DC’s Pearl No. 6 review: Secrets of the Yakuza are revealed


Pearl No. 6 concludes the first volume of the Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos series with a revelation about the protagonist’s heritage.

Pearl No. 6

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Michael Gaydos

Pearl No. 6 cover (Credit: DC Comics)

Pearl Tanaka and Rick Araki walked into Mr. Miike’s Yakuza headquarters with the intention of ending the hostilities between the warring parties. But then the Endo Twins arrived. Things should have escalated between the three groups, but surprisingly, Pearl is allowed to walk out of the conflict before guns begin firing – we find out why in Pearl No. 6, the final chapter of the first volume.

Pearl’s greatest supporters in her life have been her tattoo artist mother, and her imposing father. But everything she thinks she knows about her family is about to change. To find out how this new knowledge will impact her plans, readers will have to wait till the series returns in March.

A Satisfactory Conclusion to Book One

Pearl began as a six-issue limited series, but has since evolved into an ongoing series. It’s apparent that this issue was meant to have plenty more action in it – instead this final installment feels thin on substance.

Despite that, the titular character shines through in this issue, which has been a long time coming. Pearl’s emotional restraint throughout the series has meant that the supporting cast – including her friend, Kimmy, and even Rick – have often been vibrant, easily relatable characters, while Pearl has simply pushed the plot along without giving readers insight into her personality.

But readers see a new side to her in Pearl No. 6. She has a dark sense of humor and is wise beyond her years. Not to mention, she is a smart cookie who knows how to get her way when she wants to. It’s no wonder Rick Araki refuses to leave her side; she’s quite a mesmeric personality with or without her magically appearing tattoos.

There is Always Room for Improvement

It’s good to see that the publishers have credited the model on whom Pearl is based; though one would have expected the first issue to have included the credit. If Michael Gaydos has been using photographs to model the characters on, it may explain why most of the characters are devoid of expression. That is probably one main criticism with the art, and it becomes all the more obvious in a book like this one wherein the majority of the panels concentrate on the characters and their interactions with each other.

Since this is an ongoing series now, one can expect that this flaw will be rectified in upcoming issues. The tense story and elegant colors can only make up for so much in the long run.

Subverting Tropes is the Name of the Game

Pearl and Oscar in Pearl No. 6 (Credit: DC Comics)

Pearl No. 6 begins with an uncomfortable encounter a few years prior to the events of the series between Pearl and her then-boyfriend Oscar. What could have been a contrived attempt at making Pearl into the stoic character she is now is instead turned on its head with Pearl being the one in power and lamenting the end of her romance because of Oscar’s behavior. Reading that scene actually made me laugh because every reader would have expected it to go down the route of usual comic book tropes, but no, Bendis surprises us again.

And later, a startling revelation about another female character portends good tidings for the rest of the series. It’s so refreshing to come across a series that tries hard to subvert expectations. There is a familiar feel to the events of Pearl No. 6, yet, because of the gender swap, it is unique and gripping.

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Wherever Bendis and team decide to take the characters in the subsequent issues of the series, the hope is that they continue to freshen up the landscape with dynamic characters and original takes on the gangster story genre.