imageOni Press is pleased to announce the fifth trade paperback in Greg Rucka’s ongoing espionage series QUEEN & COUNTRY. Featuring artwork by indy comics sensation Carla Speed McNeil, OPERATION: STORMFRONT sees the agents, or Minders, of Britain’s special operations section confront a change in their ranks and a ghost from the section’s distant past.

“STORMFRONT was our fifth story arc in the ongoing series,” said editor James Lucas Jones. “But it’s actually our sixth collection of QUEEN & COUNTRY stories. In between OPERATION: CRYSTAL BALL and OPERATION: BLACKWALL we did a spin-off miniseries called DECLASSIFIED. That series focused on the department’s past-specifically an especially dangerous mission undertaken by a Minder named Paul Crocker.”

QUEEN & COUNTRY readers know Paul Crocker as the hard-as-nails Director of Operations for British Intelligence, but in DECLASSIFIED Paul was just a young agent trying to do the best he could in a very different Cold War world. The assignment depicted in DECLASSIFIED took its toll on the director and his failure provides the catalyst for STORMFRONT.

“I always intended for the events of DECLASSIFIED to affect the main series,” Rucka explained. “The espionage game is overflowing with ghosts but there’s something about that first one that’s different from the others. It stays with you. STORMFRONT is about Paul making right by that first ghost while Tara and Tom deal with a spirit of their own.”

Joining Rucka on this action-packed tale of redemption and change is Carla Speed McNeil, creator of the science fiction series FINDER.

“The biggest challenge with a series like QUEEN & COUNTRY is finding the right artist,” continued Jones. “It’s a tough book that requires a lot of time, not just at the drawing board but on research as well. We’ve been blessed with some extremely talented fellows thus far, but it’s always hard to find the right person to take on the book next. Recruiting Carla was kind of a Hail Mary. She’s an established veteran with a schedule of her own to keep and when I asked her, I never in a million years thought she’d say ‘yes.’ Lucky for us, Carla was up for trying something new. I think the results speak for themselves.”

“STORMFRONT was only just the beginning of a new status quo for our cast of characters,” concluded Rucka. “The events of this volume will continue to be felt by Paul, Tara, and Tom for some time to come.”

QUEEN & COUNTRY, VOLUME 5: OPERATION: STORMFRONT is a 144 page black-and-white trade paperback for $14.95. The volume features a new color cover by Carla Speed McNeil and contains mature situations. It arrives in comic book stores on March 24th, 2004.

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