Thursday, February 28, 2013

Resident Alien, The Best Undercover Extra-Terrestrial Murder Mystery Comic, Reviewed

Resident Alien: Welcome to Earth
by Peter Hogan & Steve Parkhouse
Dark Horse, 2013
Dr. Harry Vanderspiegle came to the small town of Patience, U.S.A., lost a bit far from home. He lives in a quiet cabin on a lake, generally sticking to himself. One day the police arrive at his door - there's been a murder, and could Dr. Harry help out by looking at the body? "But... Why ask me? Sure your own doctor..." "Well, that's our problem in a nutshell, doc. See, we only had one doctor in town, and he's the victim."

Dr. Harry - that's not his real name, of course - reluctantly agrees to aid the police in their investigation. But Harry is hiding a secret, a secret that could be blown by dealing so closely with the authorities in this middle-of-nowhere town, Harry is an alien from another planet.

Resident Alien, Volume 1: Welcome to Earth by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse is a fascinating and unique murder mystery. Harry, who is nothing more than your average normal guy who wants nothing more than to be left alone, gets roped not only into the investigation, but into being the towns new practicing doctor. He is decidedly alien in appearance, but with some telepathic effort he is able to disguise himself - but any interaction puts him at risk. The residents of Patience obviously don't know there is a alien in their midst, but the U.S. government knows something crash landed three years ago and they are looking for him.

Harry agrees to help out with the investigation, in part because to refuse would arouse suspicion, and in part because the idea of solving a murder is an interesting one - who wouldn't be curious about helping to solve a crime? But as he digs deeper into a web of drugs, death and deceit, he puts his identity and his very life at risk. Resident Alien is an utterly fascinating play between murder mystery and an alien far from home looking to protect himself and the people of his temporary life. How much of himself is he willing to give to these people who would hunt him down if they knew his secret? And how far is he willing to go to stop a murderer?

Presented with easy and accessible art from Parkhouse and simple yet engaging storytelling from Hogan, Resident Alien is a superb read now in trade paperback from Dark Horse.

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