George RR Martin's Wild Cards DavisHANNAH DAVIS

An NYC arson investigator only recently relocated from Cincinnati, and initially assigned to the murderous attack on Jokertown's Church of Jesus Christ, Joker, Hannah's position as the sole female in a male dominated work environment has meant she's had to work twice as hard as her male counterparts to get the same results. The fact that she's blond, attractive and smart hasn't helped her cause much, either.

Still, they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and despite her 'nat' status, Hannah's since become a major player in the Wild Cards mythos, thanks to her discovery and unmasking of the Card Sharks and their sinister plot against all those infected with the virus. She's also had to readjust her small-town attitude towards Jokers on discovering that they're the only people she can actually trust. Except the terrorist ones, that is.

Positive attributes - Honest, tenacious, open-minded, resourceful, strong-willed.
Negative character traits - Too trusting.
Main appearances - Card Sharks, Black Trump.
Supporting appearances - Marked Cards.
In a nutshell - Firefighter.
Random quote - 'Nothing like firsthand experience to teach you lessons you'll never forget.'

 

DEMISE (James Spector)

Tall, lean and seedy-looking with stringy brown hair and raggedy mustache, Spector hardly projects the image of the ice-cool assassin that Hollywood's instilled into the minds of the public, but that's exactly what he is. Previously a failed accountant from New Jersey who contracted the virus one day and died on route to the hospital, Spector was subsequently resurrected by Dr Tachyon using a new experimental process he'd developed, and spent the next 6 months in an intensive care unit screaming in mental torment, only gradually regaining his sanity thanks to a strict regimen of therapy and strong drugs.

Tachyon soon wished he hadn't bothered, though. Spector has gone on to become New York City's most dangerous killer-for-hire - an Ace with the ability to kill at a glance. Once he locks eyes with a person, he can project the memory of his own painful death and force the victim to experience it himself, thus killing him instantly. As if that isn't bad enough, he's now practically unkillable himself, with rapid regenerative powers that can heal any bodily damage, including lost limbs. Since going over to the other side, Spector's pretty much lost any joie de vivre he may have once had and both hates and fears Tachyon for bringing him back to the world of the living. But then, he was an accountant - how happy could he have been before?

Positive attributes - Black sense of humour, keeps his word.
Negative character traits - Psychopath, sociopath, sadist, kills over trivial matters, impulsive.
Main appearances - Aces High, Jokers Wild, Ace in the Hole, Deuces Down.
Supporting appearances - Down and Dirty.
In a nutshell - The eyes have it.
Random quote - 'I'm so glad I could share something with you.'

 

George RR Martin's Wild Cards DesmondDESMOND, XAVIER

An investment banker working in New York at the same time Jetboy and Dr Tod were battling for control of the skies in 1946, Desmond was one of the first to realise that change was in the air when he found a two-foot pink trunk with seven functional fingers at the end where his nose used to be. When he lost his family, job and home, he moved to Jokertown and got a job at the The Funhouse nightclub, where he's been ever since.

He hasn't eactly been sitting on his hands, though. He eventually become the owner of The Funhouse, founded the Jokers' civil rights organisation, the JADL (Joker Anti-Defamation League), and as their major political spokesman, has been granted the unofficial title of the 'Mayor of Jokertown' by his constituency. Much loved and respected due in part to his refusal to hide behind a mask or nickname, as well as for his willingness to speak his mind when it counts, Des is a community leader who leads by example.

Positive attributes - Wise, reasonable, kind-hearted, sense of duty to fellow Jokers.
Negative character traits - None to speak of.
Main appearances - Aces Abroad.
Supporting appearances - Wild Cards, Down and Dirty.
In a nutshell - Joker pride.
Random quote - 'I suppose I am, at base, as small a man as any.'

 

DIGGER DOWNS (Thomas Downs)

You're not going to find many people who like this guy, but that's okay - he doesn't much like anyone else, either. Aces! magazine's ace reporter is a seedy-looking fellow with pale skin, brown hair, brown eyes and a rumpled suit, and looks pretty much how you'd expect a tabloid journalist to look. Like most hacks, there's nothing he won't do to get his story and he's made quite a few enemies thanks to his total disregard for other people's feelings.

What gives Downs the edge over his competitors, though, is his secret Ace/Deuce ability to literally sniff out anyone infected by the virus, due to a sweet odour they give off that only he can smell. A beneficial side effect is that he also gets an indication of that person's emotional state and, as a result, can usually tell whether they're telling the truth or not. Like he cares - if it sounds good, it gets printed.

Positive attributes - None.
Negative character traits - Unscrupulous, obnoxious, seedy, self-centred, sanctimonious, untrustworthy.
Main appearances - Deuces Down.
Supporting appearances - Jokers Wild, Aces Abroad, Down and Dirty, Dead Man's Hand, Death Draws Five, Inside Straight, Suicide Kings.
In a nutshell - Aces Low.
Random quote - 'Aces, jokers, latents, it don't matter, they all smell the same.'

 

George RR Martin's Wild Cards Dr TachyonDOCTOR TACHYON (Prince Tisianne brant Ts'ara sek Halima sek Ragnar sek Omian of House Ilkazam)

The figurative father of the Wild Card, Doctor Tachyon is an aristocrat from the planet Takis who arrived on Earth in 1946 in an heroic, but ultimately futile, attempt to prevent his family from releasing the Wild Card virus upon our planet. He spent the next few years trying to assuage his guilt by patrolling various hospitals and treating as many victims of the virus as he could. It didn't work though, feeling guilty is what Tachy does best.

Deported from the States in 1950 following the HUAC hearings that also destroyed the lives
of the Four Aces, Tachyon spent the next decade or so on a downward spiral, wandering and drinking his way across Europe in an alcoholic haze. His return in the early '60s promised more of the same until the Turtle helped him pull his life back together. He eventually dicovered his purpose in life by founding the Blythe van Renssaeler Memorial Clinic (AKA, the Jokertown Clinic) in 1966, where he can still be seen tirelessly tending to victims of the Wild Card while trying to find a permanent cure to the virus. And he still feels guilty.

Tachyon's a small (5'4"), physically fit Takisian of human appearance with long, metallic red hair, a narrow face, long nose and narrow chin. Despite being a degenerate womaniser, he's very much in touch with his feminine side - he's a bit of a drama queen and tends to use flowery speech wherever possible. He also dresses in a manner that wouldn't have looked out of place in the 18th or 19th century. You know the sort of thing; cloaks, capes, knee-length boots, embroidered waistcoats, lots of lace, silk and velvet - and of course, a hat simply isn't a hat unless it's got a large feather somewhere on it.

Although he isn't an Ace, he does possess the genetic heritage of a Takisian nobleman, which means he's one of the more powerful mentats on Earth. Tachy's a highly trained telepath with mind control capabilities and a weak precognition sense. He can also erect powerful mental shields that can deflect most attacks. In addition, he's got an extremely long life span compared to a human and is a master swordsman. Which at least explains the musketeer outfit.

Positive attributes - Kind hearted, empathy towards Jokers (despite being disgusted by them), honourable, strong-willed, resourceful, keeps his word.
Negative character traits - Shallow, thinks with his dick, promiscuous, prone to melodrama, cries a lot, stubborn, impulsive, arrogant, massive guilt complex.
Main appearances - Wild Cards, Aces High, Jokers Wild, Aces Abroad, Down and Dirty, Ace in the Hole, One-Eyed Jacks, Jokertown Shuffle, Double Solitaire.
Supporting appearances - Dead Man's Hand.
In a nutshell - Emotional.
Random quote - 'I am Tisianne brant Ts'ara sek Halima sek Ragnar sek Omian of House Ilkazam, and when I do a thing it is for a good and sound reason. Do not question me!'

 

DR. TOD

Generally forgotten villain of the Wild Cards' Golden Age, despite being responsible for the outbreak of the virus in the first place. A highly intelligent criminal mind with an unspecified scientific background, and half a face thanks to a plane crash during the war - courtesy of his nemesis, Jetboy - the good doctor's fairly easy to spot. He's the one with the smooth metal plate that covers his head from jaw to hairline, and nostril to left ear. Designed specially so you can tell he's the bad guy.

Positive attributes - Inspires loyalty amongst his men.
Negative character traits - The main one would have to be psychopathic tendencies, based on his casual estimation that seven million will die once the virus is released.
Main appearances - Wild Cards.
Supporting appearances - None.
In a nutshell - Archvillain.
Random quote - 'Some capers you have to pull, whether you want to or not.'

 

DURG AT' MORAKH

If you were told to design your version of the perfect warrior, chances are the end result wouldn't be too far removed from what the Takisians came up with. Trained to expert level in all forms of combat, the Morakh are a genetically bred race of super-soldiers with Durg being a prime specimen. 5-feet tall and almost as wide, powerfully muscled with metallic blond hair, pale eyes and attractive elfin-features, he's as close to the perfect killing machine as you can get without resorting to an Austrian accent.

His creators have gifted him with metahuman strength, enhanced agility and reflexes, longevity, rapid healing powers, a genius for tactical warfare, and an extremely powerful mindblock that even Takisian Psi-Lords can't penetrate. Oh, and he's virtually indestructable. His only weakness an inbuilt compulsion to serve his appointed master (originally Prince Zabb) without question, although if he's bested in combat, he'll transfer his loyalties to the victor. Actually, on second thought, you probably would have made him a little taller.

Positive attributes - Total loyalty to his master, strong-willed, fearless.
Negative character traits - Ruthless, conscienceless, craves battle, unable to survive without a master.
Main appearances - Double Solitaire.
Supporting appearances - Aces High, Dead Man's Hand, One-Eyed Jacks, Jokertown Shuffle.
In a nutshell - Takisian terminator.
Random quote - 'I care as much for the laws of your kind as you care what legislation dogs might pass.'