Last week’s comics may have been a bit meh. This week’s were a bit weird. Weird and awesome. Ruse #1 was the best of the bunch.
Ruse and Way of the Rat were my favorite of the Crossgen titles. Ruse had Mark Waid – great writer, Jackson Guice – who I had been enjoying since he drew half a Deathlok series back in the late eighties or early nineties, Mike Perkins – who since became a big part of the success of Brubaker’s Cap and Laura Martin – the most accomplished of the colorist I followed coming out of Wildstorm FX.
That team is only reunited on the cover. Waid does the writing duties throughout, but the artwork was handed over to Mirco Pierfederici. I was a little worried by a splashy candle flare effect on the second page, but the rest of the art rises to the same level I remember from the Crossgen days. The art is detailed, conveys the emotion of the characters and is flashy in the same way the Crossgen art used to be. I’ve never read anything by the artist before, but I am eager to.
The setup of Ruse is basically a lift from Sherlock Homes. Simon Archard is the Holmes character. A brilliant but eccentric detective in a Victorian London pastiche. He is slightly different by adding a more caustic personality and larger ego. Emma Bishop is the Watson. She is the POV in the series and has a mysterious past. London is replaced by the fictional Partington and most of the cases had a hint of the supernatural that Archard eventually disproves.
The new series doesn’t seem to have any of the supernatural bits, but it has the same hallmarks as the original. The mysteries are intriguing. The dialogue between Archard and Bishop is lively and fun. And the detection is intermixed by action.
There is a set piece carriage chase in the issue. Chase scenes often work poorly in comics because the pacing is tough to achieve. This is one of the issues where it works very well. Yay! That was the point that really sold me on the good chemistry between the writer and artist.
The series ends on an obvious but thrilling cliffhanger. I cannot wait for the next issue.