If you haven’t been reading Charles Soule’s Letter 44… Well, what is wrong with you? Oni Press has put the first six issues of the series together for you in a trade, so you can learn how this egg got scrambled and decided if you want to chow down on the current issues.
So what is it about? There is a tradition that every outgoing president leaves a letter for his successor giving advice on how to handle the pressures of the job. Stephen Blades is about to be inaugurated, when he finds his predecessor’s letter to him. Instead of platitudes, the letter reveals that the government has found an alien presence building something in the Solar System’s asteroid belt. The previous president has done everything he could to put the country on a war footing in case they are hostile.
Additionally he launched a secret spaceship with scientists and special forces to find out what kind of threat the aliens pose. And while in the movies, scientists and warriors don’t get along, in this story they do all too well as one of the scientists has hidden her pregnancy from the commanders on Earth.
The action – political intrigue, assassinations, brinkmanship – on the planet and contact which doesn’t go as well as it might in space – continues to escalate throughout the series. Soule (Daredevil, Curse Words) does a good job balancing both sides of the story and showing how people who should know better can be pressured into doing stupid things.
Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque (Mystery Girl, Savage Sword) does a great job with the art and while it works will with Guy Majors (Robin, Cyborg) in the first three chapters, it really takes off when Dan Jackson (Angel & Faith, Star Wars Tales) lays down color in the last three.
This trade gives you enough that you can probably pick up with the current issues of the series confident you can fill yourself in as needed. If you are intrigued by the concept and want to try it out, this is an excellent place to start.
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque
Colorists: Guy Majors and Dan Jackson
Publisher: Oni Press