The Masks and Mobsters team of Josh Williamson and Mike Henderson have taken their world of 1940s pulp noir and infused it with a generous dose of ‘the best Christmas story ever told‘ – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – for this brilliant festive offering. As two hitmen try to hunt down a certain, Ebeneezer Scrooge, they are warned off their hit by some malevolent spirits who have other plans for Mr Scrooge.The fact that this idea can be so readily added to the Masks and Mobsters world without seeming incongruous (not to mention shifting it from Victorian London to 1940s USA) is a credit to Williamson and Henderson. The plotting is smart and witty, and increasingly reminiscent of Ed Brubaker’s Criminal with its brooding action, smart genre awareness and its broad range of characters rather than one single lead. Henderson’s white splattered, snowy artwork gives the whole story an almost Frank Miller/Sin City-esque vibe, (but without any of the negative connotations that go with that), as it is tightly rendered and filled with great personality and deft touches that make every page feel vital and full of life. Especially when it comes to the ghosts of Christmas.
With every issue the world of Masks and Mobsters is getting broader and more intriguing and for the bargain price of 69p you can’t go wrong with this festive offering. If you are new to the title it gives you a great starting point for the book, so be sure to check out the earlier issues as this is a one of the jewels in the crown of the MonkeyBrain line up.