In kicking off Ruse #2, we find our heroes, Simon Archard and his assistant/partner Emma Bishop, trapped underground with ferocious rats after a visit to one of Partington’s less-sophisticated establishments to investigate a inexplicable rash of gambling addiction among upperclassmen.
Oh, what to do? Two of Partington’s brightest minds caught in a seemingly inescapable pinch. How about an swim through the city’s sewer system? Sounds wonderfully brash (maybe even sophomoric) to me, but it works, generating some great banter between the two investigators and hooking you right back into the story.
It’s in the issue’s opening — much like Ruse #1’s chase scene through the streets of Partington — where writer Mark Waid continues to grab readers with his cinematic vision, aided by Mirco Pierfederici’s artwork that, when it’s at its best, reeks of Victorian-era filth.
The issue provides plenty of twists and turns, as we discover that Emma Bishop is being targeted, as well as all of Simon’s former assistants and associates. Simon’s investigation continues, leading to a crescendo that is absolutely priceless, as well as four panels of investigation that might just be some of the most amusing yet.
How all of these pieces add up, however, remains a bit of a mystery – it wouldn’t be much of a detective story if it didn’t. It’s for the best. I’m just going to enjoy the ride until it all comes together.
There is a form to Waid’s writing that has started to take shape: an intense opening scene; lots of mysteries, investigation and great dialogue to help move the story along; and a cliffhanger that will always keep readers coming back. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, by any means. It works, and it makes for an incredibly enjoyable read.