Wild Card is a six issue The Dresden Files miniseries.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- O.O.C. 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.
- 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.
- 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.