Posted tagged ‘Tara Chase’

Review: Queen & Country Vol.4

May 26, 2009

The fourth, and final, of Oni’s definitive editions of Queen & Country collects the three Declassified mini-series.  Each of these tell the backstory to one of the supporting players from the main book, all of which are excellent.

The first and best tale, from Greg Rucka and Brian Hurtt, focuses on Tara’s boss Paul Crocker during the cold war.  It’s a pretty standard historical spy drama, character x decides to defect and has to be smuggled across the Berlin Wall, but it makes for a perfect Queen & Country story.  Hurtt’s art in particular makes this a must read, and it’s all the more impressive when you read the backmatter and learn this is the first time he’s ever inked himself.

The other two stories are remarkably similar to one another, both focusing on Tara’s co-Minders in former bastion’s of British power.  Tom Wallace’s first mission takes him to Hong Kong to investigate a murder during the handoff to the Chinese governemnt.  Then rookie Minder Nicholas Poole heads to Northern Ireland to confront a remnant of the IRA in the only non-Greg Rucka penned story in the series (ably completed by Anthony Johnston).

But the best part of this book is the interviews in the back, in which Rucka mentions that he’ll be returning to the series at last in the near future.  Next year will see a novel featuring Tara’s final adventure, which will then lead in to volume 2 of the series.  This will still feature Tara, although presumably she will have a desk job then.  Time to rejoice!

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Review: Queen & Country Vol.3

October 20, 2008

Queen & Country is at the top of my list for comics to give to people who don’t think they’ll like comics.  It’s an amazing piece of espionage fiction, easily up there with Le Carre.  It’s also very smart.  Greg Rucka is far more interested in the politics of spy games than in the actual field work (although there’s plenty of that on display here as well).

This volume collects two complete story arcs, along with the scriptbook for the first story as a nice bonus.  The first arc here sends the newly promoted lead to Russia to investigate a Goverment official selling oil data.  It’s a nice character piece but not quite up there with the series’ best efforts.  BUt the second story focusing on an inter-agency mission in Baghdad that goes horribly wrong is.  However, it suffers from taking place after the events of the spin-off novel, A Gentleman’s Game.  There’s no recap and it’s clear that some major story elements are missing from this collection.

The series is also hampered by the way it rotates artists between arcs.  There’s not a one who doesn’t come to the book exhibiting some of their best work, this time around it’s Steve Rolston, Mike Norton & Chris Samnee.  But their respective art styles don’t always mesh terribly well, and there seems to be a lack of model sheets.  Thankfully each arc contains a guide showing what everyone looks like this time around.

Now there’s one more collection of the series to come early next year, I can’t wait to finish the set.