‘Queen’ Comic Review
Writing and Lettering by Jamie Me, Art by Bernardinus Gita, Coloring by Sean Callahan
The last few comics I reviewed required some research and dictionary digging. Many might scoff at the idea of research to read a comic book, but I think that need showcases the academic value of this art and literary form.
The latest comic I read is Queen, about the Deputy Prime Minister, Emily Green, who is embroiled in a plot to eliminate the current Prime Minister. I’m not well versed in the United Kingdom political system, so I needed some background information to follow the plot. After gaining that background information, I found the comic was engaging and entertaining.
The issue opens with a splash page that features Green sitting next to Prime Minister Daniel Camden with a bullet in his head. This striking image is digitally painted using blacks, whites, and grays, but the blood streaking down the Prime Minister’s face, away from his mortal wound, is red. It’s an effective splash page because it encourages the reader to continue reading to uncover the cause of this bloody effect.
A flashback then transports us to events set in early 2015, in which the prime minister is being challenged by Unity Leader Robert Band. Band believes the Prime Minister intends to dismantle and reform the National Health Service. This scene establishes a disconnect within the UK government. Following this questioning of the Prime Minister, Emily Green is given a package by her assistant with the words “SWORD OF DAMOCLES” written on it. This is a commonly used but often misused phrase in politics.
According to classics scholar Daniel Mendelsohn, the phrase refers to a story in which Dionysius, a Sicilian tyrant, overheard his courtier Damocles say he would enjoy being king. Dionysius gave Damocles the chance to be king by doting upon him and allowing him wonderful service and food, but above him hung a sword held by a single horsehair. The moral is that leadership does come with many perks, but death and danger still hang above.
This plot device is well used by the writer of Queen, Jamie Me, because he effectively tempts his main character to desire more power but still makes it feel like a giant sword is hanging overhead this woman. The sword that hangs over Green is the ominous Nidus company that is clearly attempting to eliminate the Prime Minister politically and physically. It will be interesting to see how the story of this ambitious woman unfolds.