Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Comic Review: Letter 44 #1
No silly superheros in dumb costumes here--I really can't stand Superman, Batman, the X-Men and any other of the million "superhero" genre stories--just solid political and sci-fi drama.
Issue #1 is tightly written and bounces between an incoming president (#45) who is just being inaugurated and a team of scientists and soldiers on an outbound spaceship bound for the asteroid belt. #45 is notified via the titular letter from #44 that unbeknownst to all but the former president and a literal handful of other officials, a suspected alien operation was discovered to be building "something" in the asteroid belt some seven years earlier.
All the wars and conflicts president #44 embroiled the country in were to serve the purpose of generating as many battle hardened soldiers as possible while funneling as much money into military R&D programs as could be done in whatever time they had before the aliens come visiting.
#45 is now caught between meeting the demands of his proposed "hope and change" agenda and confronting the looming alien encounter. If this sounds a bit like our current presidential setup, its meant to--to an extent. Its not that the comic is taking a political stance (as of yet) its that its setting up an interesting alternate reality to drive the thoughts of the reader. This is an intelligent comic and not one for a reader looking for lots of explosions (so far), shootouts, etc. Or at least that's not ALL the comic is as there is none of this in the first issue.
The art is plain and not distracting. There are no "artistic" flourishes for their own sake and the space scenes appear particularly well done--the sense of weightlessness is conveyed in an excellent manner here.
You can read issue #1 in full here: First issue of Letter 44... and the publisher issued this with $1 cover price with two known variants that I am aware of. The first printing of some 22,000 copies is sold out with a second printing on its way. The most common edition of the comic is already going for about $7 and the more limited variants heading up to $30. As the story has already been optioned (reportedly) to a TV network to work on a series there...so perhaps these prices will stand up. Regardless, I've now got to go out and find a copy of issue #2 which has already come and I haven't found at a retail store yet. If you like smart sci-fi and/or comics...this might be a good series to follow along with. I'm subscribed at my local comic store, hopefully I'll be returning on a regular basis to pick issues up...god I hope the aliens in the asteroid belt don't turn out to be something remarkably dumb...