Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s “Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde” #3 wraps up the comic’s second mini-series, as it effortlessly looks ahead to the long-term health of the series as a whole. The murder mystery plot is brought to a fairly definitive close, but both character and over-arching story moments are advanced, giving a good opening for more “Resident Alien” stories down the line.
There are a lot of different elements in “Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde” #3 that work quite well. Harry as an alien pretending to be a human doctor is a fun character, the reluctant sleuth who’s drawn into the cases in an effort to protect friends. What’s nice is that he displays strong empathy for those involved; it would be easy to have him come across completely cold and groaning about the attempts to help, but instead his gruff demeanor is getting slowly chipped away. His attempts to get the record straight for Karen are admirable, especially for someone who could have walked away at that point.
I also like the relationship development between Harry and Asta. It’s not as much on display this issue because of everything else that’s going on, but Asta’s attempts to help out Harry and protect him are enjoyable, and she makes a good Watson to his Holmes. Then again, that’s a lot of what makes the comic so good; how good Harry is with the people from his town. Ironically, the only part of the story that isn’t quite as strong is the solution to Shannon’s death. It feels a little too simple and pat, and distinctly less dramatic. To be fair, I suspect that’s how a lot of death investigations actually end up — they can’t all be “Murder She Wrote” or “CSI” — but in terms of a dramatic punch it’s not quite there.
Parkhouse’s art is strong, too. I love the homey look of his characters; everyone looks like someone that you’d actually see on the street, not a glamorous fashion model. People are still attractive, but in a realistic, “I’d like to meet them” manner. The art tells Hogan’s story well, and Parkhouse’s choice of muted colors for the flashbacks are a good visual cue to let us know when we’re stepping into the past without any need for extra caption boxes or too much hand-holding. I’m also still loving, eight issues later, how Harry’s eyes each have two pupils instead of one. It’s a small detail but it’s amazing how it takes that extra second to register, and when it does how distinctly different and alien he suddenly becomes.
With a good setup for future stories here — poor Harry’s life is about to get a lot more difficult — “Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde” #3 achieves all of its goals quite nicely. While I wouldn’t recommend one starting “Resident Alien” with the last issue of a mini-series, with “Resident Alien: Welcome to Earth!” in a collected format already, I would give a big thumbs up to picking it up, as well as “Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde” #0-3 to follow on. This is a charming and attractive comic, and I’d bet that if you try this comic, you’ll fall in love with it.