Romulus Contarini
Biographical Information
Real NameRomulus Contarini
Social Information
CitizenshipItalian citizen, deceased
OccupationPriest, cult leader
Base of OperationsVatican City
AlliesMagda, Witness I, Witness II
First AppearanceDeath Draws Five
Final AppearanceDeath Draws Five
CreatorJohn J. Miller

Cardinal Romulus Contarini is a fictional character in the Wild Cards series of books.


Cardinal Contarini worked his way up through the church and eventually gained control over the Allumbrados, a militant religious sect with roots deep in the Catholic hierarchy. When John Fortune drew his wild card, Contarini determined that the situation fit prophesied events and concluded that Fortune was the embodiment of the Anti-Christ. He therefore went to America to personally oversee the Allumbrados operation and deal with John Fortune.

Contarini kept his distance from the events he manipulated, basing himself at the Waldorf Hotel for the duration of his stay. In addition to dispatching a team to capture Fortune in Las Vegas, he also sent another to recover the Mandylion from Italy and also the ace medium Cameo. Uniting Cameo with a shroud that had supposedly covered Jesus of Nazareth, he hoped to have her channel the voice of his Lord and Saviour, but instead she could only bring forth the spirit of a long-dead inhabitant of Contarini's room via the chair she was sitting on.

This failure marked the first of several blunders that sent Contarini increasingly into a state of rage. Finally, the disparate factions arrayed against the Allumbrados all joined forces to protect John Fortune, and even some of the Allumbrados turned on him as well. John Nighthawk in fact ended his entanglements with Contarini by murdering the Cardinal soon after the battle over John Fortune had ended.


Cardinal Contarini is an uncompromising man with a rigid view of the world. He is an elitist and a bigot, who holds a dim view of Americans in general, and also people with racial backgrounds outside of white European. As for wild carders his distaste is extreme, yet has no qualms about putting aces to good use.

Selected ReadingEdit

  • Wild Cards Volume XVII: Death Draws Five
  • Wild Cards Volume XXI: Fort Freak - In a flashback, Contarini confronts Father Squid over the religious iconography of the Church of Jesus Christ, Joker.

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