PEARL #1 by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos
DC Entertainment and Brian Michael Bendis come together to create a unique new comic, PEARL. Dive into PEARL #1 which introduces our leading lady; a tattoo artist that has deadly skill with firearms.
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Tattoos, possible romance, crime, and a female assassin lead character? DC Entertainment and Brian Michael Bendis introduce a new leading lady in PEARL #1, who’s a tattoo artist with a messy white-haired bob, ice blue eyes, and notable spider tat.

Warning, potential spoilers are below!

In The Beginning

PEARL #1 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

PEARL #1 begins by meeting a young man named Rick. He’s got dark brown hair and seems a bit awkward. He recognizes that Pearl’s spider tattoo was designed by a prominent artist by the name of Iriguci. Rick examines and admires it like it’s a designer handbag. He’s immediately attracted to her and is very forward about how beautiful he thinks she is, without being direct. He walks over to his friends for a chat. Pearl only expresses her interest in him when talking to her friend Kim. Kim’s a witty and inappropriate pal, which adds some spice to the story right away. She roots for Pearl to score some time with Rick since he’s the only guy who recognized the artist that did her tattoo.

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Pearl walks over to meet Rick’s friends, who all want to see the art. They chat about how he knows who Iriguci is, then Rick awkwardly asks for Pearl’s number. However, she answers by wanting to know how he knew about Iriguci. Rick reveals he’s a tattoo artist, as demonstrated with a large dragon he did on one of his friends. Pearl admires the work then decides it’s time to leave. As she and Kim are walking away, mysterious men on motorcycles open fire on the group. Pearl demonstrates her expertise with firearms by shooting one of them in the head, saving Rick’s life. They exchange eye contact, before one of the men shoots her in the shoulder.

Back To The Action In PEARL #1

We then cut to Pearl’s shop, where she’s sketching a new design. A man, who we assume she’s already familiar with, by the name of Mr. Kai asks to see her gun. He tells her that after she killed that man she should’ve thrown the gun away, but Pearl promptly says she can’t.

A flashback introduces Pearl’s father, gifting his fourteen-year-old daughter a handgun for her birthday so she can protect herself from predators. He then proceeds to tell her that she’s unique and the world doesn’t always celebrate that; in fact, the world ruins uniqueness.

We return to the present and meet Pearl’s employer, Mr. Mike. He proceeds to praise her talent with a gun and explain she’s not in trouble. There is one interesting thing he does say though: “Do not worry, I am not giving you to the other clan”, which makes me think Pearl works for a gang of sorts. This suspicion grows as Mr. Mike tells her how she’ll learn the names of the men that shot at her and that she’ll have to kill them. Pearl tries to refuse, but Mr. Mike firmly reminds her that she’s replaceable and proceeds to drive a tattoo needle into her wound. He then tells her that, because of her firearm skill, her value has increased in his eyes.

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The final part of the first issue cuts back to Pearl’s shop where she leaves Kim a voicemail. Rick appears to have found her and tells her how thankful he is and how he wants to repay her, all while talking about grandkids. Definitely not a creepy note to end on.

The Symbolism Of Tattoos

It’s said in the comic that Iriguci never asked Pearl what her name was and how he loved the color of her skin, so much so that he sat her down and gifted her a tattoo. There is such a thing as tattooing that’s done by reading someone’s energy and interpreting it on their body. I feel Iriguci’s spider is a symbol of what’s to come in future issues.

PEARL #1 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The spider could be a symbol of versatility, invisibility, darkness, creation, or death. Spiders are quick because of their eight legs and they create webs you can’t really see unless they’re wet. Only some spiders create these traps, but all spiders kill. The dark aspect of the arachnid might refer to Pearl’s past and what she’s involved with in the present. This symbol alone and its interpretations stir exciting thoughts of what might be next for this character.

Another small symbol in PEARL is her unique coloring compared to all the other characters. Everyone else is shown with darker colors while she stands out as the one with the lightest hues. Way to stick to a theme DC! I also enjoy how Michael Gaydos’ art reminds me of Telltale Games and the way they illustrate characters.

Final Thoughts

I’m excited to learn more about the clan Pearl works for, who the main antagonist is, and what they’re all about. There’s so much more to discover about Pearl’s dad and what kind of person he was, as well as if he’s even still alive. Regarding this budding romance between Pearl and Rick; I’m hoping they end up together, but a part of me thinks he might be a villain. PEARL #1 has left me asking so many questions and I’m looking forward to what’s next. So stay tuned for PEARL #2!

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