Queen & Country (#25) – Greg Rucka

5 out of 5

Queen & Country was (as far as I’m aware) always intentioned to have different artists illustrating each story arc, but I wonder how the direction might have differed had it not kicked off with Steve Rolston.  Steve’s clean but powerful linework is perfect for straddling the different tones the series had, able to swing us through dynamic action, talking head intrigue, and wordless spycraft, all with equal effectiveness and strength to match Greg’s generally tidy and tight writing.  In ways we’ll never know (unless we rewind and start the series again), Steve inevitably set that pace for Q & C.

It’s very fitting, then, that he would come back for the one-shot of issue #25, which could have been the start to the next phase of the series, had Greg continued it on for longer than he did.  It’s a transition; a closing of the previous chapter while starting anew, and told via layers: Tara is visiting her mother in Switzerland, rolling her eyes at mum’s new young suitor and snapping at her to grow up, while her mother spits back that Tara cannot blame her for her own unhappiness.  Back at HQ, Crocker is talking to Barclay about a new minder three, and larger changes are happening…

I was floored by this issue, way back when, and it’s equally powerful now.  The only difference is that, now, I know I only have a few more issues to enjoy this series…