Rick flies to Japan to be with his girl. Pearl meets with figurehead Saito to be granted the release of her father and full ownership of her shop. Saito takes a liking to Pearl and bestows upon her some key truths before negotiations begin swiftly between Pearl and Miike.
This issue is visually incredible. While initially, it seems there are large chunks where nothing is happening, you’ll fast realize that even the downtime is crucial to character development and propelling the story threads on to the next issue.
The narrative framing via YouTube-like posts by Rick is refreshing and well executed. They aid in illustrating his character and all its charm in an innovative fashion.
The moments that are played for comedy hit their mark with efficiency without disturbing the pace of the book. They aren’t crass, misplaced, or smug. They’re used perfectly.
Pearl takes another step toward owning her space as a person and in terms of the story. Her effect on the other characters in this book and the way they interact with her, as a result, is so clearly conveyed you may just feel like you’re watching a well-directed TV show.
Back to the art. This is truly an achievement in sequential storytelling via mixed media. Some of the panel layouts are pure comic book, right down to the jarring sound effects. But the color and effects used to make the most out of photo referencing is something else.
“Kaleidoscope” would be both too small and too cliché a description to do it justice. This is like the world’s most exotic grand aquarium. An orchestral symphony of moving images that aren’t moving at all. Making the most of Japanese nightlife and casino interiors Michael Gaydos and Curtis King, Jr. makes even a bunch of suited-up men in a lounge into something painterly and majestic.
The use of colors to control the mood as everything shifts tonally is yet another hit in a book where misses seem rare, if not absent. Skittish and nerve-racking in some areas and cool, calm, controlled, and yet ominous in others. It’s a mastery so well refined it should come with its own psychology doctorate.