Written by, Brian Michael Bendis
Art by, Michael Gaydos
The second installment of this gritty crime noir begins by providing some backstory for Pearl and her family’s involvement with organized crime and Mr. Mike. The issue connects Pearl’s talents as a tattoo artist with her mother and her comfort in killing others with her father while flushing out some deeper connections to Rick, the young man she saved in the first issue. Mr. Kai, a longtime friend of the family and co-associate of Mr. Mike, provides Pearl with some wise advice while Pearl’s longtime best friend Kimmy’s head is spinning by the events of the past 24 hours. Intrigue builds around the idea of “obligation” and what being a close friend of Pearl means to everyone close to her.
The intrigue in this story has to do with the layered connections between characters and the risk involved in each of these connections. For example, Bendis piques curiosity by extending the interactions between Rick and Pearl with Pearl trying to protect Rick from harm. While the use of familial bonds can be dicey because so many tropes exist, in this case, it feels genuine because it’s not preachy or contrived.
Michael Gaydos’ art continues to shine through the use of shadows and rugged facial representations to reinforce the emotional tone in the story. Woven in the art is the visual aesthetic of the tattoos, which tell a story, albeit yet to be revealed.
Overall = 9
The high water mark in this story comes when Pearl’s friend Kimmy hears about her obligation to Mr. Mike. Each character is constrained by both compassion and coercion which makes the story interesting. I strongly advise picking up this book for the criminal and familial themes and the interesting story.
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