Queen & Country #17 – 07.09.2003

Writer – Greg Rucka
Artist – Carla Speed McNeil

Oni Press – $2.99

Well, it’s pretty clear that the consistant quality award has to go to Greg Rucka’s always excellent British spy comic, Queen & Country. It’s always good, and while there aren’t always cliffhangers, and knuckle-whitening adventures, it’s always intriguing and intellectually challenging. I think it must be both a real treat and a joy to write this, if from nowhere else than the standpoint that this is an exceptionally British book, written by an exceptionally American writer.

This was a much more low-key issue than most, as the Special Operations team is still adjusting to the loss of Ed Kittering, the previous Minder Three. They bring in a new recruit to replace Ed almost immediately, as necessity dictates, but one gets the feeling that Tara is none too happy with the quick fill-in, even though she understands the need for it. And that’s the crux of Tara’s character: she’ll sacrifice for the good of the team, and for her country as well. Paul Crocker, the head of the special section, in plot that ties into the recent Q&C: Declassified mini, is dealing with demons from his past and how to fix things without stepping over the lines of protocol. It all sounds very technical, but there are real personalities behind the jargon and business, and the subtlety of the writing is excellent.

However, the writing would be useless without an artist to compliment it. Carla Speed McNeil, the artist for this arc, is most known for her indy sci-fi comic, Finder, and handles the chores magnificently with her clean and effective art style. One thing McNeil has handled a little better than others before her, is that she has established a very effective differenciation between the faces of the men of Special Operations. Sometimes in the past, even as good as it was, the people were hard to distinguish from one another, but that’s not nearly as much of a problem with this artist. She’s also excellent at communicating the characters through their faces and the eyes especially. She really is a master at the craft.

It was a good week for comics, with the continuances of Love Fights, Bendis’ Ultimate X-Men arc, and the conclusion of Judd Winick’s Blood and Water, but this book stood out as the best of the week. It is most highly recommended.

Josh Flanagan
Just a Filthy Brit Culture Whore
E-Mail: josh@ifanboy.com

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Comments

  1. I somehow missed LOVE FIGHTS!

    Looks like it’s back to the comic store…

    Conor

  2. Did anybody buy/read TROUBLE?

    If so, how was it?

    Conor

  3. I got Trouble. I gave Millar the benefit of the doubt….for the last time. It was exploitative and pointless. It was like the first act of Porky’s and I don’t know why anyone bothered to make it. There may be some point to the overall story, but I don’t know what it is, and I’m not going to buy anymore books to find out.

    And I fucking hate that cover!

  4. Ah.

    Well, that’s what I thought.

    I didn’t even give it a second glance on the shelves or at the counter where they had a big stack.

    Conor

  5. No-go on LOVE FIGHTS. The guy forgot to order it. He thanked me for bringing it to his attention, though.

    On the plus side, I picked up PvP #2, which I had somehow missed.

    Conor

  6. Quite honestly, Love Fights wasn’t as good. There were times when it wasn’t entirely clear what was happening or why. At one point, it felt like I’d missed a few pages, and couldn’t tell what had happened.

    I’ll keep buying it, but I was a little dejected.

  7. That’s too bad.

    PvP was hilarious, though.

    Conor

  8. I don’t know if people watch much A&E, but there’s a new series that they’ve been promoting pretty heavily called MI-5 that looks pretty cool and looks sort of in the vein of QUEEN & COUNTRY.

    Conor

  9. MI-5 premieres tonight at 9 I believe, but y’all need to check your local listings.