Joseph Carny (King of Spades)

Just as promised, we’re going to speak abou the first member of the Royal Flush Gang, the King of Spades. In Arrow, he’s portrayed by Currie Graham, and his real name is Derek Reston. He’s an ex Queen Consolidated employee turned bank robber after he lost his job due to Robert Queen‘s decision to close the facility he worked in. In the comics, he’s nothing like it, starting from the name, which is Joe Carny.

Joe Carny’s life surely wasn’t a succesfull one: he was a homeless man, absolutely poor, living by the day and always moving from a place to another. He named himself the King of Hoboes, and he used his natural charisma to enchant people around him: other homeless people started to look at him as an actual leader, even if he had no power at all. When you speak about influence: Carny’s personality was enough to make him a king even among the dumpsters. Being a trump was difficult by itself, but Joe’s luck really had abandoned him completely, so the man found out he suffered from a lungh cancer, which would have killed him in some time. A king with no crown and a people of vagabonds, a man whose life was doomed and every breath was a suffering: this was Joseph Carny, the King of Hoboes, until the moment a strange man came to offer him the possibility of a new life…for whatever time his life was meant to last, of course. The man introduced himself as Derek Reston, actually an android built by the real Reston. He offered Carny a job, and brought him to his boss, Hector Hammond, who was going at that time under the alias of Wild Card. Hammond wanted to found a second Royal Flush Gang, a criminal syndicate whose previous incarnation, founded by crime boss Amos Fortune, had been a complete failure. Hammond offered Carny the identity and the crown of the King of Spades, the leader of the new formation of the team, and granted him with a costume that technologically enhanced his natural abilities. In the case of Carny, he gained superhuman physical attributes, such as strength, speed and stamina, as all the other members of the team, but he also had his natural charisma strenghtened to the level of mind control. Plus, the King had access to the standard equipment of the Gang: the laser guns, the hovering giant playing cards used as means of transportation, and all the wealth Hammond could put together.

The new Royal Flush Gang soon met the previous version, and the Spades fought against the Clubs in a battle that involved also the Justice League of America, in the team formation led by Aquaman. The battle ended with an absolute victory of the new Gang, and the King of Clubs, his Queen and Ten were all killed. However, the Gang split up the moment their Ace, the android that recruited the team, was destroyed by Black Canary. Such a good team cannot be separated for too long, and soon after the Royal Flush Gang came back to action, this time without Hector Hammond pulling the strings. The real change in the King’s life arrived the moment the aliens known as Dominators decided that, due to the great amount of superhuman beings present on the planet, Earth was a treath to them, and formed an Alien Alliance to take humans down. Heroes and villains fought altogether against the common threat, and the King himself was in the team of super criminals led and coordinated by Amanda Waller. During the war, the aliens developed a Gene Bomb, a device that should have suppressed the metagene (the unstable genetic trait that grants superpowers) in earthlings; when it exploded, it ended up giving powers to some normal human beings, such as Joe Carny, who became immortal. His immortality didn’t come along with invulnerability, and so the King could only get killed again and again, never dying once and for all. Above all, being ill, Carny was doomed to suffer his cancer for all eternity, unable to heal or to die from it.

Joseph “Joe” Carny is an incredibly charismatic and fascinating man, with a strong character and a natural inclination towards leadership. As the King of Spades, he’s a reckless and unpredictable criminal, whose everlasting pain and lack of fear of death brings him to be a dangerous foe, whose plans are sometimes incomprehensible for whoever doesn’t share his condition…which means anyone.

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4 Comments

  1. […] as a mental trauma, and had a definitive breakdown. He left the team, and was later replaced by Joe Carny, the King, with another unnamed Jack. From the gigolo on, anyway, the laser eye became a […]

  2. […] to come back acting (in every way possible), Mona accepted the offer, and took her place at the King of Spades‘ side. As the Queen, Mona was given the normal team’s equipment, such as the hoovering […]

  3. […] Gang. The Ace android was remotely controlled by Derek Reston himself, who proceeded to find a new King, Queen, Jack and Ten for the team. The Ace of Spades, introducing himself as Derek Reston, was […]

  4. […] of two different characters: Derek Reston, used as his civillian identity in the show, and the King of Spades, who surely exists in the comics, but is not Reston. So, today we’ll se who Derek Reston is, […]


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