Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Pearl #1 by Brian Michael Bendis - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: From the Peabody Award-winning creators of Jessica Jones comes a brand-new creation. PEARL is the story of an exceptional tattoo artist and accidental assassin for one of the modern-day San Francisco Yakuza.

She was born into one life, but another is calling to her. When Pearl accidentally meets one of her peers, her doppelgänger from another clan, she starts to dream of a better life. But Pearl has a very special ability that keeps pulling her back into the violent world she is desperate to escape.

PEARL is a major series launch from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos that features their first brand-new original character since Jessica Jones. Fans of the Jessica Jones comic and TV show will be thrilled and delighted by this bold new direction the creative team has taken. 

I would consider myself a fan of writer Brian Michael Bendis. In general, I've found that I enjoy his style and his stories. In fact, if I remember correctly, Bendis started out writing comics/graphic novels that were crime stories, many of which I've read and liked. So when I saw that he was going to have a new imprint at DC, I thought I'd give some of the titles a chance. Pearl #1 is the first of these Jinxworld (Jinx was Bendis's first "hit" crime book).

So the premise of Pearl is this: Pearl is a tattoo artist who "accidentally" becomes an assassin for a Yakuza clan. How, why, and what happens makes up the story that Bendis will be telling.

The first issue introduces Pearl and her unusual tattoo. We get a glimpse of her talent of killing people, and meet Mr. Miike, a Yakuza boss, or at least high ranking official. And that's about it. Now, I didn't expect a lot more, as I thought Bendis might take his time, slowly letting Pearl's tale unfold, and that appears to be what's happening. She seems to be an interesting character with an as-yet-unexplained background, a piece of which focuses on her tattoo. Just how she becomes an assassin is briefly touched on, but not explained. How she got involved in the Yakuza is also not addressed. I would expect these types of questions to be answered in future issues.

The art by Michael Gaydos is very atmospheric. While some of it takes some getting used to, it suits the story Bendis is telling.

What it comes down to it this: I trust Bendis to tell this kind of story. While I haven't liked everything he's written, he has many more hits than misses for me. I would recommend Pearl #1 for Bendis fans, for anyone looking for something different from superhero stories, and for fans of mystery/conspiracy stories. I will be sticking with this for at least the first handful of issues, based on my interest in Pearl as a character and Bendis as a writer.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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