua Reed
Design: Curtis King Jr.
Pearl is more than just your average tattoo artist. Her steady hand also makes her very good with a gun when working for the Yakuza. But when the pressures of the Yakuza, her tattoos, and a boy she just met start to add up, will Pearl be able to take control of her own life?
The visuals in this comic are absolutely stunning. I have never read anything with art from Michael Gaydos before, but I may do so now after seeing so many different art styles all seemlessly weaved into a noir framework. Despite having its fair share of ornate panels and splash pages, none of it feels over the top. The story remains extremely grounded all while Gaydos gets to put on an art clinic. If you like the visual storytelling Mitch Gerads creates in Mister Miracle, Gaydos’s work in Pearl #1 will be right up your alley
The dialogue is also a high selling point for this book. The characters may live extreme lives, but Pearl’s dialogue with her friend, the boy she just met, and her father all feel very authentic. Its truly amazing how well Bendis can make words come off the page.
I only have one negative, but its a fairly major one. The visual storytelling and dialogue cues provide come context as to what’s going on, but a lot of what Gaydos does is simply lay out all of the problem’s Pearl is facing in this issue. There is no sense of order, pacing, or prioritizing, and it sometimes left me confused. I finished the comic with a great sense of the characters, a great sense of the problems, but still really confused about how certain events were related, and certain motivations that were taking place. I think sometimes, the heavy reliance a non-linear visual storytelling left things a little muddled.
Hopefully the story can paint a direction more clearly next time, but I highly recommend giving this book a try for the visuals alone.