QUEEN & COUNTRY carries on a fine tradition of such real-world spy stories like The Sandbaggers or Callen. Here there are no magic doo-dads, no glamorous locales, and certainly no goddamn baccarat; there are only almost-broken men and women who punch the clock every day, save the world, and go home a little worse for the wear. Deftly cutting between spy action (a relative term, in these pages: in fact many of my favorite moments of CRYSTAL BALL move like a chase scene underwater) and the My World Order men calling the shots, CRYSTAL BALL tells the story of a race against time as Tara Chase and her fellow Minders race to stop a Sarin gas attack during a British soccer match. It's tense, smart, and completely compelling - QUEEN & COUNTRY absolutely baffles me.
I quite simply have no idea how a book like it comes to be, how people can think to write or draw the way QUEEN & COUNTRY is written and drawn. I felt the same way after I saw Michael Mann's The Insider, where I was absolutely spellbound by white guys talking on phones for two and a half hours. How do you make that exciting? How do you make that riveting?
Treat yourself to the smartest book going: tear apart CRYSTAL BALL and try to figure out how Rucka and Fernandez do it.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.