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Letter 44, Volume 1: Escape Velocity (Letter 44 #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  809 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
On Inauguration Day, newly elected President Stephen Blades hoped to tackle the most critical issues facing the nation: war, the economy, and a failing health care system. But in a letter penned by the outgoing President, Blades learns the truth that redefines "critical": seven years ago, NASA discovered alien presence in the asteroid belt, and kept it a secret from the ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 30th 2014 by Oni Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Jan Philipzig
Sep 04, 2016 Jan Philipzig rated it it was ok
President Obama vs. the Gigantic Alien Gun

[Though the book does not officially feature Barack Obama and George W. Bush, there can be no doubt that two of its main characters are thinly veiled versions of the two, and in this review I will thus for simplicity's sake refer to them as Obama and Bush.]

On the eve of his inauguration, Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, receives from his predecessor, George W. Bush, the so-called Letter 44:
“Welcome to the job, son… I know you don’t
Apr 21, 2015 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: comix

Three and a half stars.


How scary can an alien be if you can figure out the cubic space he takes up with a math formula?

Take the formula for figuring out the volume of a cone – then take the formula for figuring out a sphere – take half the volume for the sphere and add it to your solution for the cone and you have your big scary alien. Oooh, Geometry gone wild, run for your lives. It's a polygon! Hah!

Then: Laser beams! Ouch! Exploding stuff! Ouch! Death ray! Ouc
Dec 06, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it
Letter 44 is equal parts space adventure and politics, an odd mix that somehow works perfectly. Roughly half of the story is with the intrepid crew of the Clarke, on a mission to discover what mysterious thing a mysterious intelligence is building, pointed at Earth. The other half of the story is with new president Stephen Blades, stepping into office after a very Bush-like president. And believe it or not, the political part is just as interesting and just as much fun to read as the space ...more
Sam Quixote
May 04, 2014 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing
What if…

Aliens are real and are much closer to us than we thought. NASA have discovered what looks like a massive alien mining operation in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter but we don’t know whether the aliens are hostile or friendly - or even whether they’re mining or preparing to invade! A team of nine volunteers made up of scientists and special forces left Earth three years ago on a one-way mission to make first contact. No-one but the highest ranking officials in the US government
Short review: great book. Don't let this linger on your shelf like I did, you'll regret it.

The longer this story unfolds, the more tense and dramatic it becomes. I'm finding myself genuinely surprised at this - I've read a couple of other Soule joints and this level of control, of depth of research, wasn't hinted at in his previous works. While interesting stories, the only surprises I felt during Strongman were at his adherence to old school Latin self-sacrificing hero dialogue. Whereas here I
Jun 25, 2015 Jacob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, sci-fi
Please allow me to rave about Letter 44!

Sometimes comics have an awesome premise- in this case, what if after winning a presidential campaign on the platform that he will undo the previous president's mistakes, President Obama (I mean President Stephen Blades) must continue two unecessary wars, unchecked military spending and policies that will destroy the American economny. There is nothing he can do, because secretly there are aliens near Jupiter, watching Earth.

And there you have me. That is
Summary: On his first day of his new job, president Stephen Blades finds a letter of his predecessor. In this letter, he learns about an alien construction hidden in space, and about the space mission on its way to discover what the construction is, and why it's there.

What I liked:
- I've been binging on science-fiction reads lately, and I liked this take on the "intelligent beings in space" theme. More mystery, and less big-headed green guys
- President Blades is put in a difficult position - wil
David Schaafsma
Maybe this will get better. I was hopeful because it is clearly a commentary on the Bush years from the perspective of the Obama administration, with some new information, that Bush had a secret, that there was this little alien problem they encountered in outer space… I don't (yet) like it much, it feels sort of canned and not particularly well written but sometimes when I keep reading things they get better. We'll see. Other reviewers I admire seem to like it a lot, so I'll keep on...
Aug 26, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
A letter marked only "44" is left for newly elected President Blades on his inauguration day, explaining that seven years ago NASA discovered some sort of alien outpost in the asteroid belt. Kept secret from the world, a crew of 9 was sent out to make contact and they're just now nearing their destination. Suddenly, the critical issues facing America don't seem important at all when compared to proof of extraterrestrial life and the potential of whatever they're doing - building something, ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Pamela rated it it was ok
I keep wiffle-waffling on Letter 44. On one hand, it's a fun, speculative science-fiction/conspiracy theory comic. Yay! On the other hand, it treads ground worn smooth by legions of sci-fi authors previously. On the other other hand, it's wonderfully drawn and inked. Yet it lacks subtlety and some of the action was muddied.

Okay, premise: New president comes into his office and receives a letter addressed to "44" (his number in the Presidential line). It's from the previous president, a fellow na
Jul 22, 2015 Unai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
El mundo está jodido, los USA al borde del desastre económico, metido en guerras de mierda sin sentido y tu acabas de ganar de las elecciones, mañana es tu primer día como presidente de los USA y en la que será, tu mesa del despacho oval, encuentras una carta dirigida a ti, presidente #44, firmada por tu predecesor en el cargo. Así comienza su mandato Stephen Blades.

El problema es lo que pone en esa carta. Sin miramientos el fachoso anterior presidente te explica que no estamos solos en el unive
Jul 01, 2014 Wendy rated it liked it
The 43rd president left a very nice letter for Stephen Blades. It warned the new president that the mess 43 had left behind had a purpose: preparation for aliens. As in, the discovery of an alien mining operation that has, thus far, been kept top secret. Also on a need to know basis is the existence of a team of scientists and soldiers on the Clarke, a ship sent out to make first contact with these aliens.

This isn't a new concept, but Soule does add his own twists here and there to make it a lit
Jun 30, 2014 Craig rated it really liked it
Really liked this. Great concept--a new president opens the letter left for him by his predecessor (the "letter 44" of the title), only to discover, that in addition to a failing economy and two unpopular foreign wars, he's also inherited a top secret mission to send a spaceship to investigate unexplained goings on in deep space. It appears that aliens have come to our solar system and are building something in the asteroid belt, but it's not clear whether it's a weapon or something else (a ...more
Alex Sarll
Imagine if The West Wing had been peopled by characters recognisable as something roughly similar to human beings, rather than wish-fulfillment fantasies who made the average Care Bears cartoon look like gritty realism. When you've finished reeling from that, imagine the incoming President (number 44, just like Obama, but not black) finds the usual letter from the outgoing (number 43, just like Dubya, but less prone to malapropisms) detailing the discovery of an alien structure in the asteroid b ...more
Oct 04, 2014 Tamahome rated it really liked it

Liked the first comic book collection (6 issues) more than I expected (story not complete yet). Kind of science fiction and politics combined. Brian K. Vaughan's Ex Machina would be a good comparison. Or even Arthur C. Clarke, who is referenced in the book. The art didn't immediately wow me, but it grew on me. Lawyer Charles Soule is becoming a comic book author for me to look for. I also liked his Strange Attractors (my review). You can still read the whole first issue of Letter 44 for free on
Jun 08, 2014 Sissel rated it really liked it
I didn’t really know what to expect, since I was just browsing the graphic novels section on Netgalley and chose a random book to read. I didn’t even bother to read the blurb, haha.

This graphic novel is basically two stories in one. There is the crew of The Clark and there’s President Blades. The spaceship timeline reminded me of the 2007 movie Sunshine, which really freaked me out. The whole “trapped in space, don’t know if we are getting back alive” concept makes me very anxious, but I liked i
When the 44th President takes office he finds a letter from the 43rd, a letter that changes everything. NASA discovered an alien presence and a secret mission of astronauts and scientists was launched into space to investigate. While the president has his own problems here on earth--the economy, foreign wars, telling this secret to the public--the astronauts have their own problems living together in such a small space for so long.

This book was so cool. I loved the juxtaposition of the everyday
Don Witzel
Aug 11, 2016 Don Witzel rated it really liked it
I was really surprised by this recommendation. I'm in for the next Vol. A great concept and story telling, looking forward to the next Vol. (Read book description below)

On Inauguration Day, newly elected President Stephen Blades hoped to tackle the most critical issues facing the nation: war, the economy, and a failing health care system. But in a letter penned by the outgoing President, Blades learns the truth that redefines "critical": seven years ago, NASA discovered alien presence in the as
Feb 13, 2016 James rated it really liked it
'Letter 44' is a nice, real world scifi. A slightly alternate world, we follow a new President who discovers the horrors his predecessors 'War On Terror' were all part of preparations for something discovered in the Asteroid Belt.

Meanwhile, a team is near the end of it's three year journey to determine what is in the belt.

The series mixes some interesting takes on politics, and nice take on aliens, with multiple story lines and less than perfect characters. I look forward to checking out the nex
Apr 13, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like Space and Politics. And the Politics of Space.
How does Charles Soule do it?

As if writing Superman/Wonder Woman, She-Hulk, the Death of Wolverine, and others for major publishers wasn't enough I guess he found time away from his law practice to pen this outrageously awesome series that combines the best elements of "House of Cards", the Danny Boyle film "Sunshine", and I don't know what else.

Highly recommended.
Vier Sterne bisher nur, weil mir die Story gefällt. Der Zeichenstil von Alberto ist allerdings so unterirdisch, dass ich nicht glaube die Reihe über längere Zeit ertragen zu können.
Feb 23, 2015 Bellagbear rated it liked it
Lots of interesting elements in this story, therefore very curious to the rest

Space! Aliens! Government conspiracy! Political allegory!

Letter 44 is a legitimately expert written, multi-level political thriller and space adventure. Charles Soule is on point here with his fantastic dialog, plotting, characterization, and visual details. Even the way the story literally unfolds as you turn the page is precisely written, with that Chief of Staff shocker! I've read a good number of space/sci-fi/mindfuck books and this is among the best.

Newly inaugurated black President Steph
Nov 09, 2016 Nate rated it really liked it
I started reading this knowing nothing about it and was sucked in very quickly. the premise of a outgoing president leaving a letter to the incoming president detailing the discovery of aliens and what is being done about them is original and interesting as is having the action split between the oval office and outer space. I'm not consistently in love with the art in this collection but Soule is a hell of a story teller.
Chris Lawson
Jul 08, 2014 Chris Lawson rated it it was amazing
“Dear Mr. President: There are Aliens Out There!”

This is a collection of the first 6 chapters in Letter 44. This is a Sci-Fi adventure that begins with the inauguration of President Stephen Blades, as he takes over the presidency from Francis Carroll. The new president, however, doesn’t even get a moment to rest. His grandiose plans are put on hold, as he confronts an unknown force in outer space.

Excellent plot, excellent graphics make this an exciting adventure. There is never a dull moment in
Jordon Welle
Nov 14, 2016 Jordon Welle rated it it was ok
This one was....definitely something. I know that's weak but that's about all I've got. Speculative fiction and sci fi have a tendency to jump the shark pretty easily, and this one did it fairly early on. Dunno if I'll read the other two.
Nov 20, 2016 J. rated it liked it
Starts off with a strong premise, but I don't think this volume really goes anywhere. Following the characters in space is interesting, but the earth story is less so.
Oct 23, 2016 Pear rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Original ideas; good enough to read the second volume.
Sep 23, 2016 Marianne rated it really liked it
and it would be five stars if the women weren't drawn so @#$&(# male-gazy all the time. (As written characters, they're just fine! It's the way they're drawn that makes them seem like Heinleinian male fantasies.)

Otherwise fabulous sf, I was going to say near-future but it's actually near-past alternate history now. Was very-near-future sf when it was written, I think.
Brad Feld
Sep 20, 2016 Brad Feld rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi, comics
Awesome - just got the other two that are out (volume 2 and volume 3). If you like sci-fi / end of the world comics, this one is great.
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