HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Graphic Depictions Today's Date:

Ruse: Enter The Detective

If you haven't been living under the Internet rock, you know that Mark Waid has been fired off his writing stint on Fantastic Four. Personally, I think the Marvel "editorial" process (and by that I mean Bill Jemas ever thinking he has the talent to suggest story changes to a veteran like Waid) needs some retooling.

But let's be honest: Waid doesn't have the best track record with any company. He had a squabble or two over Kingdom Come with Alex Ross at DC, was let go from Marvel twice, and left Crossgen for reasons I don't recall at this juncture. The man likes a varied working environment one must assume.

Anyhoo, looking back at Waid's work, I came across the recent release of the Traveler Edition of Ruse. Despite Waid's employment problems, Ruse is proof positive that the man can craft a story like few others.

Simon Archard is a classic detective character in the vein of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Sax Rohmer's Sir Denis Nayland Smith. The smallest detail: a scuffed shoe, a shallow desk drawer, anything is a vital clue to this man who can put them all together and puzzle out the culprit.

On Arcadia, in the town of Partington, Archard solves the most baffling cases with seeming ease and an ample dose of boredom. With him on his cases is his lovely assistant Emma Bishop. A detective in her own right, Emma uses her wits to keep an eye on Simon, but she has some secrets of her own. Sent by some unseen force to reawaken the heart and passions of the stalwart and cold Archard, the task has so far been unsuccessful.

When a body is discovered in the harbor, Archard believes it's more of the same, but soon discovers a deep reaching conspiracy that involves the officials of Partington, and a new supernatural foe who both wants Archard out of the way and something entirely different from Ms. Bishop. To top it all off, Archard gets framed for murder. Simon and Emma need to find a way to stop this new adversary's plan and clear their names simultaneously. And they're certainly up to the job.

Waid made a good story here (or rather stories, as there are three separate cases in this volume), but does some fine characterization to boot. Simon is Sherlock Holmes minus the manners and the penchant for bad violin playing. He doesn't believe in the supernatural, and even when confronted with it explains it away as an "as yet unexplained scientific occurrence." His demeanor is a cold and factual one, and this lets Waid write some of the best deadpan sarcasm I've ever read in comics:

Emma, believing she's just been captured:
:…And I swear to you by all that is holy that you will derive no pleasure from my presence!
Simon having just appeared:
Is this news? I'm overpaying you.

The interaction between Archard and Emma is played very low key and thus seems very natural. He sees her as a small but necessary nuisance, and she sees him as a staunch intellectual with no concept of human emotion. Yet, Emma does seem to be the only one who gets even a smile out of the man. Given some time, who knows, their relationship might go from begrudging acquaintances to begrudging respected associates. It's almost like a Rob Reiner film.

The artwork is top notch when provided by Butch Guice. His chapters were all finely penciled and he has a certain touch with the female characters that makes Emma look absolutely stunning, and yet still not make her look like some early-nineties Wildstorm pin-up. His faces all have an "understated emotion" look to them, but these characters are modeled after the British, reigning world champions of emotional repression. The fill-in artist on the last chapter of the book, Jeff Johnson, is a little less fine, but is more expressive thanks to Paul Neary's heavier inks.

It's a good read and well worth the $9.95 price. Waid has since left the title and been replaced by Scott Beatty, though the next collection will still be all Waid, all the time. Pick it up and absorb the pseudo-Victorian era mystery.

Ruse: Enter the Detective (Ruse Traveler)

Robert Sparling

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites