Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Free CrossGen Comic Character Profile : Ruse

Ruse was a CrossGen comic book title. It ran for twenty-six issues from November 2001 to January 2004 before it was forced to end by the bankruptcy of CrossGen.

The first half was written by Mark Waid and the last half by Scott Beatty; nearly the entire series featured pencils by Butch Guice. The series also had three spin-off issues, each called Ruse: Archard's Agents and all written by Chuck Dixon.

The critically-acclaimed series was known for complex plots, the witty repartee between the two protagonists, and being of an unusual genre in comic books (Victorian-era detective fiction).

The series focused on two primary protagonists: Simon Archard and Emma Bishop. The relationship between the two attractive leads is purely professional, although the two share great chemistry and other characters make numerous innuendos about their relationship.

Simon Archard is a detective. He is a master sleuth and extremely competent. He has eidetic memory. He is feared by the criminals of Partington, and his presence apparently keeps the crime rate low. He is close to emotionless, remaining utterly calm in situations of crisis. He is also emotionally distant from other people. His character is based on Sherlock Holmes. It is implied that Simon Archard is his world's Sigil Bearer but he does not receive the mark from anyone at the beginning of the series nor does he seem to have any special powers except his mental abilities (he does however wear the Sigil mark upon his tie pin).

Emma Bishop is Simon Archard's assistant. She has mysterious magical powers which she is not supposed to use. Careful to maintain her identity, she conceals her powers (though it was revealed in the last issue of the series, #26, that Archard had secretly deduced her powers almost from the very beginning). The source of her abilities was never revealed in the series, though a reader familiar with the rest of the CrossGen Universe could deduce from her powers and her orange eyes that she was one of the guides that accompanied Sigil-bearers.

Miranda Cross is the antagonist of the series. She initially appears to be a beautiful baroness; however, it is revealed that she is evil, many centuries old, and from a different world. She also possesses magical powers which are at least the equal of and probably stronger than those of Emma Bishop. She is possibly a demon of some sort, though the exact nature of her identity is not resolved by the end of the series. Some readers consider her dialogue in Ruse #18 (April 2003) to possibly hint that she is a Negation Lawbringer.

Malcolm Lightbourne is Simon Archard's former mentor and chief rival. Lightbourne's main goal throughout the series is the retrieval of the Enigmatic Prism, which Archard stole from him at the end of their partnership. Lightbourne also seeks to kill Archard and attempts to achieve both of his goals by destroying the city of Partington.

The Consortium of Aggrieved Man Servants are a group of Butlers that strive to achieve the impossible; kill Simon Archard. This underground conspiracy has swelled in ranks over the years every time Archard has muttered the phrase "the Butler did it." Even though the consortium has made many (botched) attempts on Archard's life, he seems un-characteristically unaware of their existence or perhaps he just doesn't care.

Archard's Agents are a network of people that Archard uses to gather information on cases. Members of the group include a former prize fighter, a child psychic, and a bearded lady.


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