Ruse, Vol. 1: Enter the Detective by Mark Waid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've really been into Sherlock Holmes lately. Well, at least more than usual. Yes, you can rightly blame that on the BBC series Sherlock. So when I saw this graphic novel series at my library, based on a super-sleuth along the lines of Mr. Holmes, and his trusty sidekick (in this case, a woman), I couldn't resist. After finishing this book last night, I would definitely recommend it to Holmes fans.
*Simon Archard is arrogant, has poor people skills, and extremely well-developed deductive reasoning skills like Holmes. His flaws nearly balance out his strengths, and he manages to be endearing because his sidekick clearly thinks so much of him. That sympathy brings you along for the ride.
*His assistant, Emma Bishop, is long suffering and often mal-treated by her friend, although her skills do come in handy in solving their little cases. Bishop is also the narrator.
*And yes, there is a Moriarty-like arch-nemesis in the making.
*Emma is far from ordinary. She has some very special powers that she must hide or suffer dire consequences. It provides for hairy moments because she has to resort to her instincts and intellect to get Archard and herself out of tight situations instead of using her powers.
*Unless you're a Johnlock (Sherlock and John Watson shipper), there is a subtle undercurrent of romantic tension between Simon and Emma that the story plays on. Of course, this isn't a romance, but I think that there's a 'will they or won't they' question hanging around.
*In this situation, the world is a created Londonesque city that has a potential for supernatural happenings.
I enjoyed this graphic novel. Good adventure and good mystery stories. The illustrations are gorgeous. The detail of the characters' features kept my eyes drawn to the page. Each story had some good plot twists. On the negative side was the fact that it was hard to read. Normally, the graphic novel panels go from left to right and down the page. In this book, their progression varied, even from page to page. I got confused a few times and had to retrace my steps. Also, the lettering for the character thoughts was too small, hard to read. That's the main reason I didn't like this more, was the confusion I felt in its organization and setup. Overall, it's good for fans of action-adventure comics, and of course Sherlock Holmes fans. I liked the fact that in this case, Mr. Watson's role is taken by a woman, who has something yet to pull out of the rabbit hat. Like Watson, her narrative voice kept me pulled into this story and inspires more sympathy for the arrogant Archard that I probably wouldn't have felt otherwise. I will continue this series.
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