What if George W. Bush’s presidency wasn’t as bad as many think? Sure, there were wars and the economic meltdown, but what if that was all part of a greater plan? Like Sway, we don’t have the answers. But what if there was a method to the madness? That’s the jumping off point for Letter 44 from Oni Press.
Written by Charles Soule (Superman/Wonder Woman) and illustrated by Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, Letter 44 is The West Wing meets Stargate Universe.
Every outgoing president leaves a letter for the incoming president, and this is the letter meant for the 44th. Many assumed that the 43rd president was a real moron who started unnecessary wars and ran the country into the ground. What the letter reveals, however, is that NASA discovered an advanced race in space that may be preparing an invasion. So, the wars on foreign soil were really just tactics to make sure we had a battle-ready military should the need arise. Now, the 44th President has to carry on what was started by his predecessor, and also decide whether to tell the American people.
Meanwhile, the story also follows the crew of The Clarke — a nine-person team of scientists and soldiers who volunteered to travel to deep space to get a better look at what the aliens are doing. When the story picks up, it is Year 3 of their mission, and they have forged relationships and bonds of their own. So, while the new president decides how to handle his news, the exploratory crew is about to engage the potential enemy.
It was a really strong first issue, and I’m curious to see where the story goes. Soule is clearly laying the groundwork for something special, and things are definitely off to an intriguing start. Alburquerque’s art may not be the sort of work you’re used to seeing from the Big Two, but it’s emotive and really fits the tone of the story. Soule strikes a good balance between the Earthbound happenings and the goings on of the crew of The Clarke. If you’re interested in reading the first issue of the series, it’s currently posted, in its entirety, over at io9. You’ll be glad that you did!