Posts Tagged ‘spy’

Queen and Country Voluume 1

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Queen and Country is a book I was really looking forward to reading, and not because I thought it was going to concern itself with Freddie Mercury singing Achy Breaky Heart.  That is a dream that will sadly go unfulfilled.  (Rest in peace, Mr. Mercury.  You brought us the Flash Gordon theme song, and the world is forever in your debt.)  No, I had heard many good things about the series, and that excited me.  Mostly because I yearn to kill sacred cows, and this seemed like a ripe opportunity for my usual shenanigans.

Grudgingly, I must admit that I liked Queen and Country.  I liked it in spite of its flaws.  I liked it in spite of the cartoony style that seemed so at odds with the content. I liked it even with the somewhat generic characters.  Something about it really worked for me.  Rucka is obviously very skilled at writing procedurals.  He wrote Gotham Central.  He wrote Whiteout.  He wrote Checkmate.  Someone pointed out that he wrote Wonder Woman, which threw off my line of thinking, until it was pointed out that Wonder Woman was working as a cop during the series.  I have no idea if this is true, as my interactions with the Wonder Woman character consist solely of light bondage fantasies, but I can easily see it happening.  It appears Rucka sticks with what he knows, and it works for him.

The characters in Queen and Country were somewhat generic, and they behaved in predictable ways.  The oh so troubled female lead carried on a series of emotionless sexual encounters.  The high level bosses had the usual adversarial relationship, with one cast in the role of crusading do-gooder and the other as his impediment.  The bond haired good guy wanted to protect the delicate female lead, as only he could understand how troubled she was.  Bureaucracy and rule of law prevented the team form doing what needed to be done, like warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition.  I might be confusing that last point with something else.  That said, I am about to cross the streams of geekdom and admit that it all reminded me a lot of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.  And I loves me some GitS:SAC.  I think a Hello Kitty died when I typed that.  Perhaps a Badtz Maru.

A small annoyance was trotting out the familiar trope that the female lead used a naked picture of herself to bypass security.  I found it somewhat diffuclt to accept that a massive counterintelligence agency would send an agent out in the field without top notch falsified documents.  Someone suggested that since she was injured and missed her extraction, that this was her last resort.  If that is the case, that means she had been carrying around naked pictures of herself for no specific reason.  That further begs the question… did the agency photoshop her head onto someone else’s body, or did they schedule a photo shoot.  I would think the British would be too uptight for that sort of thing to fly.  “Yes.  We just need you to step into this room, disrobe, and Mr. Smith will take some candids.  We will all be in the other room, and that mirror is by no means a two way.  Preposterous!  Now chop chop… and give us about five minutes.  Just… sexy it up.  And remember… don’t come in here.  For five minutes.”  Either way, I’m considering taking a few candids of my junk and keeping them in my wallet.  Apparently you never know when that sort of thing might come in handy.

Queen and Country gets an overall favorable review.  I plan to pick up a few more volumes and read through them, which is the primary goal of any serialized work.  Congratulation, Rucka.  You have you hooks in me.  Now let us see where this crazy ride goes.