Even with a fill-in artist (Ryan Kelly), Soule sticks to the Letter 44 standards. It’s a flashback issue, so he does a couple characters. It’s Letter 44 so there’s a lame cliffhanger.
The series didn’t always have lame cliffhangers. It used to have characters. When it had characters, those cliffhangers worked. Though I don’t think this one would work regardless. It’s some painfully obvious lionizing of one of the characters. Of course, this character doesn’t appear in his own flashback–I’m not hiding the name, I just can’t remember it–until those last few, bad pages. Otherwise, it’s good. The whole issue’s pretty good.
Kelly’s art matches the book’s unfortunate, cartoonish style, but Kelly’s got his composition and depth figured out. There are detail problems, but no visual flow ones.
Besides the lionized guy, the other flashback is the mission astronomer. How did he get on the mission and so on. It’s interesting to compare to the army guy’s flashback because the latter is all about the recruiter, not the recruited. It’s a nice contrast and Soule takes them both seriously.
Clearly, Soule cares about Letter 44, which is what always makes it so frustrating when it never manages to boil above the mediocre level anymore.
Writer, Charles Soule; artist, Ryan Kelly; colorist, Dan Jackson; letterer, Crank!; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.