by Charles Soule, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque & Guy Major
It’s no secret that Charles Soule has a lot of buzz surrounding him right now, having shown promising work at both DC and Marvel. So it’s a no brainer to pick up an original story, first issue for only a dollar with his name on it. For a first issue this did everything it needs to do to set up the story and pull the reader in.
Going into Letter 44 with a clean slate and open to whatever it had in store, New President of the United States, Stephen Blades, is taking over the oval office but his predecessor has left him a historic secret note. Using the narration of the note to really layout the story for the reader while being part of the story helped move things along smoothly. There was a lot of dialog but it really helped the reader get to know small bits about all the characters involved while we mostly follow the perspective of the new President. For a first issue Soule did a great job of setting up the story and does some character development while keeping the story engaging.
Having not been familiar with the art team, I thought everything looked wonderful. Being that there were plenty of characters introduced, their designs are all so obviously different that it helps keep everyone easy to remember. Since half of the book takes place in offices and the other half in a space shuttle, everything has that familiar feel while the plot carries a brooding sci-fi theme. For being a grounded present day story they still manage to make all the art look bright and appealing and it really makes the issue a beautiful read.
Without spoilers, it’s the last page reveal the really put Letter 44 in the top. The whole issue was not only an introduction but a slow build to that final page that just reels you in. Letter 44 is the perfect example of how do make a great first issue. Look good, set up the plot, introduce the characters and leave the reader wanting more; also did I mention that it was ONE DOLLAR!? Give it a shot and it may grab you too, the next issue can’t come soon enough.