#27, February 1997
A Christmas Knight
We’re finally introduced to Clarence’s wife, Faith. She and Clarence preparing a big Christmas dinner and having a rather funny (if a bit annoying) conversation in Dickensian English. We find that in addition to the rest of the family, The Knights have been invited to this dinner and that Jack (who was going to come earlier and make the punch) is late.
Cut to Jack, who was on his way to Clarence’s house when he saw a crying man in a Santa suit on a park bench. Santa, a homeless man, got a job as a bell ringer and was forced to keep the suit after his clothes were thrown away when he left them in a changing room. He’s crying because he lost his locket, which contains the one photo he has left of his wife and son, who were killed in a car crash. Going only on the lead that they were all homeless and one of them was named Danny Tolk, Jack agrees to help the Santa.
Back at Clarence’s house, the rest of the family shows up. Barry arrives first, Faith expressing disappointment that he didn’t bring Sandra who he brought to the last family gathering. Barry comments that he’s gone through three other women since then (including Claire the nurse in Starman #14). Matt arrives next, bringing a cake and telling Faith (who comments that he rarely shows up at family gatherings) that he wants to be an O’Dare again. It’s obvious that his time in Hell strengthened Matt’s resolve to change himself. Hope appears to have been similarly affected; we find that she has kept the promise she made to herself back in Starman #25. She is now dating her French tutor and just finished reading just finished War and Peace. Mason arrives a bit late, having gone to pick up a girl and then changed his mind, thinking she wouldn’t want to go with him.
Jack starts searching for Tolk and gives $40 dollars to a homeless man who tells him that Tolk was living in the area called the West Side Pit, under the Forth Street Bridge. Jack also finds out that a big, ugly man, with a face like a monster mask, is accompanying Tolk. He later tracks down one of the other men in the mugging, who says the only reason he agreed to do it was because Tolk was going to split the money they got from pawning the locket and were going to use it to buy food for their crowd. Tolk later backed out on the deal, but the man couldn’t do anything because of Tolk’s muscle, who we find out has a crab hand. Jack gives the man $150 dollars so they can eat and leaves, saying that he won’t be arresting them.
Back at the house, Ted arrives with Mikkal and Charity, whom Jack wanted to invite along with them. Faith notes, with good humor, that they now have the whole trio: Faith, Hope and Charity. Charity and Mason exchange glances and quiet smiles at each other when they see each other, only speaking after Ted Knight makes the first toast of the night to Billy O’Dare. Shade arrives then and offers the O’Dares a gift: an autographed first edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. He declines an invitation to stay, saying he is poor company at gatherings, but he does wish everyone well and promises to talk to Matt in private later.
Jack and Santa track down Tolk and his muscle at a local pawn shop, where the two decided to rob the pawn broker instead of selling the locket. Jack easily deals with the two thugs, but bigger problems arise. Santa looks at the fallen pawnbroker and determines that he has had a cardiac arrest. Thankfully, Santa was a medic in the Korean War and with Jack’s help, they are able to save the pawnbroker’s life. Jack tells the Santa that he is just as much a hero as he is, but Santa shrugs off the compliment. Jack is about to offer Santa a few dollars when he realizes that he gave all his money away to the two other homeless men. Santa says Jack did enough and that his real name is Pete. He starts to walk off but Jack stops him, and takes him to the O’Dares’ where he is excepted with open arms.