Writer: Paul Cornell
Art: Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto, Ruth Redmond, VC’s Cory Petit, and Steve Morris
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 27th, 2022
An extraterrestrial bomb erupts high above the world, disseminating an enormous gene-altering virus across the surface of the planet in the wake of the atrocities involving World War ll. What transpires will change the world as we know it. The outcome is a WILD CARD. “Aces” are bestowed with superpowers while “Jokers” are anathematized with unusual biological and cognitive deformities. However, my fine readers, this is only the beginning synopsis of what George R.R. Martin shaped as Paul Cornell and Mike Hawthorne tailor this classic novel into comic form. Let’s dive into WILD CARDS: DRAW OF THE CARDS #1 as fans new to the franchise, as well as the old, revisit this adaptation for the first time!
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Wild Cards: Draw of the Cards #1 Review.
Throughout all my (many) years of reading, I’ve never taken the time, nor gravitated towards, WILD CARDS. So, this was my first real look into the three-decade-long telling of an alternate history in which the Earth is home to supers. And can I say, there is just something about superpowers and World War II that always pique my interest making my lack of intrigue to this point quite perplexing. Nevertheless, I can’t help but be wildly intrigued by this story.
Now, I understand that to the diehard fans, this adaptation may not be what you’d expect. Or heck, maybe it’s spot on. However, I’m going to review this issue from the standpoint of someone brand spanking new to this world. And from that viewpoint, it’s outstanding with only a few minor criticisms. Cornell is assigned a pretty daunting task. You see, he needs to take at least 25 novels, as well as 20 short stories, and find a way to trim the fat while still keeping WILD CARDS: DRAW OF THE CARDS #1 relevant, interesting, and informative. That said, I think the balance isn’t terrible, however, this story moves extremely quickly making this reviewer feel like a ton of information was cut to progress the story.
Readers will immediately see how this virus gets here, why it’s here (kind of), and eventually how it looks like it will be released. However, to pack the information in like a sausage, we get almost a surface-level look at the characters after one issue. Yet even with the sky view overlooking the terrain, WILD CARDS: DRAW OF THE CARDS #1 still makes time to highlight the lead protagonist, some characteristics surrounding him, as well as his, would be rivals from the war. Additionally, WILD CARDS: DRAW OF THE CARDS #1 reads incredibly fast and has a decent amount of action and suspense trickled in for a comic that takes an aerial approach to the all-encompassing world of WILD CARDS.
Mike Hawthorne and Adriano Di Benedetto lead the charge as these two dynamic artists bring George R.R. Martin’s vision to life. However, I couldn’t help but find my eyes drawn more toward the exceedingly bright and vibrant colors that made up the Takisians. Ruth Redmond made these people, and their world pop while drastically providing a set of drab, dull browns and grays to set the diverse tone between the two worlds. Moreover, no one in this world felt like a “superhero” in their appearance or stature. They all resembled average people, which provided a sense of realism and authenticity that almost reminded me of the WATCHMEN. Nevertheless, as unique and real as the characters were, the faces and facial expressions of the characters involved seemed almost comedic with their responses. I don’t think that was this creative team’s intent which is why I would recommend they try a bit more to provide a more accurate articulation of character expressions with their line work.
WILD CARDS: DRAW OF THE CARDS #1 is just enough to pique new readers’ interests while providing older fans with just enough of a taste to see where Cornell plans to focus this first series. Even though issue one lacks character depth, I believe that it’s assumed most fans are entering this comic with at least some background on the characters and world involved. Nevertheless, I highly recommend brand new fans to this world at least use their Google machine to provide a bit more of a snapshot of some of the characters involved first. It will definitely help provide a bit more excitement as the story quickly unfolds.
As for what I’m the most excited for, WILD CARDS fans have discussed in the past that it’s been the book’s politics that have been the driest and most dull. However, it’s the setup, character studies, and inventive inquiries that most fans flocked to, garnered the most enjoyment from, and admired the most. Well, guess what? That’s WILD CARDS: DRAW OF THE CARDS #1 in a nutshell. Cornell has taken the best parts of the books and put them into comic form highlighting the “draw” to this new series. If you’re a World War II fan, history buff, or even a longtime comic reader looking for something exciting, fresh, and new with slight WATCHMEN vibes, I’d highly recommend giving WILD CARDS: DRAW OF THE CARDS a shot. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!