The Comic: Letter 44, written by Charles Soule, with art by Alberto Albuquerque.
What it’s about: Stephen Blades (who is very obviously a stand-in for Barack Obama) ran his presidential campaign on promises to end America’s wars abroad, and to restore the economy. On his first day in office he reads the letter left to him by previous president, President Carol (who is obviously George W. Bush). The letter congratulates President Blades and confides in him a secret: an alien craft has been observing Earth from the asteroid belt for years. The unnecessary seeming wars? They are really an effort to have an army full of veterans and money to spend on researching new weapons for when the aliens come. Now, President Blades needs to figure out if there is a way to keep this secret, prepare for a possible invasion and keep any of his campaign promises.
Why you should read it: Alien invasion stories almost always take a break from reality. Someone always acts like an idiot in order to bring about the big set-piece battle. This is not only the smartest alien invasion story I’ve ever read, it’s one of the smartest political stories I’ve ever read. Those big moments? Sometimes they arrive, sometimes not, because the characters are smart, and their motivations make sense. This comic is much smarter than it has any right to be.
Also, did you know: Charles Soule not only writes this comic, not only writes comics for virtually every major and minor publisher- that’s only his night job! By day, Soule is a full time practicing attorney. The fact that he writes more comics than most comic creators would have been enough, but his full time day job earns Mr. Soule the title of the hardest working guy in comics!