Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Lettering: Joshua Reed
Cover: Michael Gaydos
Publisher: DC Comics
There is nothing to dislike about this introduction to assassin tattoo artist Pearl and her urban world, but there isn’t much to grab on to, either. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t find the story to be all that engaging, so I just immersed myself in the watery art and enjoyed the time I had with the pages. That is all well and good to do sometimes, but I just had higher expectations, I guess. From past experiences, though, I really should’ve been more prepared for what I got with Pearl.
Having tried numerous times, I just can’t seem to bring myself to acknowledge that Bendis lives up to all of the hype he gets. I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I’ve been hearing it for years, so please spare me. I don’t think he’s a bad writer or anything; he’s just not as groundbreaking as people seem to keep shouting that he is. Either these people haven’t read anything else by others who are truly groundbreaking, or they are so comfortable in their bubble filled with oxygenated tropes, that even the slightest deviation from tired and cliched cookie cutter stories seems innovative. To be fair, if Bendis wrote as compellingly and mindbendingly as a lot of people claim, most readers would reject his works as being too far from what they are familiar with reading. Although everyone says they actually crave something new, they don’t seem to in reality. But, enough ranting.
The atmosphere of Pearl, as it’s set in this first issue, is really it’s greatest strength. There’s a surreal seediness that permeates through the book and this is what brings readers into the setting and the world of the main character, rather than the character herself. Pearl is an intriguing woman who deserves to have more personality and a better plot that she’s given thus far. Despite some almost interesting flashback scenes, I don’t feel as if I know Pearl at all. She seems more defined by everyone else around her than she actually does just being her. The dialogue doesn’t give her a distinct voice and the story actually moves pretty slowly for a Bendis book. But oh, the art. The images make the book worth it, so if you still want to check out this new series, please do, and just hope that it gets better from here.