Can an accidental assassin find love in a rival group?

The story is about an albino Asian-American young woman named Pearl, who is a tattoo artist, who inadvertently gets involved with the San Francisco Yakuza mob. Written and illustrated by the Jessica Jones team of Brain Michael Bendis and Micahel Gaydos, it is set in Bendis’s Jinxworld.

Pearl meets Rick, a fellow tattoo artist, and saves him from an assassination attempt by a rival Yakuza clan. Her local crime boss, Mr. Miike forces her to become an assassin for his group, as she showed a killer instinct that he plans to use to his benefit. Thus, the story is somewhat of a Romeo & Juliet inter-generational crime saga, as Rick and Pearl are from rival clans.

Gaydos’s photorealism art was in full display and was a strength in the story. The tattoo work and the San Francisco cityscapes were especially beautiful, with a muted blue and pink color palette. But, OMG, all those speech bubbles! While Bendis is known for his snappy dialogue, he is also known for overdoing it, and that was the case throughout the story. Gaydos did his best to incorporate all the dialogue into the panels, in fact, he just leaned into it on one page, with Mr. Miike’s dialogue just spiraling around him.

Chosen as January’s graphic novel selection by the Goodreads group I Read Comic Books, I appreciated being pushed to try a book I would not have picked up on my own, however, it will be a hard pass for me in regards to reading further volumes. The self-indulgent dialogue, the problematic issue of neither author or artist being Asian, plus my lack of connection to Pearl or Rick made this a one-and-done.