Thursday, May 12, 2011
Artist: Mirco Pierfederici
Company: Marvel Comics
Like a lot of people, I'm a sucker for a good Sherlock Holmes story. And while Ruse isn't Sherlock Holmes completely, the character of Simon Archard certainly fits into the same wheelhouse. Having this book back on the stands again is like seeing an old friend for a cup of joe. These characters, both Archard and Emma Bishop (Simon's Watson) and the relationship between them made the original Ruse series a favorite of mine and one of the biggest standouts of the entire Crossgen imprint. You had mystery, intrigue, magic, action, humor and did I mention Mystery? I only mention it again because it's a pretty big portion of the book. But I guess the question that needs to be asked is this:
"Does this new incarnation live up to the old one or does it fall short? Is it worthy to be called Ruse?"
I'll just come right out and tell you the answer to that one; it most certainly exceeds all expectations.
While I do love the original Ruse and have gone back again and again to my battered trades of the series, it's ties to the overarching Sigil plotline was oftentimes distracting and unnecessary. The magic angle felt out of place as well. They worked because they needed to be there, but having those two things edited out in this version makes for a much more potent tale. Waid instantly grabs the readers attention with a quick succession of murder, fast paced foot chases, and much more complicated webs of lies and death. He also has an obvious love of the Victorian era, as he really relishes in the little details like dialect and atmosphere, which is a great thing as it immerses you even more into the proceedings.
Pierfederici's art is spot on and gorgeous. I know people were complaining that Butch Guice wasn't involved (beyond the Variant cover) with this title, but I think Pierfederici does a bang up job. He's just as into the attention to detail as Waid is, and he makes the Victorian era spring up from the page and slap you in the face. There's also just a sense of energy to his line work and the way he stages each panel that you get sucked into what is going on.
All in all, I couldn't be happier with this book. It hits all of the right notes and manages to exceed the original. There's not many books you can say that about. Seek it out.