Created by, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
Letters by, Joshua Reed
Design by, Curtis King
Previously, Pearl met with a friend at The Cart, a local watering hole, where she interrupted an attack by warring clans. Subsequently, she saved the life of Rick, who now feels obligated to return the favor. Rick and Pearl share a common skill: they are both tattoo artists. However, Pearl is obligated to Mr. White, the leader of the Yakuza Clan, after her actions at The Cart, and Rick is obligated to a competing clan. Consequently, she expresses her concerns to Rick, who is oblivious to the dangers they face as a result.
The issue begins, Ms. Endos enters the Sugar Shack, a swanky dance club and tattoo parlor, confronting the members of their clan for losing the money that night at The Cart. She is informed that a “Japanese Tattoo Artist”, Pearl, took her money. Ms. Endo informs the group that she will send a hitman, named Shiba, to exact revenge and get her money back. Later, Pearl arrives at the Sugar Shack where she finds Rick and prepares to kill him to fulfill her obligation to Mr. Mike who wants him dead. However, she finds Shiba as he raises his weapon to kill Rick. Pearl unexpectedly intercedes, wounding Shiba and saving Rick, yet again.
The story and art complement each other in that they are dark, cryptic, and shrouded by layers. Bendis has created a complex story with entwined pieces, which increases the interest. For example, Pearl and Rick are caught in competing obligations to their clans, which are at war with each other, and their affections for each other. Having said that, I’m not sure that there is a unique story here? A young female tattoo artist falls for an attractive male tattoo artist, and they flee from warring clans? What is unique is the tattoo that Pearl has on her face that expands as her stress levels increase. What more is there to this tattoo and will it provide her some protection from Mr. Mike and the Yakuza Clan?
Overall = 9/10
This is a gritty crime noir with a dash of romance. The art is psychedelic and cryptic which reinforces the mystery surrounding the exposition. The premise is not unique but the mystery surrounding Pearl and her tattoo is interesting. I highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy seedy crime dramas.