I became a Greg Rucka fan through his work on DC’s Checkmate,and through there his Batman-related work and eventually, discovered this little piece, Queen & Country. I actually vaguely remember my little brother, who’s big into military and spy-related stuff, telling me about this series, which the local library had in their slowly-but-surely growing graphic novel selection. I just never managed to get into it until recently, when I started picking up the definitive editions.
The adventures of Tara Chase and the other people attached to the Special Operations Section of the British SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service (more commonly known as MI6), it’s a straight-up spy book, no crazy sci-fi, no capes and cowls…though don’t let that dissuade you from it. Tara is an operative of SOS, a “Minder”, though the series covers a variety of characters who are involved in the backroom moves that come with espionage, internal politics, information gathering, and active assignments that the Minders take on, from “wetwork” like assassinations to working with the CIA (portrayed here as not entirely fucking shit) to meeting double agents to protecting the interests of the Crown against agents of other countries…it’s sort of frighteningly realistic how much it seems like Rucka totally used to be a spy. From what I’ve read it’s based on an old British TV show called “The Sandbaggers”, which was very much in the same vein and that Rucka is totally obsessed with and that he later on brought to Checkmate, making realism exciting and integrating it seamlessly with fiction.
It’s no “Bourne Identity”, there are issues where a vast majority of the story is dialogue with little to no “action”, but that doesn’t lessen it by any means. I’m totally enamored with it right now, it’s incredible storytelling, detailed without being overwhelming, fast-paced without becoming a Michael Bay movie, and British without being all Monty Python references and cultural notes you wouldn’t get.
I just finished volume 3 of the really smartly-put together definitive editions (and holy shit that ending in #3!), with one more to go before having the whole thing done and on my shelves. You should get in on this too. Fo’realz.