Enter The Detective
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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.
Enter the Detective (Ruse Traveler)