Hello, folks. I spent most of the day I’m writing this driving home from a short trip out of town, so I’m going to cheat and tell you about something I’ve read before but never get to discuss: the delightful Resident Alien.
Harry is a quiet man who keeps to himself. He lives on the outskirts of the small, Pacific Northwest town of Patience. He lives alone. He fishes. He has told his neighbors that he is a doctor, performing independent research. Everyone leaves him alone, until Patience’s only doctor turns up dead. It falls to Harry to help the police with their investigation and to help the town by filling in for the dead doctor until the mayor can bring in a replacement.
Also, Harry is a space alien.
Despite wanting to fly under the radar and avoid detection, Harry finds that he enjoys helping his fellow townsfolk. And between his fondness for detective movies and low-level empathy abilities, he gets it in his head that he might be able to solve the old doctor’s murder. Watching his curiosity about and desire to help his neighbors get the better of him is endearing. Peter Hogan writes in his foreword that he wanted to tell a story about an alien who isn’t invading or infiltrating. Just one who is stuck and trying to blend in, lay low, and help the people around him. This book is exactly that.
Visually, Resident Alien is calm. It’s as serene a book to look at the scenic town it takes place in would be in the real world. Parkhouse’s lines are almost the minimum necessary, save for some sketchy shadow effects. He lets his colors add texture and his word balloons pull the eye from detail to detail, like a detective examining a crime scene. It’s careful and calculated, and even when big moments in the book happen, the art is composed and measured. Also, the amount of expression and familiarity he gives Harry’s alien, almost bat-like face is tremendous.
I like this book a lot; there are three volumes of Resident Alien out now, with a fourth coming out in single issues this year. I picked it up on the recommendation of one of the employees at my regular comic shop, and now I’m paying it forward. This is a very human book. It’s dramatic without being tense. It’s an easy read, and an enjoyable one. I strongly recommend checking it out.
- Resident Alien: Welcome to Earth! (#0-4)
Writer: Peter Hogan | Artist, Colorist, Letterer: Steve Parkhouse