THE DRESDEN FILES: WILD CARD

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

A spate of murders on the streets of Chicago and subsequent mutual accusations sets the police, the criminal organisation of gangster baron John Marcone and the vampires of the White Court against one another. As retaliatory skirmishes break out between the power factions, intrepid wizard PI Harry Dresden must uncover who is orchestrating the chaos before the city erupts into an all-out war zone.

As The Dresden Files series progresses, it becomes less straightforward to dip in and out of the saga, and despite Wild Card being chronologically set far earlier in the series than the ‘present,’ it’s still written with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with the main players and the rules of magic by which its world operates. However, the lack of space taken up by explaining who everyone is and the strengths and weaknesses of various supernatural races leaves more room for story, and allows readers to figure out possibilities of what’s going on without having the required information spelled out to them.

It’s inevitable that comic adaptations of novel characters won’t completely match up with how every reader pictures them, but liberties have really been taken with a couple of them. The rough and tumble Murphy as is drawn as though she were some elfin model, while Molly is interpreted as a wasp-waisted Suicide Girl, tacitly implying that the sturdily built young woman the books describe couldn’t possibly translate to someone as attractive as their writing portrays her. The improbable number of beautiful women who populate Harry’s life is further highlighted with appearances from Lara the White Court queen and high fae the Leanansidhe, both as full-figured, cleavage-sporting and malevolently sensual as you’d expect of the powerful entities who are as malicious as they are seductive towards Harry.

The novels are invariably told from Harry’s sole viewpoint, but here the multiple perspectives give a little welcome variation in reactions to the situation, including a rather touching sequence where Murphy remembers being a little girl and spending time with her now deceased father.

Butcher has many times freely admitted his love of torturing Harry, and it will come as no surprise to learn of the physical suffering the wizard is put through in the course of his investigation, but also again establishes his indomitable will to see an investigation through to its bitter end.

One for existing fans of the series rather than newcomers, in the realm of Dresden comics Wild Card is a vast improvement over the disappointing Down Town, but reaches neither the satisfying mystery of Ghoul Goblin nor the perilous excitement of War Cry. If nothing else, it’s a decent enough stopgap to partially slake impatient desires for the long-awaited next novel to be completed.

THE DRESDEN FILES: WILD CARD / AUTHOR: JIM BUTCHER, MARK POWERS / ARTIST: CARLOS GOMEZ, SEAN IZAAKSE, ANTHONY FOWLER JR, MOHAN / PUBLISHER: DYNAMITE / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 27TH


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