Created & Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Created & Illustrated by Michael Gaydos
Lettered by Josh Reed
Pearl is a master tattoo artist and reluctant assassin for the Yakuza she was born into, with a very special gift taught to her by her late mother. But a secret she has kept from everyone may be her only chance at happiness beyond the world she was brought up in. This epic romance set in modern-day San Francisco.
You can tell when a project is special by the feeling you get reading the book. In this case you can tell that these guys have been wanting to do this for a while and waiting for the right opportunity and platform to tell it. The time is now and in all honesty every time I look at these pages I feel like I am in the presence of greatness I can feel the passion they have for this book and these characters. When you can feel that from a book then you know it’s one that you have to read and won’t be able to give up. Love em or hate em there is no denying the talent of the men involved here and for me this is the most glorious thing they’ve done to date.
I love the opening here and by using a flashback to when Pearl was a child and we see her passion for tattooing and her mother’s knowledge about her daughters passion and being ready for it. There is not just a lot of great storytelling going on with this but the characterisation is off the charts and just getting to see young Pearl like this it really does go a long way in seeing her now. Also damn Gaydos because to get to see him showcase Pearl’s drawings like this is absolutely stunning stuff.
Part of what we see next almost reminds me of Romeo & Juliet and I have no issues with that because anytime star-crossed lovers are set up it’s going to be automatic in the reference. I mean it’s not uncommon in many parts of the world where certain clans don’t mix or mingle and if they do it causes problems and the solutions are not something you want to think about.
The way this is structured is superb and Bendis really nails how to get the most out of the feelings from the reader with how the ebb & flow is done. The fact that Bendis can use the whole then and now effect to such a degree is amazing to me because it really just that well done. It also makes the past the characterisation that’s so important to how we see her behave in the now. I love how disconnected and yet joined it is and how it all just enhances the experience.
I have already mentioned Gaydos and the work he’s doing here but honestly the way all of this comes across is genius. The colours that denote which is the past or the present are immediately identifiable. I adore the way we see the characters and their emotions coming off their faces and I keep saying the work on the faces and facial expressions can show off talent. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off such a stellar eye for storytelling. Plus the work in like the clothes, see patterns, really stands out to me and the mix of styles throughout are wow factors.
Learning about her past and learn about what is to be expected of her now that the events of last issue show their ramifications. There is no real linear pattern here nor is there an endless loop instead the way we see what transpires feel like life. I cannot say enough things about this that make me happy and why you should be picking this up yourself if you aren’t already.