Biographical Information
Real NameEdward St. John Latham
AliasesPrime, Loophole
Wild Card TraitsJumper power infusion
Social Information
OccupationLawyer, criminal
AffiliationsLatham-Strauss, Jumpers, Shadow Fist Society
AlliesAstronomer, Blaise Andrieux, Bloat, Kien Phuc, Zelda
Final AppearanceJokertown Shuffle
CreatorLewis Shiner

Edward St. John Latham (Loophole) is a fictional character from the Wild Cards series of books. He is the ace responsible for the creation of the Jumpers.

History Edit

Originally, Latham was a very successful lawyer with extensive ties to New York's criminal underworld, especially the emerging Shadow Fist Society. During the Mafia-Shadow Fist gang war, the Mafia hired Croyd Crenson to fight on their behalf. This was during the mercenary's Typhoid Croyd phase, when he was unwittingly spreading a communicable form of the wild card virus. Paying a visit to Latham's offices in an effort to intimidate the Shadow Fist lawyer, Croyd accidentally infected Latham. When Latham's ace turned he made an intern at his firm, David Butler, into the first jumper.

Latham became depressed after Butler was killed by the joker vigilante known as the Oddity, but by then he had created many more jumpers nor would he stop making them until his eventual death. Losing himself in sexual excess following the loss of his favorite, Latham largely turned over the day to day operations of the jumpers to their newest leader, Tachyon's grandson, Blaise Andrieux. During this time, Bloat's "Jump the Rich" scheme was put into effect and Latham's jumpers moved from a gang of delinquents to an actual money making criminal enterprise. As a sign of gratitude (not that Latham actually felt any), Latham used his criminal connections to acquire a valuable gift for Bloat, a triptych by Heironymous Bosch with which the huge joker was obsessed

Later that year, Latham and Bloat had a falling out over Blaise's vendetta against his grandfather, Dr. Tachyon. Blaise had kidnapped Tachyon and jumped him into the body of Kelly Jenkins, a teenage girl Latham had not chosen to intitiate into the jumper gang. After brutally beating and raping the newly female Tachyon, Blaise kept "her" in a basement cell on the Rox for later use. Bloat held Tachyon in high esteem and sought Latham's help in convincing Blaise to release the doctor. Latham calmly replied that compassion was almost as stupid as revenge, showing disdain for both Blaise and Bloat's motivations.

Latham finally met his end at the hands of the ace Jerry Strauss aka Mr. Nobody. Strauss's brother was the other senior partner in the Latham-Strauss lawfirm. Previously, Latham had his partner killed after he had stumbled upon Latham's criminal connections. Jerry Strauss began an investigation into his brother's death, trailing David Butler and eventually Latham himself. After one unsuccessful attempt to murder Latham, Strauss returned with another ace to back him up and this time succeeded. While struggling hand-to-hand, Strauss used his shapeshifting power to stab an elongated fingerbone into Latham's ear and then flail it around like a whip, liquefying the corrupt lawyer's brain.

Wild Card Traits Edit

Latham is one of a peculiar type of ace with the ability to give others superhuman abilities, though they do not perform superhuman feats themselves. Latham's own ace infuses the jumper ability into anyone he has sex with. Essentially, a jumper is able to initiate an exchange of bodies with any target they can lock eyes with. It is unknown if Latham's ace ability to bestow this power is under his conscious control or not. As a side effect of this ability Latham is immune to the jumper power himself.

Appearance Edit

Latham is a middle-aged Caucasian male in good physical condition. He has well-maintained grey hair and a typically expressionless face. Latham dresses very well as he is able to afford expensive clothing, including a grey business suit with an almost imperceptible purple pinstripe.

Personality Edit

Latham is a emotionless and overconfident megalomaniac who views his profession as a game. He has a tendency to think of himself as a modern day samurai and the courts of law are his battlefield. He was clever enough to block Bloat's telepathic eavesdropping by constantly reviewing legal briefs in his mind, and callous enough to decide which jumpers were expendable enough to be eliminated after a sensitive mission.

Latham is bisexual and created both male and female jumpers. In addition, he obviously had no compunction about inappropriate relations with minors as some jumpers, such as Blueboy, were below the age of consent when Latham infused them with the jumper power. Aside from David Butler, Latham seems to have not developed any actual feelings for the jumpers he created and showed no remorse if they died.

Trivia Edit

  • Though he did become an ace after coming into contact with Typhoid Croyd, Latham was already the subject of various wild card related rumors. One was that he was one of the rare "reverse jokers," a person who was physically hideous prior to infection and became attractive. The other rumor was that his wild card had stripped him of all human emotions or, in other words, made him like every other lawyer.

Selected Reading Edit

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