Last year in “Dark Horse Presents” #4-6, we had three chapters of “Resident Alien” by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, a fun story about a shipwrecked alien hiding as a retired doctor in a small American town. It was fun from the very first chapter and clearly Dark Horse felt so too; they reprinted those three chapters as “Resident Alien” #0 last month, and now the story continues as a three-issue mini-series as “Harry” tries to solve the murder of the local doctor.
If you’ve never read “Resident Alien” before, it’s a fun concept. Harry has low-grade telepathic powers; enough to disguise his clearly alien features from the locals, and to also sense the emotions of those around him. As a result you’d think it would be easy for Harry to figure out who killed the doctor, but if anything it’s becoming much more difficult as he’s able to rule out the obvious suspects, causing him to continue searching for the real killer. Hogan also gives Harry a bit of a misanthrope/loner personality; he’s reluctantly recruited to be the town’s temporary doctor until a replacement arrives and all Harry can concentrate on is getting out of that position and back to his quiet, peaceful life.
Despite being an issue #1 this is essentially the second chapter of a four-part mystery, which means there are no big revelations. The first section had given us the basic set-up, this issue adds more clues and information but without giving us any obvious leads. Hogan has, so far, paced out “Resident Alien” well and I feel like it’s on track to continue in that direction.
Parkhouse’s art is looking nice, here; I’ve always appreciated that he’s able to jump from realistic to fantastic without batting an eye. The local townspeople look like, well, local townspeople. There’s a nice mixture of body types and faces, and the backgrounds make the town of Patience an attractive place to be stranded in. Harry’s double-pupil eyes, pointed ears, and hairless body makes him just different enough on a visual level that he stands out instantly on a page; there’s a certain humor in seeing the alien in a blue and white checked button down shirt next to the sheriff, but it also is a reminder that Harry’s both “one of them” and “not of them” at the same time. Parkhouse handles the coloring and letters as well, and the end result are cohesive, attractive pages.
I’m thrilled to finally see the return of “Resident Alien.” Those three chapters may have originally run back in the fall, but it says a lot that I’ve been looking forward to its return since then. Because of its position in the story it’s not the flashiest of comics, but it’s solid entertainment, and I’m definitely going to read the remaining two issues. All in all, good stuff.