Edited by George R.R. Martin & Melinda M. Snodgrass
Tor, Dec 2009, $25.99
The People's Paradise of Africa (PPA) and Caliphate of Arabia meet in a battle that will determine whose vision of despotic rule in Africa will dominate. Whereas Prince Siraj has the superior military, the PPA leaders, siblings Dr. Nshombo and Alicia, own the Wild Aces though one key Wild Card Tom “Radical” Weathers increasingly is losing mental control of right from wrong. Even after his side wins the fight, the Radical gleefully continues his slaughter of enemy soldiers. Nshombo and Alicia believe they must eliminate Radical , who has gone insane with a berserker blood craving.
In the United States, Wally “Rustbelt” Gunderson worries about his friend Lucien being caught up in the war. He begs Jerusha “Gardener” Carter to accompany him when he sneaks into the war zone to rescue Lucien. At the same time Michelle “Amazing Bubbles” LaFleur comes out of her coma with help from a dream girl needing help to escape from a mass grave. Michelle and zombie Hoodoo Mama travel to Africa to rescue the dream girl who may not be real. As Prince Siraj blackmails Noel “Double Helix” Matthews to help him with a counter attack; the Wild Aces converge in Africa for a final confrontation.
The latest collaboration (see Busted Flushes and Inside Straight) is a royal flush in international fantasy that grips readers from the opening war in the Sudan until the final climax occurs. Much more than just what is described above happens in the action-packed thriller as the authors somehow keep their cast of a zillion superheroes and supervillains unique from one another. Fans will believe George R.R. Martin, Melinda M. Snodgrass and the other contributors have dealt the audience a royal flush straight with this terrific look at those with extraordinary powers, who for the most part want acceptance not fear from the NT (like a combo Watchmen and X-Men).