Every Good and Perfect Gift by Denny O'Neill and David Mazzucchelli
One Sentence Overview: The Kinjorge tribe cause havoc when they're treated to an extravagant Christmas dinner but Micah Synn is more focussed on pursuing Debbie Nelson to the exclusion of all else
David Mazzuchelli's first issue of an acclaimed run on the book. His work is somewhat more muted and considerably more sophisticated than William Johnston's and suits the DD tone well. He's particularly good in a sequence of panels that demonstrates very well Debbie Nelson's ravaged ambivalence about the Kinjorge Chief. A couple of pages later, Debbie wants to flee the scene, yet by the end of the story Foggy is bemused at Debbie's platant concern with the injured Micah. This sense of ambivalence, often the case in those considering a betrayal - not wanting to do it on the one hand but feeling compelled on the other - is brought out really well by Denny and David in this story.
Elsewhere, Micah's underlings show themselves to be as obnoxious as their leader. At a dinner held in their honour, their manners are not just poor but positively put the fear of God into the beleagured staff who try to serve them. More disturbing is their later interruption at Matt's Christmas party, where they giggle at Matt's visual impairment and cruelly taunt Becky for being in a wheelchair. Poor Becky is really picked upon this issue - earlier on she's the victim of a mugging. Alas there's little sense of Ms Blake's resilience, being an educated woman living alone in New York, instead constantly being presented as a victim in this story.
Micah has come to the attention of the Kingpin who is intrigued by the new arrival to the city. At first there's a sense that a team up is on the cards. However, Micah's tunnel vision attitude to squiring Debbie Nelson is a big 'no-no' in Mr Fisk's books. Thou shalt not pursue another man's wife appears to be one moral commandment that Wilson likes to uphold. As such, we find him, before story's end, backing DD in his battle with the Chief (yet another case of Kingpin helping DD out, a story twist that is rapidly becoming a cliche - careful now).
Unusually for Denny, the story contains quite a lot of action at its business end. I'm wondering if some readers were tired of Denny's (rather good, in my opinion) anti-climaxes and wanted a bang, not a whimper, at the end of their book. If so, they get it in spades here.
Weirdly, I've managed to time this review just in time for Christmas (the title's a Biblical reference, for those interested in such matters) in an issue with Matt throwing a yuletide party, helped by his 'lodger', Glorianna. So happy holidays to you all!
Professor Horatio Piper
Rating: 7 out of 10