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Review Brew:Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files #4: Wild Card


Written by Jim Butcher & Mark Powers

Artwork by Carlos Gomez & Sean Izaakse

Colors by Mohan

Published by Dynamite


Just when things are starting to calm down in Chicago, a new player comes in to throw a wrench into the mix. All the usual suspects are claiming innocence, including the ones who benefit from the chaos. Friends are hospitalized and bodies from all factions are piling up on the street. The White Court and “Gentleman” Johnny Marcone are pointing fingers with a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality. There’s even a nod to current events in the United States with police officers being attacked in retaliation of violence done to a minority group (in this case, vampires). Only Harry Dresden’s head is clear enough to know there’s another party in play. The only person he knows who can help is his godmother, Lea. They have an unhealthy relationship (she wants his life, fortune, and power and he doesn’t want to give them), but when he calls, she will always be there. However, the answers Harry seeks leads to more questions that even Lea is uncertain of.

Our hero, Harry Dresden, is just as lovable as ever with his deep care for his friends and cold handling of his enemies. The line between the two is often blurred which is a part of what makes this series intriguing. When Harry questions “Gentleman” Johnny Marcone, his hostility towards the mob boss is admirable, but, as we find out, plays into Marcone’s hands. As Marcone says later on, “Dresden is an emotional man. It helps make him powerful, but it’s also his Achilles Heel.” Emotion pushes Dresden forward, but also blinds him from the real enemy until it may be too late. This characterization though keeps our hero flawed enough to be sympathetic and real in a vampire and faeries-filled world.

Fans of The Dresden Files series will see familiar faces (Karen, Butters, Thomas, etc.) and new ones who fit seamlessly into the world where Wizards are for Hire and Fairies run the Underground. Jim Butcher, author of the New York Times Bestselling Dresden Files novels, assists Mark Powers with writing the comic. His assistance pays off in consistency and Harry’s trademark sarcasm, as well as other character’s quirks. I read the books and I believe Mark Powers’ writing skills come to play in shrinking story explanations and fully turning Butcher’s world into one that can be manipulated in the graphic novel media.

The metropolitan landscape Gomez, Izaakse, and Mohan create serve as a fantastic backdrop to the unreal creatures inhabiting it. The color scheme of browns, blues, and greys keep things neutral so that all the characters stand out, even Dresden in his trademark brown leather duster and trusty grey side-dog, Mouse. I appreciated a subtle detail they gave the immortal characters versus the mortal ones. They have less lines on their face, even when indicating emotion. Their smooth faces really help to distinguish who is part of the Nevernever (where all paranormal creatures come from) without the necessity of catlike eyes or abnormally sharp facial features, unless required. This helps to enforce Chicago as a brilliant mix of paranormal entities coexisting with humans.

This issue a build-up to the next story arc, concluding what happened in the previous issues and dropping hints about where the story will be going next. Character conflicts are built up and favorites are brought in to start causing trouble. As a build-up, the issue does its job. However, nothing really exciting happens. You just have to wait for the next issue.

4 crazy fairies out of 5

About Virginia (31 Articles)
A proud fangirl who somehow found a job getting paid to read and nerd out about books. She love all things sci-fi/fantasy. She read voraciously and friends find themselves hard-pressed to talk to her when her nose is in a book. She is also a gamer (FPS and RPGs mostly), cosplayer, tv/film lover, and budding comic book enthusiast. She lives in Westminster, MD with a room full of books. She has made guest appearances on the "410wned Gaming" and "From the Front Porch" podcast and is a regular on "Three Writers Make a Left" podcast.
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