Queen and Country

By Greg Rucka

Book CoverQueen and Country has been on my radar for several years, but, honestly, comic books can get expensive really fast, so I like to basically read at least one entire issue before committing to actually buying anything. I’ve been waiting for a version to show up at my library, and was quite pleased when I ran across the collected first volume of the definitive edition! I was then additionally pleased that I hadn’t actually purchased it.

A kick-ass British female spy illustrated by Tim Sale, my very favorite artist, should have been a no-brainer, but for a couple unfortunate bait-and-switches. Tim Sale only draws the covers of each issue, a practice that makes me almost apoplectic. All adages aside, you really do need to be able to judge a book, at least somewhat, by the cover, especially in a primarily visual media like comic books. Hiring a better artist to draw the cover than the inside is truly the definition of bait-and-switch (although I am grudgingly pleased that Tim Sale has earned the status he deserves, I suppose).

The other unpleasant surprise was in the character of Tara Chase, kick-ass British female spy, herself. I don’t know why I let myself be suckered into thinking this was going to be different from every other comic book in existence, so I guess I am sort of to blame, as well, but Tara Chase spends an inordinate amount of time lounging around in her underwear. The issues rotate artists so the first few were just mildly disappointing, but I was completely over it by the time her outfit for a siege operation (black bra under fishnet tank top) highlighted her approximately 12” waist and 40” chest (while her male compatriot is in full combat gear, of course). Same old, same old, I guess, but I was hoping for better.

—Anna

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