Publisher: Oni Press
Story: Charles Soule
Pencils: Alberto Jimínez Alberquerque
Colours: Guy Major
Letter 44 #2 from Oni Press continues to ratchet up the tension nicely. This second issue opens with our incoming President Blades being debriefed by his most senior scientist, Dr Portek, as to the likely intentions of the mysterious extra-terrestrial visitors who have been hiding themselves out in space. Suffice to say that all the best guesses to the necessary questions leave little room for believing that they have come across the vast reaches of space with benign intentions.
Later we witness Blades trying to juggle the formalities of running the world’s most powerful nation, including inheriting some unsympathetic joint chiefs, whilst struggling all the time to comprehend what the future holds in store not just for the nation he governs, but the entire earth.
We get some action from the brave crew of the Clarke – the ship sent out to investigate the alien activity – as they struggle to bring the ship’s systems back online (and re-establish contact with Earth) after shorting out when they passed through the alien’s cloaking shield. We also learn that for the poor souls aboard the Clarke this is most likely a one-way trip, by choice.
With this story, writer Charles Soule is blending sci-fi and politics to wonderful effect. Roping in the real world Global War On Terror and current US misadventures in the Middle East, Soule captivates us with an original sci-fi tale that is firmly rooted in our geopolitical present and so is a strangley unique reading experience.
I don’t think it’s giving much away to say President Blades and his predecessor are undoubtedly incarnations of Obama and Bush respectively. But it’s a genuine pleasure to see how Soule has incorporated and given a different meaning to actual events of the past 10 years, as it adds a weight and depth to this comic book that most others lack.
As for the pencils by Alberto Jimínez Alberquerque, they are just sublime, as are the colours from Guy Major. Alberquerque’s very detailed pencil work blends with the moody palette of Major to wonderful effect. Particularly in the more kinetic spaced based panels. Overall this is a must for any pull-list, political intrigue meets epic sci-fi, if you haven’t already, you need to open Letter 44.
Patrick is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @RepStones.