Pearl #3 marks the halfway point of the opening six-issue arc of Bendis’ new title that launched the new Jinxworld. You heard me right, opening arc. Bendis has officially confirmed that Pearl will be continuing on for the foreseeable future as an ongoing series. He speaks in letter pages how much he enjoys writing Pearl, that Gaydos enjoys drawing this book over others, and how the reception of this book exceeded his expectations.
Pearl #3 continues the fascinating crime drama that Bendis has set up. This issue focuses on questioning a mystery hinted at last issue and developing the antagonists of the story. Using Bendis’ trademark non-linear style, he delivers the best issue in the series yet.
A Shift In Focus
The titular Pearl take a back seat in Pearl #3, as we get more insight into her supporting cast and antagonists. This is not to say she isn’t featured heavily in it, it’s just that she is not the central focus of the issue. For instance, this issue introduces us to the Endo Twins in a TV-style cold opening that gives the issue a sense of style. Bendis has done this before but using the cold open fits with the overall tone of the series.
Mr. Miike is focused on pretty heavily near the end of the issue, as we get more insight into his past with Pearl. At Pearl’s mom’s funeral, Bendis uses the opportunity to do a writing technique that only works in comics. This technique also helps us to understand the distance between Pearl and Miike. Every character with the exception of Pearl and Kim, talk with the symbols of what they are talking about. So Miike has a symbol of a stripper at one point and then an expensive car.
This technique’s purpose is to show that Miike, and the Yakuza at large, have no respect for Pearl and her loss. Understandably, Pearl denies Miike the opportunity to acquire her mom’s shop, which led to the predicament they are in, in the present. Where Miike came off as a horrible person in #1, now in Pearl #3, we begin to understand him and the reason he acts the way he does. Whether he actually wants to do this to Pearl or if it the Yakuza mentality being forced upon him is left in question.
I keep mentioning Michael Gaydos’ art, but there is a reason for that. It’s been absolutely breath-taking the past few issues, with the style and color pallet changing based on scene and tone. Pearl #3 features the longest and most complex fight scene yet, and Gaydos renders it spectacularly. Over the course of two pages worth of silent panels, Gaydos gets up and close on the characters. He shows their actions, their reactions, their expressions while all of it is being illuminated by the strobe lights of the nightclub.
Then once Pearl fires her weapon we have to turn the page. A splash page, with the hand of the assailant having a bullet hole through it. Through the hole, we can see Pearl, at the ready and concentrating on her aim. These three pages purpose is to show just how skilled Pearl is. She doesn’t flinch and simply waits for her opportunity to strike.
Then, of course, there are his unusual panel layouts at the end, which give a sense of urgency. And, who can forget the way he draws each character’s unique tattoos. No matter how much of a Bendis fan I am, the standout of this series by far has been Gaydos’ art.
Pearl #3 Is The Strongest Issue Yet
Pearl #3 is a strong middle point to the story. We get more insight into the antagonists of the story, new villains show up, and some mysteries are hinted at. What are the Endo Twins up to? Why do the tattoos on Pearl appear and disappear at certain times? Well, we can only wait and find out in the upcoming issues.
With the announcement that Pearl will become an ongoing series, I’m absolutely ecstatic. Bendis and Gaydos has already crafted an interesting and believable world with characters I care about. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat in anticpation for every issue at this point.