As a fan of space, science fiction and politics, Image’s Letter 44 Volume 2 Redshift is right up my alley. If you haven’t read the first volume, stop now. Read it and my initial review of volume 1 first. Go ahead, I’ll wait. OK, done? Now lets get back to it.
Creator and writer Charles Soule and artist Alberto Alburquerque continue their adventure in space and in Washington. In the unlikely chance you didn’t heed my advice and read the first volume, let me just quickly catch you up.
Stephen Blades is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, hence the name of the title. The first thing that awaits him in his shiny new office is a letter from the previous president. The government has detected an alien structure in their solar system. And he believes an alien invasion of Earth is inevitable. The previous President has been secretly strengthening and advancing the military through several extended wars in order to practice and harden them in case of an invasion. At the same time, he’s also sent a secret mission of astronauts compiled of scientist and military personal to assess said alien structure. There’s 2 conflicts occurring. One in Washington and another in the middle of the solar system. The new President, Blades, is struggling to properly handle and respond to the unexpected situation. Internal and external forces on Earth are fighting against him. The old President refuses to let the new guy ruin everything he’s been preparing for. At the same time, the crew of Clarke is fighting for their lives. They’ve just encountered the alien structure and boarded. Let’s just say not everyone made it back to the ship alive.
In this second volume, Charles Soule has continued this immersive adventure by upping the stakes a lot. The threats in Washington become more dire. Political enemies are after his head proposing impeachment. All of it of course orchestrated secretly by the last guy in charge. The ex President’s main goal is to gain back control of his empire he left under the excuse of protecting all of humanity. To him no rules or laws matter anymore. Then entire existence of the world are at stake.
The second half of this story involves 9 astronauts who just lost a crewmen to this alien structure. Struggling to understand and properly analyze the threat. What exactly is this structure they’ve dubbed the Chandelier? Is it a weapon? And who’s it pointed at? Are these aliens an enemy of Earth? As you read you’ll find that the answer to that question isn’t so straight forward. The crew of the Clarke is attacked several times by the alien structure’s ships. But it seems their motive isn’t exactly death and destruction. There’s something more ominous that lurks in space yet undiscovered. At the same time, one of the surviving crew members from the initial boarding of the alien structure is infected with an alien virus. Changing his physiology and mentality. A threat to the crew? We’ll have to keep reading to find out.
What I love about this series is that there’s actually two big stories being told. One on Earth and another in space. Of course they’re connected but each of them are very intense and riveting on it’s own. It’s also extremely character driven. From the President and his staff, to his wife, key senators, the ex-president and the crew of the Clarke. I feel they’re very developed and the author is not afraid to kill off key characters. I’m also a fan of Alberto Alburquerque’s art style that he’s maintained in this series. As I mentioned in my first review, it’s very expressive. From character faces to the action scenes.
Does this get Shortboxed?
This is one of my favorite ongoing series. I’m a big fan of space, science fiction and politics. This second volume consists of issues 8-13, and I can’t wait for the next!
Where to get it
You can get the trade at your local comic book shop or amazon, Letter 44 Volume 2: Redshift by Charles Soule. Its publisher is also selling it at Oni Press.
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