Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
In the previous issue, Pearl, Rick, and Kimmy hide at Rick’s mother’s home after Pearl spared Rick’s life from the Endo Twins and Yakuza gangs attempted to kill him. Pearl shows Rick her tattoo which leads to a conversation and flashbacks to Pearl’s cryptic past and hints at her mother’s involvement with Mr. Mike. This issue begins, the trio is on their way to meet with the Yakuza gang leader, Mr. Mike, where Pearl plans to plead her case for sparing Rick. A flashback sequence provides information into the origin of the Endo Twins criminal organization. Mr. Mike reveals his knowledge of Pearl’s mother’s involvement with the Yakuza crime organization. However, the most intriguing sequence shows the events that cemented Kimmy and Pearl’s friendship and the moments after Pearl created the mysterious tattoo.
The beginning of the story is slow and not as interesting because it centers on a flashback sequence involving minor characters. While I know that this backstory will pay dividends later in the story, I was more interested in Pearl’s relationship with Mr. Mike. The story heats up when Pearl and her friends arrive at Mr. Mike’s residence. This part of the storytelling is paced perfectly, and I was hanging on Mike’s every word as he first confronts Pearl for failing to do her job then reveals that he is holding a secret about Pearl’s mother. Bendis is a master at his craft and it really shows in the intimate dynamics that exist between these characters. They have history, a family history of dirty deeds and bonds yet to be fully revealed.
The art by Michael Gaydos continues to be a highlight of this story, as well, by remaining consistently cryptic and supporting the mysterious tone of the book. The effectiveness of the art is best represented in the character’s emotional expressions where a picture speaks a thousand words. For example, the smug arrogance in Mr. Mike’s facial expressions revealed his false bravado and uncontained fear at Pearl’s presence in his home.
Overall = 9/10
This issue increased the intrigue for the reader especially the imagery created when Pearl is said to be laying on the floor in her own blood. The Pearl and Mike standoff is fierce because both characters have agency and it is unclear who will prevail at this point. While the story takes its time to develop, the payoffs are worth the wait. I highly recommend this book to fans of crime noire and stories by Brian Michael Bendis.