Oni Press is reissuing the entire run of Greg Rucka’s British espionage thriller, Queen & Country, in four Definitive Edition massive paperbacks. This first volume collects the first three arcs in the series.

The book centers on Paul Crocker, the head of the British equivalent of the CIA, as he maneuvers around the bureaucrats and tries to protect his agents, and his star agent, Tara Chace.

Originally published in 2001, these first installments are heavy on Taliban intrigue, which doesn’t quite feel as fresh as it might’ve seven years ago. The stories unfold like an episode of “24,” split between the Ops Room and the agents in the field.

There’s a little too much time spent in the Ops room chatting. But you get the impression that Rucka was ironing out the kinks as they went along.

The dense black and white artwork can be a little disorienting. The illustrative style also changes abruptly for the third arc, most likely due to criticisms of the art being “too cartoony,” which are poked fun at in the supplemental development materials included.

Hiccups aside, Rucka’s writing is always sharp.

Grade: B+

Queen & Country: Definitive Edition Vol. 1 is currently available.