Pearl #4

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Michael Gaydos

In the previous issue, Pearl rescued Rick from Shiba, a hitman who was sent to kill him by a rival gang. Pearl was hired by Mr. Mike to kill Rick, as well, but she disobeys on a hunch. This issue begins; Pearl, Rick, and Pearl’s best friend Kimmy hide out at Rick’s mother’s home where they discuss what has happened and the significance of the predicament they’ve created. The Endo Twins hired Shiba to kill Rick and they are now after Pearl because she interfered with their plan. Mr. Mike still wants Rick dead because he stole money from him. And, Kimmy is caught in the middle as an innocent bystander. However, the most intriguing element occurs when Pearl shows Rick her tattoo which leads to a conversation and flashbacks to Pearl’s cryptic past. Who is Pearl’s mother, and how is it that she played a prominent role with Mr. Mike?

The intrigue in the story is about the slow reveal surrounding Pearl’s family and their involvement with Mr. Mike and the gang. However, more interesting to me than that is the story around Pearl’s tattoo that she says she created herself. Why does it reveal itself when she is upset? It’s all over her body, but we’ve only seen the spider on her wrist. What is the significance of the spider? These questions still remain unsolved. The art supports the mystery surrounding these characters and adds to the intrigue with its shadowing, deep-lined depictions of emotionally distraught faces.

If there is a complaint, it’s that the slow reveal feels a bit lethargic. If it weren’t for the mystery surrounding the tattoo and the cryptic nature of Pearl’s family history, all intrigue would be lost in a paint-by-numbers crime noir. However, Pearl is an interesting character as much for what we don’t know about her than by what has been revealed. Why has she shown empathy for Rick, who has been nothing more than an irresponsible little boy caught between larger forces he doesn’t understand. I’m also intrigued by how much Kimmy might know about Pearl’s past and her families connections to Mr. Mike.

Overall = 9/10

This is a crime noir with a slow reveal that involves warring crime families and a girl’s mysterious tattoo. The art provides beautiful renderings of shadowy facial features, and characters’ trepidatious responses to the dilemmas they have created. If you love crime-noir and you enjoy good art, please pick up this book.