A beautiful tattoo artist with snow, white skin. A young man who knows his way around a needle gun. A hit squad taken out by bizarre circumstance. That’s just the beginning of Pearl, the new title from creators Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. It’s out now from DC Comics, let take a look.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Cover: Michael Gaydos
Variant Cover: Alex Maleev
Publisher: DC Comics
Editor: Michael McCalister
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Pearl: Pearl is a tattoo artist who works from a very demanding clientele. Her ancestries combine to make her an unforgettable sight, and that may not be a good thing, especially when the bullets begin to fly.
TATTOOS TELL THE TALE…
A boy, a girl, a cup of coffee, so many tales start with a similar set-up. But in this case, the boy sees a stunning vision clad in skin of white and notices her tattoo, a very rare tattoo given by a very rare tattoo artist. The talk, they flirt, and while it is clear the young man cannot get over the woman’s beauty, it is the tattoo that he is focused on. Eventually, the girl asks how he knows who the artist is, and he confesses to being a tattoo artist himself. As they continue to go through the oldest of rituals the unexpected happens. Motorcyclists wielding guns come upon the group and fire upon the boy’s friends. It is the girl who takes up a weapon of her own and defends him. Not everyone walks away unscathed.
And that is how Pearl meets Rick.
The problem is, Pearl has commitments. One of those commitments is going to demand she take action against those she had just saved to stave off a potential war. She has to clean up a mess, but is her heart willing? Decisions loom on the horizon and next time a lone gunwoman may not have the skills to make it turn out for the best.
LOVE, INK, NEEDLES, AND DEATH
When the news was announced that Brian Michael Bendis (Alias, Superman) was coming to DC Comics, the news focused so heavily on what he would be doing with their superhero catalogue, that it was overlooked that he had a rather hefty catalogue of his own creations, many of them outside of the superhero genre. Working with his collaborator, Michel Gaydos (Alias, Manhunter), Bendis has brought us another creation from Jinxworld, Pearl.
Bendis does crime well. I realize that is an understatement, but when you (hard) boil it down it’s the truth. He does crime well, interjecting a humanity into a world of hitmen and big bosses that is refreshing. He did it in his early work with Jinx, continued it in Torso, and spun it to a different platter in Marvel’s Alias series. Grit and crime and beautiful women are a major part of his talent. He understands how classic film works and how to translate that visual medium from an, essentially, three-dimensional form such as fil to a two-dimensional one with the sequential art page. Reading a Bendis book is akin to watching a fine classic noir film or a vintage European crime drama. You can hear the slow sound of a lonely jazz horn rise from his written page and hear it advance to a rapid tattoo against the snare as the action advances. He knows how to work the beats of film into his writing, and it makes for a satisfying reading experience.
Michael Gaydos also knows these beats, and how to translate the lighting of film and pleasant camera angles onto his images. He is known for his realist illustrations of people and the use of various media to achieve an almost dream-like vision to his work. In this particular instance, model Exotik Alek served as the model for Pearl, and Gaydos captured her natural beauty as he translated her appearance into the protagonist Pearl.
BOTTOM LINE: HAUNTING AND BEAUTIFUL
For so long I’ve read comic fans focus on Bendis solely on and his treatment of the superheroes at his previous job, people touting both bad and good. Here Bendis proves once again that he is so much more than a tights’n’fights creator, he still has that sense of drama and timing that serves him so well in his grittier work. With Gaydos he brings forth a work that is worthy of the finest traditions of sequential art and cinema.
And if it was just the story of Pearl, that would have been enough. But we get the added pleasure of a reprint of his first DC Comic’s work, and it wasn’t Superman. “Citizen Wayne”, a short Elseworld story originally published in The Batman Chronicles #21 is reprinted, as it originally appeared, with no enhancements to spoil the presentation. It is a love letter to the Orson Wells classic film Citizen Kane as well as Batman, and a wonderful inclusion to this debut title.
Pearl #1 holds the promise of drama, crime, assassins, and love that will satisfy even the most hardcore fan. Don’t miss out, pick your copy up today.
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