When entertaining the idea of aliens living among humanity, usually they are considered a threat. Manipulating human evolution, secretly controlling the government, or planning an Earth-wide attack are the usual motivations for those pesky aliens. But would you ever consider that maybe they would like to just live here in relative peace? Resident Alien takes a look at the life of an alien living among us, who gets pulled into a murder-mystery in the quiet little town of Patience.
Writer: Peter Hogan
Artist: Steve Parkhouse
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
The doctor is in – and he’s an alien! This special #0 issue collects Resident Alien: Welcome to Earth! chapters 1-3, originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents #4 through #6, published in 2011. Having survived a crash landing on Earth, our alien has taken up residence just outside the little town of Patience for three years. Living in relative anonymity, “Dr. Vanderspeigle” the Dutch physician is being called into duty after a mysterious death occurs.
The concept for Resident Alien is a pretty fun one. It has the potential to include many different angles ranging from mystery, horror, and science-fiction, as well as a range of human emotion. Our alien, Dr. Vanderspeigle, has some pretty unique abilities that let him blend in with humans, as well as some training from his home world regarding how to deal with humans. It’s fun to see a little switch up where the alien is nervous to be living among us, whereas usually we are nervous to have them in our midst.
Writer Peter Hogan (Tom Strong) has a good grasp on the direction he wants to take this book. He uses some pretty archetypical characters to surround his alien, from the sneaky mayor to the country bumpkin sheriff. This is not a bad thing by any means, because it is easy to relate to these characters, whereas our main character, the good doctor, is very *ahem* alien. Hogan sets up a nice little murder-mystery to drive this story forward, which is made all that much better by the deeply complicated Dr. Vanderspeigle. There is a big mystery as to how/why the doctor got to Earth and set up shop here, and the story could have used a touch more information in that regard. Also, it took a long time for Hogan to explain whether the alien was living a Clark Kent/Superman existence, or if he did indeed have powers to mask his alien looks. This felt kind of odd until it was explained.
The art for Resident Alien was so very fitting. Steve Parkhouse (The Bojeffries Saga) does a great job with setting the tone for the story. His landscape work really gives that small town feeling, which is necessary when dealing with this big fish in a little pond scenario. Parkhouse puts the right amount of detail in panels where it is necessary, and lets the rest of the scene just flow off of the characters. The poses and movement of the characters feels very natural, and there were very few awkward poses, if any at all. The only complaint is that sometimes the story felt a bit too dark. Shadows and black outlines were a nice touch early in the story, but it felt as though it should have lightened up later, especially when the doctor was becoming a bit more comfortable among humans.
Resident Alien #0 was a lot of fun, and is a great precursor for the coming four issue mini-series. Although it feels like this could have the potential for an ongoing, the four issues also allow for a story with much more impact. Writer Peter Hogan has a great handle on the characters, and seems like he knows exactly where he wants this story to go, despite his off timing for the reveal of a few important story elements. Artist Steve Parkhouse handles the art duties masterfully, adding much in the way of the tone and flow of the story. Resident Alien has all the makings for a fun series, and if you want a fresh take on the “alien among us,” this is the book to see.