PEARL #6 by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
PEARL #6 shows Bendis and Gaydos' teamwork at its best when Pearl and her father share a touching moment. Overall, PEARL #6 may be the most powerful and bizarre comic in the PEARL series yet!
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Pearl is finally able to hear the truth about her mother from a surprise character — her incarcerated father — in PEARL #6! Brian Michael Bendis’ storytelling thrives while Michael Gaydos’ art remains consistent both stylistically and thematically. There’s a strong moment in this issue that makes it the most powerful in the series so far. Overall, PEARL #6 is a relief (since the secret’s out), and a little bizarre.

Warning, potential spoilers for PEARL #6 are below!

The Story Continues in PEARL #6

We 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 hit from a joint, then her and Rick walk out, no harm done. Pearl and Rick then set out for an unidentified prison to visit her dad.

Pearl finally demands the truth and learns that her mother was the secret leader of the Yakuza clan. She took the position herself. The only thing we don’t find out is who killed her. Once Pearl returns to Rick we finally see her accept that he’s in love with her and that he’s not going anywhere. Ah, so sweet.

Improved Storytelling by Brian Michael Bendis

After a vague style of storytelling in PEARL #5, Brian Michael Bendis returns to being more straightforward with a little bit of teasing. Bendis finally reveals who Pearl’s mother was. The secret of Mama Tanaka is one that surprised this reader. Knowing that she took over the Yakuza makes her a total badass. It kind of explains why Pearl is the way she is (along with the influence of her father). It’s great Bendis reveals what we wanted to know, but he also leaves out who murdered Mama Tanaka. Pearl’s father says he “took care of it” and that’s why he’s in prison. But is it really why he’s there? Pearl seems to doubt him, but also wants to find a way to free him. Her dad thinks Mr. Mike will take care of him being released in order to keep image but, again, Pearl has her doubts.

PEARL #6 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Besides a Tanaka family reunion in PEARL #6, we see Rick’s romance towards Pearl reciprocated. Pearl didn’t want to drag Rick into her problems, but Rick’s proves that he’s not going anywhere by stating so and kisses her on the hood of his car. This reader’s been waiting for this moment of acceptance from Pearl. Rick’s been trying to win her over for five issues, and he might have done just that. Bendis finally lets Pearl open up a little more, instead of being emotionally unavailable and complicated about her feelings.

One tidbit that Bendis skipped out on was what happened between the Endo Twins and the Yakuza. They appear in the beginning then end in a car with Ryu missing a pinkie. What the hell happened with the Yakuza? A little extra on this would’ve been nice.

When Art and Writing Work to Create a Powerful Moment in PEARL #6

Gaydos and Bendis create the most powerful moment in the PEARL series in PEARL #6. Right before Pearl leaves the prison, she and her father have a small fight about Pearl wanting to know who her mother’s killer is. Her father ends the fight by yelling her full name and saying “Honor your mother,” to which she responds “I am,” and hugs him tight. The way that panel is drawn in combination with the lettering so powerful well-paced, the scene makes for a strong emotional moment. This reader was taken aback, then soaked in the bond the Tanakas shared.

PEARL #6 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

On a small note, Gaydos keeps everything the same hue and continues to be consistent in his drawing style. This could affect the reader’s feelings on the PEARL series if there isn’t something more unique in the future. In all honesty, this reader found the monotony of the color scheme a tad dull. A little spice wouldn’t have hurt.

Some New Possibilities in PEARL #7

Pearl’s goal is to now find out who killed her mother. Will she find the answers from Mr. Mike, or by some other means? Now that Pearl’s opened up to Rick, where will their relationship go? Hopefully to great places! Now the Endo Twins are out to get Pearl. Does that mean they did some real damage to the Yakuza? Will they succeed in their endeavors to “take care of Pearl?” All this and more to come, hopefully, in PEARL #7!

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