Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book 82: Aces High

The first volume of the Wild Card series introduced a variety of characters, and the wild card virus, developed by an alien race.  Once released in the US, it infects and kills the majority of its victims, but 1 in 10 survive.  Some of them become aces, others jokers.  The virus can give special powers (aces) but it can just as easily cause malformity or some other useless changes, and these people are referred to as jokers.
The first compilation was a bit uneven but it had some great stories.  In contrast, this volume didn't have any standout stories but they were all part of one larger plotline involving aliens trying to take over Earth, and a secret cult/sect attempting to overthrow Earth in preparation for the aliens.  I don't read many comic books (this isn't a comic book but has a bit of comic feel to me), so maybe that was part of it, but I just didn't really enjoy this one that much.  There were a few characters I liked, but overall it was all too much.  And something about it just left me feeling dirty.  The book was mostly set in the '80s, and I believe that is also when the stories were written, and there just seemed to be something kind of sexist about them.  It wasn't something incredibly obvious, but I was just left with a general feeling of "for men, by men," and considering that the nerd girl thing has only become big in the last decade, that probably isn't far from the truth - of course, there have always been women that liked nerdy things, but I would guess that they were still trying much harder to get accepted and find a place hold in the world of comics and sci-fi than they are now, even if they continue to be underrepresented.
I also thought that though the volume had a focused main plot, the stories themselves were too "all over the place" for me.  I could have done without all the aliens showing up, and would have preferred the more intimate adventure stories of the first Wild Cards book.

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