Bendis and Gaydos continue their fascinating crime drama miniseries in Pearl #2 by focusing on Pearl’s relationship to her mother. In the last issue, we were introduced to her father, her boss, her best friend, and a few others. But noticeably absent was her mother, and now we know why.
Pearl #2 continues what the last issue did so well, while also having a bit more of a singular purpose. Instead of focusing on introducing several characters, Bendis focuses on one character’s introduction and how this affects Pearl.
What Is Past Is Prologue
What is fascinating about Pearl is that she is an artist first and an assassin second. She doesn’t want to work for the Yakuza but she is being forced to. This inner conflict of doing what she has to do instead of doing what she wants to do, allows the reader to empathize with her.
This conflict is represented visually in the flashbacks. When she is a teenager talking to her mother, she has brightly colored hair. She clearly looks up to her mom, who notably has black hair with a pink stripe. But in the modern day, Pearl has stark white hair. The exact opposite of her mother.
This transition is noticeable in the flashback between her and her father. I mentioned in the last issue how Gaydos used a different style and color pallet for each scene. Well, the one chosen for the flashback to her father has a very loose art style with the only color being blue. A color often associated with sadness. In this scene, he is trying to tell Pearl that her mother is working for the Yakuza, and it is hinted at that she is dead. But he can’t bring himself to say the words.
Pearl is stuck in a life she doesn’t want, surrounded by people that would as much shake her hand as kill her, which is exactly what her father warned her about. And in Pearl #2, she finds out that the one person that supported her art, her mother, was owned by the Yakuza before she was even born. So the question that Pearl and the reader are left with is: does she even have a choice or was this just inevitable?
The Art Continues To Take My Breath Away
Bendis’ interweaving of internal conflict, themes, and plot are amazing. He is a master of the craft after all. But the real standout from this series so far is Michael Gaydos’ art. Every panel is beautiful. The juxtaposition of the different color schemes based on scene and mood set a tone that is unique to this comic. And the way he highlights various character’s tattoo’s and how they represent their personality is just masterful.
The ending is impactful not just because Bendis has given us insight into Pearl’s mind. It works because the art shows you what she is feeling. She is out of place in the club, she is isolating herself. The large sound effects are literally pushing the panels to the side of the page.
And the close-ups on her face as she makes the decision of whether to pull the gun or not. Finally, ending on her with the gun out, but with the expression of instant regret. Comics are a visually driven medium. The words and the pictures have to work and tandem in order to tell a complete story. Pearl #2 hits the nail right on the head, leaving the reader in awe.
Pearl #2 Is Starting To Make Me Think We Are Seeing The Birth Of A Classic
The Pearl miniseries has fast become one of my favorite comics coming out right now. Pearl #2 cements that assertion. There is only one thing I can complain about, but it’s a non-issue as it comes with the territory with Bendis. His use of double-page spreads for conversations can slow down the pacing, making it feel like the issue is over faster than it should be. But the writing is so good it makes up for the quick read.
If you like great characters or crime dramas, I highly recommend picking it up. I can only hope that Bendis and Gaydos plan to continue the story of Pearl past the initial five issue miniseries.