Propaganda – Queen & Country
by Greg Rucka, Steve Rolston, Brian Hurtt, Leandro Fernandez, Jason Alexander, Carla Speed Macneil, Mike Hawthorne.
When you’ve read Q&C you’re aware of it’s debt to the small scale, careful spycraft of Le Carre & Greene. Q&C manages to portray all of the dirty realism of espionage yet still delivers enough out & out action to keep the biggest fan of Fleming’s Bond happy. It’s a fantastic book, skilfully written by Greg Rucka & illustrated by a bevy of up & coming artists.
Rucka’s rapidly cornered the market in believable & strong female leads. First he developed Carrie Stetko in his marvellous comics debut; Whiteout. Then he produced the wonderful Tara Chase. She’s a minder for British Intelligence’s SIS department, part of a team of who do the dirty work for the government.
The individual stories themselves, as in most spy fiction, aren’t important; there’s an assassination, a mass murder plot to foil & all the standard spy features, It’s the characterisation, the personalities & the interplay between the cast that mark these books out. Rucka’s quality writing manages to make you simply see the characters as people, with everyday problems & the same sort of crappy office politicking that we all suffer. Queen & Country; quality escapist fiction, pure mainstream fun. Exactly what we need.
It’s been re-released with over three hundred pages in each of these definitive editions and in new attractive packaging. Which means this good spy book just got a lot better.
Richard Bruton is a lifelong comics fan and former Comic Book Store Guy; you can read more of his thoughts on comics and life on his blog Fictions.