Rating: 5/5 – This Issue Delivers a Huge Payoff!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
With issue #9, Letter 44 is knee deep into the second story arc and the series has really hit its stride. What has been a measured and methodical buildup to date is now firing on all cylinders much like the alien weapon firing on this issue’s cover. Writer Charles Soule took to social media to promise that the cover was indeed accurate of events in this issue and he wasn’t kidding. The aliens are done building their weapon and they can blow things up!
But before everything goes to hell in a handbasket, former president Francis T. Carroll interrupts this regular comic broadcast to bring you his latest shenanigans. It is long-winded and full of exposition, but it serves to completely bring the reader up to date with what is happening. It was a genius way to do it, since it is in the context of the story, and enough information is provided that a new reader could possibly jump on with this issue. After that, though, everything is in reaction to the aliens blowing things up! No, wait, there is also that one part where seeds are planted for a sexual scandal involving the administration. What kind of political story would this be if there wasn’t a sex scandal involved? I continue to believe the political half of Letter 44 is slightly more interesting than the alien half of the book and this new twist really highlights that feeling. Now, really, everything else was about the aliens demonstrating their new capabilities (i.e. blowing things up!) and everyone’s reactions to this news (freaking out!). As suspected, the alien technology is well beyond anything the human race could muster. Or is it? Project Monolith promises to be “working on all sorts of things” that can hopefully combat the alien threat. With that, the book ends with a magnificent cliffhanger that leaves me impatiently waiting for the next issue.
The art by Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque is his best to date. There are plenty of beautiful splash pages highlighting the aliens’ path of destruction and colorist Dan Jackson accentuates them with striking reds and oranges. It was worth the build up to this moment just to see these beautiful full-page panels. I also like the way Alburquerque presented President Carroll’s aforementioned verbose dialogue. It seemed like Carroll was pleading his case to the reader personally before the panels opened up and the other player was brought into the scene. It made what could otherwise have been a boring recap more interesting. The smarmy look on Carroll’s face in many of the panels was priceless and alone expressed everything you needed to know about his plans.
This issue was jammed packed with plenty of action and a nice pay off for the premise introduced in the inaugural issue. The big looming threat is finally realized and like insignificant ants, the players are scrambling to deal with it. I suspect there will not be a pause in the momentum anytime soon, even as new plans are being hatched that will further complicate the situation. Letter 44 hit a sweet spot with this issue and I cannot wait to see what’s next!
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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