Science fiction and politics aren’t always the most comfortable bedfellows, though there are notable exceptions like Independence Day‘s President Whitmore and Brian K. Vaughan’s excellent Ex Machina comic series. A new exception has joined the bunch, as Charles Soule and Alberto Alburquerque’s intriguing new Oni Press comic Letter 44 just released its second issue, deepening the mystery that the debut set up so solidly. You say you’d like to know what this mystery is? Well, you’re in luck, as the entire first issue is available to read on io9.
Soule — best known for Strongman and Strange Attractors — and Alburquerque have created something entirely unique that is based on a recognizable reality and utilizes a classic aesthetic that focuses less on bright splash pages and more on telling a clear and concise story.
A new President of the United States is taking over the Oval Office, and beyond all of the problems that normally land on the Chief’s lap following inauguration, Stephen Blades finds himself tasked with taking on something otherworldly. The former president, who bears more than a striking descriptive resemblance to George W. Bush, leaves Blades a letter detailing the reasons for all of his presidency’s supposed failures. It turns out he was covering up NASA‘s discovery of intelligent life existing beyond an invisibility shield in between Mars and Jupiter. Astronauts are currently nearing this destination on a super-secret space mission to figure out what exactly is up there. And once they find it, it doesn’t look good at all for mankind. Take a look at the first few pages below before you go and read the rest, mouths salivating.
While the issue contains a lot of dialogue scenes where a lot of the exposition gets hammered out, it’s incredibly interesting information being delivered, and there are a definitely a few standout images that make the imagination run wild, the last page reveal as the definite high point. What are these aliens planning? Destruction or protection? And are they even aliens? It’s rare for a comic to tractor beam me in so completely with just one issue, but Letter 44 has done just that.
And I’m not alone, as the buzz around this series has been loud and positive in the month since its release. In fact, there is already talk of a
TV series on an undisclosed network, and it reportedly already has a showrunner and director attached. Assuming Soule’s storytelling remains strong, I’d watch a show based on this in a heartbeat. Even if it was on Syfy.
So head over to io9 and check the comic out and let us know in the comments if you liked it as much as I did.