The plot tells the story of Robert Tomlin, aka Jetboy as he returns to the US in 1946 after spending more than a year marooned on a desert island. Although still a young man, Jetboy feels that the world has passed him by and is searching for something to do in the wake of the end of World War II.
The story also tells the parallel tale of Dr. Tod , once Jetboy's arch nemesis. Tod had been horribly wounded in a confrontation with Jetboy during the war and has just returned to the United States himself. Determined to retire from the criminal life, Tod is sucked back in when two of his associates discover the container holding the Wild Card virus. Realizing the virus's potential, Tod develops a scheme to extort 20 million dollars out of the US government by threatening to release the virus over New York City.
When Tod and his crew appear above New York in an airship carrying the virus, Jetboy is recruited as part of a jet fighter team sent after the criminal mastermind. The dirigible is flying so high that only Jetboy's experimental jet can reach it. On the verge of stalling, Jetboy crashes his plane into the dirigible and confronts Tod. As the two men fight to the death, the bomb containing the virus explodes, killing both of them and raining its mutagenic contents down on Manhattan.