RUSE – classic detective stories in a comic

A number of years ago a group of comic creators who were a bit frustrated with the mainstream got together and formed their own comic company. No I’m not talking about Image, it was another company called CrossGen. They steered away from the superhero and did comics that were more adventure based. The art was nice and strong storytelling, but I never really got into it.  Until one Christmas my wife bought me a trade collection of a book called RUSE, a detective in the tradition of Holmes. Two volumes were put out before the company ceased publishing.

Now Marvel Comics has acquired the CrossGen line and RUSE is back.
Original writer, comics legend Mark Waid is writing again and it’s starting off strong with the new issue1.While I wish Butch Guis had come back to do the art, Micro Pierfederici does a handy job with the book.

RUSE is set in Victorian London and stars Simon Archard, whose is strikingly similar to Sherlock Holmes in appearance and attitude. However the Watson to Archard’s Holmes is a damn smart lady named Emma Bishop. Emma not only keeps Archard on track, but she’s not afraid of much and gets right in on the action.He has arch foes, including former mentor Malcolm Lighthouse and Miranda Cross who is essentially a female Moriarty.

OK, so on the surface it seems more than a bit derivative of the tales by Conan Doyle. But Ruse has tight plotting and wonderful characters and is loads of fun. The revamped title starts with Archard solving a murder which was actually a disguised suicide. We soon learn that someone is trying to kill Emma and thus begins our new adventure.
Not having read the previous run shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who wants to pick up the new #1, it is very self explanatory and easy to pick up what’s what.

Waid also did a wonderful crime fiction based book for BOOM! called POTTER’S FIELD which I would highly recommend

Jon Jordan