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Queen & Country The Definitive Edition Volume 1 Paperback – Jan 10 2008

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Oni Press (Jan. 10 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932664874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932664874
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 15.2 x 22.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Queen & Country is a collection of (mostly) independent stories, each of which focusses on a different mission of the SIS, a British government spy operation. The story is split, half the time following the "minders" (that is the spies) on there missions in the field. The other half follows the consequences for the minders and their boss. There is often strife and differences between the minders and the boss, and the boss and his boss, and the boss and another boss, and the boss and a boss of the CIA. That's probably the best and worst part of Queen & Country. It is both captivating to see the inner workings of the SIS and how people have to balance what's right and what works, however in many cases the "bosses of bosses" are hard to ddifferentiate. At least at first I had a hard time distinguish between the different positions, but as the story progresses I became more comfortable with it all. It doesn't help that often the "gritty realistic black and white" art muddies the stark faces of the characters with shadows.

Besides that minor caveat, the story is very exciting and the characters are very interesting. The main minder has a bit of a "freak out" that's very entertaining, but very sad.

Note about the style: Every mission contains the same characters and same universe, but each mission is illustrated by a different artist. This was a bit jarring at first because the first shift goes from somewhat cartoony to uber-gritty (think Sin City), and it's sometimes hard to believe that they are the same characters. By and large though, the art is amazing and rich and engrossing.

Note about the edition: There are 4 books in this edition, each in black and white.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa8b3e858) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b039cc) out of 5 stars Queen and Country - Read This Now! Aug. 30 2010
By Matthew L. Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback
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!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b0351c) out of 5 stars Reality-based cloak and dagger stories April 5 2008
By Spokane Graphic - Published on
Format: Paperback
I liked the story lines. They seemed realistic with lots of "spy tech" jargon thrown in here and there to make the conversations seem real. Not a lot of gadgetry or outrageous villains. The characters are pretty well developed. The female lead character is interesting enough for a guy to read about without feeling self-concious. The art work changed as the stories unfolded; Tara looks a lot different by the 3rd tale. Overall I enjoyed all 3 stories.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b03ca8) out of 5 stars Finally! Jan. 24 2008
By Ralph B. Chilton - Published on
Format: Paperback
Great news for fans of this series who had been put off by the rather anaemic previous collections, this bargain priced MASSIVE volume offers hours of Rucka's Sandbaggers inspired spy drama.

For those new to the series, I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys smart, realistic female leads, modern spy politics and action (more Bourne than Bond), or SIS geeks.

I hope to see these collections beside the Queen and Country novels on the bookshelves.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b056a8) out of 5 stars Tinker, Tailor, Queen, Country April 20 2012
By A customer - Published on
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. In a perfect world the same artist would have done all story arcs, but even then it would have been a tough choice to pick who that winning artist would have been. In the end I enjoyed being able to see the multiple styles.

Although I have not read them, author Rucka also does straight up novels for those more comfortable with a traditional paperback. For most people who pick up this graphic compilation however they'll likely be hooked. Wouldn't be surprised to see this eventually come out as movie, as was the case with Rucka's "Whiteout".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b03258) out of 5 stars Brilliant Nov. 16 2013
By Timothy C Allison - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.