Letter 44: Volume 3 Dark Matter – Charles Soule

Letter 44 Volume 3Here are another six generous issues of this great story. The narrative delivery makes you work hard to digest the material jumping forwards almost a year in order to flashback a decade. This disorientation and the jump-cutting between the two worlds lets you know this is a story for the active reader and not the passive one.

The art is good but the layout might give you the odd misread as you get the panel order jumbled.

The plot is certainly dramatic with plenty of twists and the home straight is definitely a frenetic series of WTF moments.

Thumbs Up!

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Letter 44: Volume 2 Redshift – Charles Soule

Letter 44 Volume 2Another instalment in this great series arrives. The star of the piece has been the story on Earth as that feels more tangible and relatable. But developments in space start to hot up.

The seven issue volumes do make a difference and although the pacing is pretty rapid you don’t get the feeling things are rushed or have to be ditched for time. There is a slight feeling that some dialogue was tailored to act as a recap which you might or might not appreciate depending on when you read volume one.

The art is just as before and it is great to see another foil cover. Nice to know that wasn’t just a gimmick and that the art and presentation remains a high priority. There are in-character pictures at the back of the volume, some of which are identical to the previous book.

Another Thumbs Up!

Letter 44: Volume 1 Escape Velocity – Charles Soule

Letter 44 Volume 1
It’s the West Wing meets 2001 a Space Odyssey. Pretty much. A new president finds out we aren’t alone in the universe and his predecessor has already sent people into space.

This has an interesting structure. We follow the president on Earth trying to undo the policies of his precursor and fighting political threats while he learns what has been going on in space. We also follow an ensemble cast of astronauts far away tasked with making contact with whatever is out there. These two differing narratives are an unusual pairing as they are kept separate and distinct. Stylistically it is an interesting choice that gives you two tales in one, particularly as each side is keeping secrets from each other.

You don’t need to know anything about either politics or space to follow along but you do get the sense everything is authentic and well researched or at least highly believable. Things aren’t overly detailed and the pace is just right to deliver all the mysteries woven into the plot. There are a lot of similarities between the Bush/ Obama change and you need to decide if this is a distraction or an anchor to reality.

The art works fine. It isn’t too showy or gimmicky but neither does it stretch itself to be particularly innovative. It is full of little touches like numbering the pages for example. Another is making the first page an in character document before you get to all the usual creative and business credits. The star of the book is the cover. It’s a foil printing of a star chart that really brings an otherworldly feel the book.

The high page count and artistic priority means you get a good feeling about this work from the smaller publisher Oni Press.

Thumbs Up!