Francis Black
Biographical Information
Real NameFrancis Xavier Black
AliasesFrank, Franny, Rook
Social Information
Place of BirthNew York, USA
CitizenshipCitizen of the United States
OccupationPolice officer
Base of OperationsNYPD, 5th precinct
AffiliationsNew York Police Department
RelativesJohn F.X. Black (father)
AlliesApsara Na Chiangmai, Flipper, Tinkerbill
First AppearanceFort Freak
CreatorMelinda Snodgrass

Francis Xavier Black is a fictional character in the Wild Cards series of books. He is a police officer with the New York Police Department and the son of John F.X. Black.


Francis never knew his father, but decided to follow in his father's footsteps after law school, even to the extent that he wound up operating out of the same precinct that Black senior had served in.

His life in the police force began in an extremely rocky manner when on his first day on the job he almost started a fight as soon as he walked in the door, and then was tagged by the pink, sparkly marking power of his new partner Tinkerbill. This caused him to be arrested five times on his way home as his peers mistook him for a criminal. His situation only got worse after he devised the plan that captured the Stripper, an ace with a penchant for causing young women's clothes to vanish, and who turned out to be an adolescent teen. The boy found himself in the 5th precinct for his community service leading to daily incidents of Black finding himself suddenly naked at work, much to the amusement of the other police.

His situation became markedly better after he got involved with one of his cases in off-duty hours. Determined to succeed with carrying out justice where a corrupt system had failed, he turned to less-than-legal means to force co-operation from the embarrassed father of a thuggish son who had nearly raped a girl. When word got around that he had discretely done the right thing, he gained immediate acceptance from the other police.

Only two years into the job, Francis drew the ire of many of his fellow officers, and the attention of Fort Freak's attractive file clerk, by completing a lieutenant's exam with an excellent score, and that resulted in a promotion ordered from higher up. He was immediately partnered with a detective who wanted nothing to do with him, and promptly had a low priority missing persons case dumped on him. As the leads became an increasingly convoluted tangle, he contacted Agent Norwood of SCARE with whom he began sharing information due to suspected connections between their two cases. What had started out as an underwhelming case soon became one of the hottest cases in the precinct with many in the department alert for clues, yet despite this Francis was running into frequent obstacles with jurisdiction boundaries, and so he partnered up with Norwood to continue his investigation discretely. When the pair of them discovered that the ace Tesseract had been key to the trafficking operation, they used her to stage a raid on the Kazakhstan-based joker fight club were the missing jokers were being taken, but that proved to be a tactical failure: Norwood was struck down by a joker prisoner who had no intention of leaving, Tesseract escaped, and Francis Black himself was carted off to hospital sporting two fresh gunshot wounds.

Waking in the hospital, Franny discovered that he was the prisoner of Baba Yaga, an ace and former KGB agent who had been running the fight club as a way to keep the trans-dimensional creature (Horrorshow, contained in the body of her former partner Hellraiser) from being unleashed upon the world. Thanks to Black's disruption of the fight club, which was feeding Horrorshow just enough violence and death to keep him placated, the monster began to exert its influence in the vicinity, twisting people both mentally and physically into nightmarish forms.

Franny escaped with Baba Yaga back to New York, and as the only person who knew the exact location of Hellraiser he was recruited by Billy Ray to return to Talas on a last ditch mission to remove the demon using the dimension-traveling powers of the Highwayman on a team rounded out by Bubbles and Tesseract. Black dumped Hellraiser from the back of the the Highwayman's struck once the group had Hellraiser safely in the Short Cut, thereby ending Horrorshow's hellish assault on the world. Franny later hunted down Baba Yaga in Paris and injected her with the Trump virus, changing her from ace to joker.


Francis Black is a young man with a slim build when originally introduced. Later, he has bulked up enough to be described as "burly" by Drummer Boy.


Francis is optimistic and bright, although his naiveté frequently left him at a disadvantage in his early days with the New York Police Department.

Selected ReadingEdit

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