The old adage of blaming the last guy won’t work in this pre-apocalytic political and sci-fi thriller. As the new president, Stephen Blades must bear the weight of a 7 year secret his predecessor has left him. The answer to the ultimate question, “Is there life out there?” is answered. And the answer is a resounding yes. And the worse part, they’re most likely not friendly.
Letter 44, by Charles Soule, created a world that takes place on the cusp of a new discovery for human-kind. Unprepared, President Blades struggles to understand the decisions the last president has made, including the destruction of the economy and starting several wars. Not even on his first day in office, President Blades discovers a letter on his desk labeled “44.” Marked appropriately as the old 43rd president wanted to make sure that only the new guy would read this letter. In it, explains all the past decisions his predecessor made.
7 years ago, NASA discovered a construction operation in an asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. With fears the alien presence may be building some sort of weapon, the 43rd president decided that the planet must be prepared to battle any future enemies. So he started wars to battle harden his solders. He funded research and development to create new secret and advanced weapon technology, all at the cost at the cost of the economy and social policy. The American public were clueless. All they knew was that their president was destroying the country. Only a handful of people knew of these revelations, and among them were 9 brave individuals who volunteered to find whatever was being built there. A mix of special forces and scientists, they secretly blasted off some years back on their spaceship they dubbed, the Clarke.
The Clarke and it’s crew has been on this voyage for 3 years. As they were just about to reach their destination they had to fill in their new president with their current status, and everything is going as expected, with one notable exception. Their mission commander, Charlotte Hayden, is pregnant on a mission where there is no plan to return to earth. The Clarke is about to cross a signal barrier put up by the alien presence. Up to now, no sensors could penetrate the barrier. Probes sent through it never sent any signals back. It’s anyone’s guess what could be behind the barrier. As they cross the barrier, communication between Earth and the Clarke ceases. But not before they get a glimpse of the other side.
You’ll have to catch a copy of the trade paperback or issues to find out what happens next. This story is extremely exciting. Both worlds, on Earth and on the Clarke have their own sets of problems. On Earth, organizations who are in the know, have other agendas. Mysteries and attempted murders stack up as the President tries to get control of the situation both on and off the planet. While the Clarke, with little to no backup, must depend on each other and their ship to not only successfully investigate the anomaly, but to keep everyone alive as well. There’s an alien presence across the barrier. And it most definitely is not friendly.
Charles Soule has created a riveting world with several mysteries any reader would want to completely unravel. Both the President’s and the Clarke’s crew perspective are equally interesting. Illustrated by Alberto Alburquerque, the art is brilliant and immersive. Faces are are a bit dark but expressive and I feel it blends well with the dark storyline. Any fan of space science fiction will surely love this series. This is the first trade released, covering the first 6 issues. With the 7th issue released in June 2014. We’re looking forward to what happens next!
Does this get Shortboxed?
Charles is probably getting more publicity for the Death of Wolverine, but we can’t ignore his other current and ongoing works. Letter 44 is a damn good story and definitely gets shortboxed.
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