PEARL #5 by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
Brian Michael Bendis tells the poetic yet vague story about Pearl's full body tattoo, while Michael Gaydos delivers consistent art with a pop of color. Overall, PEARL #5 was underwhelming for this reader.
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What Happened?

In PEARL #5  we heard the vague, yet poetic story of Pearl’s full body tattoo, seemingly dedicated to her late mother. Brian Michael Bendis presents the friendship of Kimmy and Pearl in a touching way while giving a huge hint at romance between our protagonist and Rick. However, he also falls short on keeping the storyline concise for the reader. Michael Gaydos‘ art in PEARL #5 is consistent and his cover is beautiful, yet misleading.

Warning, potential spoilers for PEARL #5 are below!

Taking a Break From the Action in PEARL #5

PEARL #5 goes into our character’s backstories. First, we have the Endo Twins at a young age making money. A young Ryu wants to start a new pornographic business to increase profits. Unfortunately, the present Endo Twins’ business is struggling, so they turn to sex trafficking and money laundering so their clan doesn’t realize their failure. Then the story transitions to Pearl and Kimmy’s friendship. It talks about Kimmy finding Pearl covered in blood from tattooing her whole body. After that, we see Pearl and Rick at the Golden Gate Bridge where the two share a kiss. Then we end at Mr. Miike’s place with the Endo Twins barging in.

PEARL #5 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Backstory’s Fine, but Plot Development Falls Flat

It was nice to see more of a backstory behind the Endo Twins and Pearl’s tattoo, however, they’re both way too ill-defined. The reader gets a small bit of what the Endo Twins wanted to do, but never really got to see their business start and fail. All we see is Ryu pitching the idea, then we immediately jump to the present. As for Pearl’s flashback, while traumatic and heartwarming writing by Brian Michael Bendis gives the reader an idea of the scene post-tattooing, the reader never sees Pearl struggling through that process. This loss of experience made this reader less interested, overall.

What makes this vague presentation of backstories and lack of plot development worse is the fact that Mr. Mike was about to tell Pearl about the secret of her mother, but the Endo Twins end up interrupting him. Talk about icing on the cake in the worst way possible.

This issue lacks development because all the reader gets are very vague backstories. We don’t see anything happen with the gang war or to Rick, despite him being on the Yakuza’s hit list. Ultimately, PEARL #5 was somewhat disappointing story-wise, even more so than the previous issue.

Consistent Art With a Little Color Pop

Michael Gaydos continues to deliver the cool tones and paint-esque art style, while adding a little pop of color in PEARL #5. For example, in the beginning we see a young Ryu sporting vibrant blue of hair. We don’t normally find that kind of color standing out in the PEARL series. It was nice to see. Plus we finally got to witness the full body tattoo. It’s cool looking, but not vibrant enough to be something all that impressive.

PEARL #5 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Now, the cover by Gaydos is very… sensual, to say the least. The colors on Rick have some little bits of vibrancy, which is a bonus. However, the sensuality gave this reader — who’s been dying to see more development between Rick and Pearl — a very misleading understanding of what’s going to happen in this story. We only see a little kiss (which is still a great step), but none of what the cover advertises happens in PEARL #5. Don’t deliver false hope!

Will PEARL #6 Be Better?

After having two PEARL issues kind of lacking intrigue, it leaves this reader wondering if we’ll get back to having a healthy balance of character and plot development along with art to truly sit and admire. Will we finally be told about Pearl’s mom? Hopefully we learn all this and more in PEARL #6!

One Comment

  1. […] pick up right where we left off from PEARL #5 with the Endo Twins storming in uninvited. Nothing happens to them right away since Pearl takes a […]


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