Queen and Country: Storm Front (#16 – 20) – Greg Rucka

3 out of 5

This arc starts out with an excellent gutpunch – something Rucka has excelled at executing across his many books and comics, knowing to wait until the precise moment to pull an unseen rug from beneath us – and then doubles down on it very soon afterward, setting a gripping precedent for Q & C to suggest that no one, really, is safe.  But after that one-two, Greg’s left with an op he can’t really follow through on to the fullest, and so the storyline ends up feeling more like a waiting game to put us in position for something to follow.  There are the usual interesting political intrigues – including some internal house-shuffling – as well as seeing Crocker actually play genuinely nice at one point, which is rewarding, but it still ultimately ends up feeling like hand-waiving, waiting out the five issue run, as though it was assumed that the opening issues needed to be “balanced” by a minimalist middle and conclusion to the story.

Carla Speed McNeil’s art has a nice, tactile feel to it, particularly with her doing her own lettering, giving each panel a very organic look, but her guys-in-suits are terribly lacking in distinction; I often had to parse who was saying what based on the conversation context.

A quick read, with some absolutely required plot turns, but more of a stepping stone storyline, overall.