(2015-2016, Oni Press)
Until yesterday, the last issue I read of Letter 44 was #17. Somehow along the way in my habitual Wednesday pick-up I wound up missing a couple issues (full disclosure: for much of the past 5 months my wife has been doing the weekly pull based on my pull list...upon which I most likely overlooked the book shipping that week). As the pile of comics beside the bed -- read and unread -- grew, I lost track of exactly which issues I was missing, and even which issues I had actually read. What hits home about this though, is that I didn't seem to care enough to check.
I generally like Letter 44, it's got some fun ideas, and Charles Soule hasn't yet disappointed me with his writing (though I should state that most of the books I've read which he wrote were either mini-series or prematurely cancelled)...but for all the intrigue in the story I realized in reading these last three issues that I really don't care at all about the characters...any of them. Perhaps it's just my staccato reading habits with the book and that I've not had a chance to really invest in them, but the longer the series runs the less appealing the characters seem, and the less interested I am in them.
I've been wrestling with Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque's art from the beginning. A website with a free preview of issue one some time ago had many comments from people were complaining about Alburquerque's art, calling it terrible. I just assumed they were reacting to his character designs, which is clearly his style. I don't like harshly criticizing someone's art when it's clearly their style, that doesn't appeal to me not their storytelling aptitude, but I've been finding his figures and their emoting to be overblown and hyper exaggerated to the detriment of the book. His characters aren't badly designed, but they are bad actors, melodramatic to a fault.
Ryan Kelly subs in on art for issue 21, which is a flashback issue delving into the pasts of some of those characters I really don't care about. Kelly adapts his style in small ways to try and match Alburquerque's, and it's almost a seamless transition (Dan Jackson's glossy colours provide even more consistency) save for the fact that Kelly's characters move and react much more naturalistically.
I still have that urge, the "what happens next" urge. Soule does a great job at propulsive storytelling. Issue 23 leaves President Blades with the task of selecting 666 survivors of the destruction of Earth, and clearly former President Bush...err Carroll will make sure he is in that group (or manipulates control of it). Perhaps I'll go digital on this...I don't think I need to keep it around.
|she's the real Sarah Wayne Callies of the piece|