Queen & Country: Dandelion (#21 – 24) – Greg Rucka

4 out of 5

While I might’ve criticized the previous arc for some thumb twiddling, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m asking for fisticuffs.  ‘Dandelion’ is a perfect example of how capable Greg is of doing pot-boiler tension without any action; it’s all ops and political back-and-forths, and it remains fascinating for all four of its issues.

A new, non-Special Section-friendly C will be taking office soon, replacing the sick Sir Wilson Davies.  While Crocker’s personal history with the C incumbent – Frances Barclay – doesn’t bother the D-Ops, he truly believes in the necessity of his Minders, whether or not he’s leading them, and so is wooed by a plan by the mustache-twiddling Permanent Under Secretary, Walter Seccombe, to secure the Section’s importance to HMG.  Part of this plan involves a hush-hush op on local soil: investigating a potential presidential replacement for Zimbabwe, replacing the current totalitarian leader.

Meanwhile, Wallace is considering retirement, delayed, at least, until a new Minder Three can be found, and wouldn’t ya know, they found one…

Greg keeps things ticking along tightly and smoothly, despite this being 100% talking heads.  He gives us plenty of scope on the glad-handing and Zimbabwe background, but also doesn’t make it seem like you have to have done any homework in order to follow along.  That said, there is an extreme use of abbreviations and nods to other characters and positions herein, without any helpful editorial asterisks, and that is a bit daunting, even if the gist of the conversations are clear.  Artist Mike Hawthorne’s clean, crisp style gives us the identifiability of our men-in-suits that previous arc’s artist Carla Speed McNeil was lacking, but it’s good that there isn’t any action in this arc, because Carla’s better sense of fluidity and space are more suited to that; Hawthorne is, by design, pretty stiff, and everything takes place in kind of non-descript areas that work fine for our chats but wouldn’t serve more intense moments.