Graphic Novel: The Coldest City

I seem to be happening across more and more spy comics lately. Unfortunately I found The Coldest City, by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart, a middling affair. Set in the days leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, The Coldest City tells the story of Lorraine Broughton, a tested MI6 agent who’s sent into Berlin to locate a missing agent list. Broughton’s task is complicated by the cantankerous head of station, David Perceval, and her investigation leads her down treacherous paths as western agents and communists clash on the Cold War’s most famous battleground.

Johnston scripted the only non-Greg Rucka Queen & Country: Declassified issue; I had a lukewarm reaction to that story. The Coldest City plies similar territory, and ultimately elicits a similar response. It’s got all the earmarks and plot contortions of classic spy fiction, but it’s missing spark. I found the characters a little flat, and I didn’t find the mystery particularly gripping. My reaction to Hart’s artwork matches the writing: it’s fine, but it didn’t thrill me. Ultimately, this one read engagingly enough but I suspect it won’t linger long in my memory.

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