Saturday, 13 February 2016
Letter 44, Volume 3: Dark Matter Review (Charles Soule, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque)
President Blades’ reveal to the world that the United States has discovered an alien race building what looks to be a giant weapon in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter has not gone down well. In fact it’s kicked off World War 3! Meanwhile on board the alien’s weapon, nicknamed the Chandelier, the human crew of the Clarke have found first contact to be... not quite what they thought. And if that wasn’t enough, a mile-wide asteroid is headed straight to Earth!
Whatever workmanlike crap Charles Soule may be churning out for Marvel these days, Letter 44 proves that he’s saving his A-game for his creator-owned stuff - this guy’s cranked it up to 11 and torn the knob off!
My one complaint about this volume, Dark Matter, is how things have escalated so stupidly in one respect - World War 3, really? The news that there’s an alien race - that we’re not alone in the universe - and that they might possibly be hostile leads to everyone deciding to gang up on the Americans? I don’t buy it. It doesn’t make a lick of sense that open warfare between the major powers would be the reaction. If anything it should be unifying information, the very opposite of what we see in this book!
Other than that, holy moly, this is quality entertainment! Blades fends off assassination attempts, we see full-scale battles - a rematch between America and Germany with Russia continuing to prove what worthless allies they are for anyone to have - and former President Carroll (the George W. Bush character) lays all his cards down on the table and shows how crazy he really is.
In space we learn more about the alien race, the Fractals, and tensions between them and the crew of the Clarke continue to grow with Soule throwing in more amazing reveals in damn near every chapter! And he keeps piling on the excitement, putting a freakin’ asteroid on a collision course with Earth! Brilliant.
Alberto Alburquerque’s art continues to impress with his range, drawing battles on Earth to dramatic meetings between world leaders to the weirdness of life aboard the Chandelier - really energised, full on imaginative artwork and I loved it!
Whatever my qualms with Soule’s decision to plunge the world into an insane war, Letter 44 is an undeniably gripping, utterly compelling and action-packed read. Incredible storytelling - highly recommended to all comics fans!
Letter 44, Volume 3: Dark Matter