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Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition, Vol. 1 Paperback – January 2, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Oni Press; Definitive Ed edition (January 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932664874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932664874
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew L. Brown on August 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Length: 1:58 Mins
Who doesn't love a great spy story? Growing up, I had always though secret agents were of the James Bond variety. Then one day, I was introduced to Greg Rucka's Queen and Country. My entire idea of what a spy story and a comic book could be completely changed. Queen and Country was the first independent book that I'd ever read, and I couldn't stop reading it. Series lead Tara Chace is one of the most dynamic, damaged, and daring heroines in modern fiction, and you'd do well to read Queen and Country and find out why.

So we hear you're looking for something to read. That's great because we've got a ton of recommendations on what comics you should be checking out. Every week we'll pick out one gem from the longboxes or trade shelves that you absolutely cannot miss. We're talking mainstream, indie, full storylines, single issues, and beyond. If there's a comic we enjoy that we think you will too, you'll hear all about it on Read This Now!
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The Definitive Edition, Vol. 1, contains three stories, but it seemed that with each one, as the narratives became more compelling, the graphic portrayal of the characters became more and more caricaturized. In the first episode, our protagonist Tara was sketched as an attractive yet no supermodel. By the third episode she was so exaggeratedly proportioned as to put Barbie to shame. Her breasts were such balloons that her upper-body movement would have been considerably hampered by them--a distinct disadvantage for a covert operative. Furthermore, the other characters followed a similar de-evolution in their physical appearances. You could tell the bad guys simply because they were drawn so sinisterly. The experience in reading was quite jarring by the last episode because the cartoonish-ly drawn characters were so incongruent to the story, which was fully grounded in the real world.

Such is the consequence of having different artists doing the storyboarding for each story. I've noticed that there are three different artists working in Vol. 2. Here's hoping that what they do with sketching the characters doesn't cause them to devolve even more.
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I really enjoyed this book. It was realistic and while brutal presented the characters as very human with all the issues that go along with the type of work that they do. It was suspenseful and gripping and I give it two thumbs up
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Format: Paperback
Novelist and comic book writer Greg Rucka was undoubtedly inspired by the 1970's BBC television series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy , or the original novel by Le Carre it was based upon, when he was putting together his updated "Queen & Country" take on life within the British world of espionage.

If you want your spy thrillers with death-rays, shaken martinis, or bad guys that throw razor brimmed hats, this won't be for you. Q&C instead does a great job showing the "behind the action" world of bureaucracy and logistics that all spy agencies are built upon. You'll find just as many smoke filled rooms and clandestine meetings as you will smoking guns or car chases.

There is still plenty of action that does take place, just of a more realistic variety. Female lead character Tara Chase starts out on the bottom rung within the agency, and is soon sent on assignment around the world (primarilly the Middleast) for a variety of missions. Equally as realistic is the human portrayal of Tara as a non-standard heroine, who gets used as a pawn from time to time back home amongst the superiors of varying British agencies jockeying for control (think FBI v CIA v DHS v DOD). The mental chess eventually draws in some players from the U.S. as well, with policy, politics, and national security converging into a messy and bloody mix of multiple personal agendas.

The drawings are black and white, with some of the stories done by different artists. I found them all to be top notch, and while the lack of continuity may bother some the product is good enough you have to take what you get.
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Saying that Queen and Country is a standard spy story is missing the mark. It’s very much like saying that The Wire is just another cop story. Sure, the elements are all there – message drops, assassinations, cover stories, handlers, etc etc – but the emphasis is not on the action, but rather the bureaucracy and the people who do the actions. How does a person commit horrible actions and stay sane? How do you justify what you’ve done? That’s one of the central issues in Queen and Country.

There’s a certain amount of irony that in a genre who best known examples (Bond, Bourne) are superheroes by another name, that a comic book story is perhaps the most “real” story I’ve ever read about spies and their world. There are no super spies here. There is no inexplicable technology. There are just people trying to do what they believe is the best thing for their country.

Rucka makes an interesting choice in that the reader usually doesn’t know if the actions of our protagonists are the “right” thing. At times even the characters themselves don’t know. We are intentionally not given any broader context to these actions. Given the temporal setting of these stories (late 1990s – early millennial) the “bad guys” are Middle Eastern/Islamic terrorists. Their larger goals and concerns are not developed. Rather, we are presented with isolated actions. Will terrorists release sarin gas at the World Cup? This allows for a certain moral clarity to the story, while subtly acknowledging that the issues are far more complex than can be dealt with in a comic book.

While this title still has legs – you do see it mentioned occasionally on “best of” lists; Queen and Country does not get the love it clearly deserves. Rucka has developed a rich world surrounding the covert operatives of the UK, and these stories have earned a much wider audience.
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