For someone like me, that’s into pop culture and genre work, I sometimes surprise people and even myself with the stuff I’m not into. Case in point, I haven’t watched much Game of Thrones. Currently, I’m sitting somewhere in season two, and it’s been way that for a while. Maybe I’ll get back to it somedat, maybe not. I’ve never been much of a swords and fantasy type person, which probably explains my whole feeling of “meh” to the whole thing.
I am, as you likely know if you’re a regular reader of this column, a superhero person, though, which explains why I’d have some interest in another, less popular George R.R. Martin property, Wild Cards. I read the first big short story trade paperback back when I was a teen, so when I saw that Marvel was going to be publishing a Wild Cards comic, I definitely was intriuged.
Here’s the log line for the first issue of Wild Cards: The Drawing of Cards:
THE LEGENDARY GEORGE R.R. MARTIN SUPER HERO SERIES COMES TO MARVEL! Spanning more than 25 novels, more than 20 short stories, released over three decades and written by more than 40 authors, the Wild Cards series tells the story of an alternate history in which the Earth is home to super-powered individuals. When a human is infected with the alien “Wild Card” virus, the odds are that they will be killed…which is referred to as “drawing the black queen.” Of those who survive, the bulk of them become “jokers,” left with some strange mutated form. A lucky few are called “aces,” those gifted with super-powers they can put to use toward heroes goals…or villainous ones. Now, for the first time in comic book form, see how the Wild Cards universe began with an adaptation of the very first stories in the original Wild Cards novel. Based on stories by Harold Waldrop, Roger Zelazny and series mastermind and editor, George R.R. Martin, Wild Cards is a stellar introduction to a whole new world reshaped by the emergence of superpowers.
Writer Paul Cornell and artist Mike Hawthorne have done a pretty solid job introducing the Wild Cards universe to newcomers, of which I will consider myself one, since it’s been a long time since I read anything related to the universe, and my memories are pretty foggy of what I did read back in the day. In Wild Cards: The Drawing of Cards, we meet the Takisians, who are set to do an experiment on Earth that will, in all likelihood, have horrible consequences for the majority of humans. Along the way, we’re introduced to Doctor Tachyon, a renegade alien hoping to save the planet; Jet Boy, a Captain America-like hero, back from the war; and Doctor Tod, who I surmise is playing the role of Doctor Doom in the book.
There’s a lot to like in Wild Cards: The Drawing of Cards, as it does it’s job setting up the universe we’re entering and the stakes at play. There’s an especially great page where Doctor Tachyon is trying in vain to explain to the U.S. government the dangers the planet is facing, and the frustration when they just don’t get it.
Most Marvel books are part of the 616 worlds, so it’s fun to pick up another property from the House of Ideas. You don’t need to know anything about Wild Cards to enjoy the first issue of The Drawing of Cards, so take a chance and see what you think of a new world of heroes.