Wild Card Day, 1986, was a pivotal moment in Wild Cards history. On September 15, 40 years after the first Wild Card Day, the Astronomer, leader of the Egyptian Freemasons, engendered a bloodbath before being defeated by Fortunato.
While the day began quietly with various people preparing for the annual day of celebration and remembrance, Jennifer Maloy, the ace thief known as Wraith, phased into premises owned by Kien Phuc and stole three valuable books from the crime lord's safe. This action would trigger a series of events that served to fuel the conflicts between the warring factions of New York's underworld later in the day.
Hiram Worchester, also an early riser, went to prepare for his annual aces-only exclusive dinner at Aces High, and happened to stumble on a protection racket shake-down of one of his suppliers. This similarly drew him into the conflict with the city's criminal element, and saw him enlisting the aid of ace private investigator Jay Ackroyd.
Incidents of a more overt nature began with the murder of the Howler, an ace who had participated in the raid on the Egyptian Freemasons months earlier, and had become a target of the Astronomer as a result. Other assassination attempts were soon to follow, and the next was Demise who had displeased his master. The Astronomer opted to execute the assassin publicly in the midst of the Jokertown parade, but Demise's capacity for regeneration saved him from that fate. A third was more successful when the Astronomer personally slaughtered Kid Dinosaur who was present in a public audience. The last of the Astronomer's ace assassinations was an attempt on the life of the Turtle, which saw Insulin and Imp send one of the most powerful aces alive plunging into the Hudson River.
As the day wore on, Kien Phuc's stolen books passed from one hand to another sparking a frenzied hunt. At one point they even wound up inside the stomach of Sewer Jack in alligator form as crawled through the city sewers.
The Astronomer made another daring attack in the evening, launching a powerful assault on Aces High when many of his remaining targets were gathered in one place. Even though Fortunato had anticipated this eventuality, the Astronomer still managed to evade his nemesis and caused a significant amount of destruction before fleeing into the night. Modular Man was destroyed in the process thanks to a misused ace.
Fortunato, with Dr. Tachyon, eventually tracked the Astronomer down and caught the mad ace as he was preparing to flee the Earth on Tachyon's ship Baby. Fortunato and the Astronomer took their battle to the skies in a fight that some later attributed to a pyrotechnic display. In reality Fortunato beat his nemesis down and left him to die, although the final end actually came when Demise used the opportunity of the Astronomer's weakened state to kill him. Publicly very few people knew the truth about the old man later found fused within a brick wall.
- Wild Cards Volume III: Jokers Wild