Graphic Novel: Ruse Vol 2: The Silent Partner by Mark Waid, Scott Beatty, and Butch Guice
Summary: Master detective Simon Archard and his assistant, Emma Bishop, solve mysteries while tracking down Archard's former partner who has vowed to take revenge on Simon.
Characters: I appreciated the intellect and witty banter between Simon and Emma so much more than in the first volume. Much of the supernatural element has disappeared, which makes Emma more obviously intelligent and, thus, more interesting. We also get a lot of Simon's past and seeing him as an awkward, friendless college student makes his current callousness a lot more understandable.
Plot/Pacing: These mysteries are more fun than the ones in the first volume. They feel fresh and like they are building towards something bigger (they are), which is exactly how I like my mystery series. The villain in this installment is someone who has a past with Simon. He knows Simon better than anyone, including Emma, which made it much more likely that he could beat Simon. I doubted whether Simon could win, because he would have to better himself in the process. It made the entire mystery so much more satisfying.
Moments I Loved: I loved all the banter between Emma and Simon. He would say something tender and then his real (callous) meaning would become apparent. Simon also has to give Emma mouth to mouth when she drowns and it is hilarious. I loved watching Emma and Simon work together.
WTF Moments: There is a group of invisible villagers who are stealing gypsy women to breed with them. That story line is intense and creepy.
Artwork: Once again, beautiful, colored pages. I became confused a few times when the pages seemed especially busy, but for the most part the story was easy to follow.
Overall: I loved this second installment when I only liked the first, because Simon and Emma are much more likable, the villain had a chance of beating them, and the mystery was personal to the main characters.
Ruse Vol 2: The Silent Partner gets a Fake Steph rating of...