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Comic Book / Wild Card

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Wild Card is a six issue The Dresden Files miniseries.

It is set between the novels Small Favor and Turn Coat.

When a mysterious fairy begins ripping a trail of carnage across Chicago, Dresden gets involved trying to track it down. But the fairy isn't just an ordinary spree killer—he's Puck, a fae with strength to rival the Leanansidhe, and he plans to set the powers in the city at each other's throats.

If Dresden can't track him down and bring him to justice, Chicago could dissolve into civil war... exactly as Puck plans.


Tropes appearing in Wild Card include:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Dresden and Puck's poker game. If Dresden wins, Puck has to leave town and can't hurt anyone there for a century. If Puck wins, then Harry, Molly, Murphy, Rawlins, Lara, Thomas, and Marcone become Puck's vassals for a year, drastically increasing the amount of havoc he can cause.
  • Ax-Crazy: Puck, who gleefully murders a couple of young women and even pretends to consider sparing one of them before ripping her soul from her body.
  • Bad Future: Dresden describes this as Puck's goal.
  • Cop Killer: Puck's third victim is a police officer.
  • Enemy Mine: Dresden gets the police, the mob, and the White Court to do this in order to fend off Puck.
  • False Flag Operation: Puck's plan is basically just a series of these — he kills random civilians (and tries to kill Murphy) and makes it look like the work of the White Court, kills several White Court members and makes it look like Marcone did it, and kills one of Marcone's men while disguised as a police officer. All this causes the various factions of the city to act on their natural hate of each other and go to war.
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  • Graceful Loser: After an initial shock, Puck takes his defeat surprisingly well, considering how psychotic he generally seems to be, even offering Dresden a neat bow before he departs.
  • Healing Factor: Puck can recover from being shredded by a dozen machine-guns in seconds, and it takes him only slightly longer to regrow his arms after they're amputated.
  • Hope Spot: Harry successfully summons the Leanansidhe, who after a rough start appears ready to thrash Puck... until Puck reveals that Winter owes him a favor and he's using it to prevent Lea from interfering. Lea retreats, leaving Harry in as much trouble as before.
    • There's also one early on when two girls being chased by Puck are able to get inside their apartment, thereby protecting themselves with its threshold, and then call the police. Unfortunately, Puck pretends to be the police and is thus able to trick them into inviting him into their apartment, where he easily kills them.
  • Idiot Ball
    • The entire plot is dependent on John Marcone and Lara Raith both falling for Puck's ruse and being ready to risk open war with the police in Chicago and each other. This requires that both of them forget that their respective organizations - The White Court and Marcone's Mob - are far more subtle than Puck is being and abhor open conflict. It also requires their forgetting their usual M.O. and that they have much better ways of dealing with Special Investigations than open warfare, given that Marcone and Lara both own a number of key crooked cops and politicians.
      • This could also be interpreted as them being forced to save face: the attacks were both public and brutal enough that, in order to protect their position and standing in the eyes of the supernatural world, they have no choice but to retaliate against the perceived attacker. This means that whether Marcone truly believes the White Court was the attacker or vice versa matters less than it being generally perceived that way: all that matters is the need for them to retaliate against the "obvious" attacker, or lose face by letting the attack go unpunished.
  • I Gave My Word: Lea can't stop Puck because Mab gave her word that Puck could ask one favor of Winter and have it granted, and he invokes it to force Lea to stand down.
    • Dresden uses this on Puck by getting him to agree to leave town if he loses a single game of poker, then beating him at said game and thus getting him to leave.
  • Imagine Spot: Dresden depicts the Bad Future that would result from Puck's unchecked chaos.
  • Immortality Immorality: Puck's acting out is rooted in this, as his causing chaos is simply because he's so old that he's completely and utterly bored by the ordinary run of life.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Lara Raith is shown sparring against other members of the White Court.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Puck has this, due to his regenerative powers.
  • Noodle Incident: What Puck did to be owed a favor from Winter. It had something to do with protecting the Outer Gates, that's all that is revealed.
  • No-Sell: Molly's veil attack on Puck. He sees through it in seconds because she didn't get the temperature right, then easily destroys the spell.
  • Ominous Owl: Dresden and Thomas are attacked by a massive owl-like construct.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Lara is usually interested in trying to make Harry her partner in crime, but she's so pissed off by the murders of three of her sisters that she nearly eats him then and there, and he is only saved by Thomas stepping in.
  • Series Continuity Error: Two possible ones.
    • One possible example. Harry makes contact with Lea in an attempt to stop Puck— only problem is that this takes place before Changes, and until some point between Proven Guilty and Changes, Lea was still imprisoned in the ice garden atop Arctis Tor in an attempt to purge her of Nemesis.
    • Molly examines the bodies of the two young women attacked by Puck and says their souls were removed from their bodies, indicating White Court vampire involvement... despite White Court vampires feeding on emotions and not souls. On the other hand, she could just have meant their lifeforce, especially given that despite her rebellion, she was raised devoutly Catholic and might have conflated the two (and In-Universe, there's repeatedly indicated to be some justice to this, with Dresden doing it himself in Changes in reference to his use of Soulfire).
  • Shout-Out: The villain of the story is Puck, from A Midsummer Night's Dream... who in the Dresdenverse is pretty much a souped-up magic version of the Joker from The Dark Knight.
  • Unreliable Illustrator: As per usual, Carlos Gomez's art often doesn't match the text or the character descriptions from the books.
    • Puck is said to shape-change continually throughout the text, yet is always drawn with the same face even when he is impersonating someone. This happens in spite of the text apparently trying to surprise the reader with the revelation that Puck isn't who he seems to be. On the other hand, his build does seem to shift at points.
    • Molly and Murphy are frequently drawn as being the same height and build. To say this is inaccurate to the novels is putting it mildly.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: No one is happy with Dresden settling the situation with Puck via a card game. Especially since he didn't consult with them before offering their fealty as the stakes.
  • The Worf Effect: Puck establishes himself as a serious threat by bitchslapping the Leanansidhe so hard that Harry can't even see where she went. She recovers, but it shows that he's definitely more than just another renegade fae.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Harry takes on Lara Raith in a Cane Fu sparring match. Unfortunately for Harry, he's just gotten through a couple vicious fights, some car crashes, and resultant injuries (which include deep cuts in both shoulders) and exhaustion, and holds back. Lara, who is understandably seething after Marcone having seemingly shot dead a trio of her relatives and her authority challenged, takes out on Harry. Its a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • In Peace Talks, Harry fights Lara in a very similar sparring match in her dojo, but he's not injured and she's under control emotionally, and they seem evenly matched. Later on, she attacks him in earnest, but as they're on Demonreach, Lara never even gets close!)