How about a government toppling hacktivist driven story exploring the corruption and lies held by those in power and the fear that brings being made a reality? It’s a high stakes murder mystery in Jamie Me’s Queen.
We’re back again with the Start Again universe creator Jamie Me with a look this time at Queen. Although a very different story to Start Again there are a few little easter eggs in this one that will give fans of Start Again a lot of satisfaction while also showing Jamie’s generating a real franchise. The crossovers, parallels and spin-offs and now even a uniformed creative team across all titles show Jamie's building not just a universe franchise but something of a multiverse. That’s quite an ambitious undertaking and so far it’s working.
Queen as a series is a deeply intriguing mystery with a connected theme of tech being a powerful weapon for toppling people and establishments and a harbinger of truths. It’s a modern tale with a strong morality, hints of conspiracy and a fascinating narrative at its core. From its very first page, Jamie makes a statement with Queen. Buckle up this one’s intense.
So, let’s start with the art. The first two issues of Queen saw Bernard Gita handle the art with Sean Callahan bringing the best out with colouring. Bernard's sketch style is very interesting with the sketch quality lines and foundation of realism making this art so very enjoyable. This style adds a grittiness to the story while the heavily detailed style adds to this gritty edge making it ideally suited to the story. Sean's colouring adds to these qualities extremely well, rounding out this art to a high levelled finish. Unfortunately, due to health concerns, Bernard is not on sequential art duties for issue three. We send our good wishes and are glad to see his return on the alternate cover for issue three. Bernard's combined "OG" covers create their own interesting narrative, reinforcing the fascinating story.
For issue three then it’s a full return of the Start Again staple trinity team where art duties are handled by Neri Rearte. Neri's style is very different from Bernards with a more Manga influenced delivery pulling back slightly on the realism. By comparison, it is a much more clinical finish with those digital lines making the art carry a different tone. Neri delivers some good character design in the members of the British public that injects some level of realism back in. The colouring is accomplished and the package being instantly recognisable as that of the Start Again universe also adds a level of cross continuity like an extended multiverse. After all, it is shown that in the world of Queen they enjoy reading Start Again. As always Jamie's lettering is the icing on the cake with an unwavering sleek presentation.
For the story then. As with Start Again and its extended catalogue the theme of technology being used as a weapon continues but make no mistake this is a very different animal. In Queen, Jamie turns his writing prowess onto a political murder mystery drama taking in all the corruption, conspiracy and hacktivism a British government can face. As we know from Start Again, Jamie has immense skill when it comes to building suspense and here he’s managing it from the very first page.
Each issue starts and ends with a different black and white sequence following the "how did we get here" trait. It’s executed superbly with these breadcrumbs giving engrossing and compelling reasons to consume this series. The narrative between is timed and presented wonderfully with enough reasoning for these "flashforward" moments using purely context. There's always an understanding of why but the thrill of the how is captivating. This opening page also features a really interesting narrative point as our attention is given to three items: 1. The dead body of Prime Minister Daniel Camden; 2. A mobile phone; 3. A gun.
Throughout these issues when these items crop up, having them labelled adds an interesting sort of follow the white rabbit level of intrigue which is highly enjoyable. The other significant player in that opening is the lead character Deputy Prime Minister Emily Green. It’s established early that Emily is an unhappy woman in both life and career and the plot is kicked off when a foreboding labelled package is revealed to contain a mobile phone. The voice she hears shows an intimate knowledge of Emily before it is revealed that this person is a representative of Nidus, a hacktivist group that promptly loudly announces itself. Nothing else should be said I think as this one is full of intrigue and excellent storytelling. The penultimate issue was only released last month so there could be a short wait for that finale but if you can get caught up this one is well worth it.
For fans of mystery thrillers, political murder mysteries, hacktivist groups, disenfranchised rebellion and compelling narrative in a British set sketch followed by Manga-style you should try Queen. To find copies and be on top of all new content investigate Kickstarter, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. With the release of a new issue of Fabled Four round the corner, it should be a great opportunity to get caught up as Jamie often offers rewards that hold his back catalogue.