Pearl #8

Brian Michael Bendis, writer
Michael Gaydos, art
Joshua Reed, letters

Pearl is a talented tattoo artist who recently learned that her deceased mother was the leader of a crime organization. In the last issue she fled to San Francisco to escape Mr. Mike, the current  leader of the Yakuza clan, and the FBI investigator who is on her trail because of her connection to them. Kimmy and Pearl arrive to Portland only to find Mr. Mike waiting. He doesn’t want war, he wants to show her who he is and talk about her role in the Yakuza Clan. Mr. Mike educates Pearl on the Yakuza Families origins in Japan and her possible deeper roots to the clan leadership.

I’m still engaged and intrigued by the Pearl-mystique. She is tough-minded, a talented tattoo artist and assassin for a Japanese criminal clan with a softer side. What I liked about this issue was the course correct connecting Pearl back to the Yakuza clan leadership and her possible appointment to be a clan leader. I’m interested to see if the human side of Pearl remains when she’s put in a position where she must make decisions based on the welfare of the clan. In addition, this issue flushes out more significance regarding her full-body tattoo connecting it to her grief-response after her mother’s death. The visual provides a nice metaphor representing Pearl’s likeness to her mother.

Visually this book is very unique starting with the initial panels which shows a large full-panel spread collage of images of Pearl in Japan. The color contrasts and muddy-images give the appearance of mystery and intrigue. The underlying narrative is one of danger as Pearl is visiting Japan with the knowledge that Yakuza clan rejects her because of her gender. The art depicts this with steely faces and gritty images of industrial Japan. Interestingly, the image showing Rick meeting Pearl in Japan and her surprised response, captures his soft and welcoming smile. The contrast pulls the other parts of the story forward revealing how dangerous the environment is for Pearl.

Overall = 8.5/10

Final Impressions

This coming of age crime noir tale is growing in intrigue as Pearl heads overseas to meet the heads of the Yakuza clan. Mr. Mike shows a change of heart apologizing for putting Pearl in an impossible predicament as the Yakuza clan’s assassin. They travel to Japan to convince the families that they have things under control. Do they? I can hardly wait to see how this story continues in the next issue!