By Charles Soule, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque & Dan Jackson
Charles Soule has kept himself busy lately. Writing three series for Marvel and three series for DC would be more than enough to keep even the most seasoned writer busy. However, Charles Soule also has one solo creator owned series called Letter 44 for Oni Press. This series has seemingly gone under a lot of radars which is pretty disappointing because Letter 44 is one of the most creative series out right now.
Letter 44 tells the story of a new President of the United States taking office after the election, and learning about a secret mission that was sent to space years ago by his predecessor to investigate the appearance of alien life. Letter 44 tells this same story from two different perspectives, a political one taking place on Earth focusing on President Blades dealing with both his new presidency and this secret space mission. While the other story is from the perspective of the team of scientists and soldiers who were sent to confront and research this newly found alien life form. This issue, the space team is investigating an alien-made asteroid that is located near the giant alien spacecraft. Soule does a great job of building suspense for this tight knit team while still keeping a mysterious allure that makes for a compelling read. The flipside to this issue has President Blades trying to juggle his normal presidential duties while trying to get a grasp on the enormity of what the alien appearance means for Earth. All of this going on while having the usual political lying and backstabbing going on behind the scenes. Soule is really hitting his stride with this issue of Letter 44 by balancing both sides of the story which makes for a thrilling read.
The art team of Alburquerque and Jackson do an incredible job of making this series such fun to read. With the space team actually investigating some the alien asteroid this issue, it gives them a chance to show off their skills with the various sci-fi designs of both the researchers’ ship and the alien asteroid. This issue of Letter 44 has some of the best art we’ve seen so far since the last page reveal in the very first issue. In fact, this issue’s last page reveal blows that one out of the water. Sci-fi space concepts seem to always be a favorite of both artists and readers, so it’s no surprise that the pages that take place in space are some of the favorites, but it’s their ability to make the political thriller happening on Earth look equally bright and interesting that is quite impressive. When telling two opposite sides of the same story, the art can sometimes suffer and feel disconnected. This is not the case with Letter 44 as both sides of this mystery compliment and balance each other quite well which makes for a smoother read.
This issue has been the best so far for Letter 44. This creative team feels like it’s found a balanced pace to tell both sides of the same story without either one losing the reader’s interest. It’s understandable that certain issues may have a larger emphasis on one side more than the other just to tell a proficient story but it’s issues like this one that remind us why Letter 44 is such a powerful series. The fact that Charles Soule has many other series to write for both DC and Marvel, it’s surprising that he can still kick out such a strong series on his own. Thankfully for us readers, Letter 44 is a great blending of a grounded thriller with a stylish sci-fi story that just demands you to keep reading.