[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Creators: Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
Letters: Joshua Reed
Design: Curtis King Jr.
Pearl #5 gives us an in-depth perspective as to how the Endo Twins got where they are in life and how Pearl got her infamous tattoos. Plus, Rick and Pearl seek out Mr. Miike for help, but when secrets are revealed, will Mr. Miike remain on her side? Find out in Pearl #5!
Pearl #5 presents an in-depth character study on Pearl and the Endo Twins through and intricate dance of art and writing, each trying to outdo each other, but also carrying a mutual respect for the other. We begin with the Endo Twins sitting in a pile of money somewhere. They don’t have the status they did last issue. Ryu, the younger brother, has the outlandish idea of creating an “erotica paradise.” As this idea is brewing, the art is saturated in red. The twins are sinister individuals with twisted minds and souls. Gaydos paints these pictures through various colored lenses so that the characters and the story can be shown in the light they are supposed to. The Endo Twins have very little at first, but they are still as smug and confident as when they rose to power. They are smart and have little morals and that makes them dangerous. How dangerous? Their “erotica paradise” fails miserably and is shown using a color palette of beige and brown that screams failure, and in order to cover it up, the Endo Twins create a money laundering empire. Yes, that is correct, the Endo Twins rose to power by covering up a mistake. Imagine what they could do when they really set their minds to it. Throughout this scene, Bendis writes with a very casual tone. The twins are young, excited, and decide to pursue this project because why not? But they are so smart, and everything comes so easy, that they built an empire covering up a mistake. The scene ends perfect with “That’s how the Endo Twins became the Endo Twins,” the perfect way to end the romp that is their story so far and great lettering from Joshua Reed.
We move to Rick and Pearl dropping off Kimmy before going to see Mr. Miike. Kimmy is a very well-designed best friend character. She is kind and supportive, but also not afraid to call Pearl out on her bullshit. Pearl does not really have a plan for the confrontation with Mr. Miike, and has no idea how things will go down, and Kimmy is letting Pearl have it, but she respect’s Pearl’s decision that this is something Kimmy should not get involved in. So Kimmy leaves, but not before providing token advice about having sex with the boy she likes before going to confront the dangerous Yakuza boss. The scene is expertly crafted by Bendis and displays subtle but well-designed moments of characterization from Gaydos under a nice indigo. When Pearl and Kimmy’s heads are together, you can tell that they are spiritually inseparable, and it invokes a feeling of warmth.
What follows is the most beautiful two pages of the entire series thus far. It explains how Pearl got her tattoos in two pages of excellent prose-style writing from Bendis next to drawings from Gaydos that exemplify why tattoos and the human body are works of art. Words cannot do the beauty of these two pages justice. The final confrontation scene with Mr. Miike is also very well done. I especially appreciate the snake of word bubbles on the page as Mr. Miike pieces Pearl’s tattoo abilities together.
I know its good to leave a reader always wanting more, but there is still so much about this world that I wish I knew. I don’t think the book would lose much for a slightly faster pace.
Pearl #5 is captivating story of pain, beauty, and the relationship between the two with excellent written and visual characterization from Bendis and Gaydos.