ADVANCE REVIEW! Resident Alien #0 will go on sale Wednesday, April 18, 2012.
The legendary Leo Tolstoy once proclaimed that great literature is one of the two types: a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town. Resident Alien is a perfect illustration of the latter.
Originally printed in issues of Dark Horse Presents last year, this high-concept offering from veterans Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse finds an enthralling balance between familiar and strange. Our protagonist is marooned alien "Harry Vanderspiegle," a peaceful and curious individual living on the outskirts of Patience, USA. Vanderspiegle generally keeps to himself, but that comes to an end when the town doctor is savagely murdered and the stranded extraterrestrial is called in as a replacement.
Hogan does not shy away from the oddball, hesitant hero, allowing him to narrate and reveal his reactions present-tense. Vanderspiegle's fear of police and excitement to examine a corpse carry genuine emotional weight through this device. The alien is a guarded narrator, not revealing too much of his backstory or abilities, but there is enough material by issue's end to suffice.
The world of Patience is majestic as depicted by Steve Parkhouse. He effortlessly blends the minor sci-fi elements over the backdrop of a innocent American town. Parkhouse utilizes space very well, and does not over render when the scene doesn't call for it. The simple application of coloring and tone is the key factor in tying the book together. Parkhouse is flat out spectacular, and his presence is undeniable.
Resident Alien is something to pay attention to. Vanderspiegle is a captivating character, and his presence in the throng of a murder mystery is another success of the current trend of genre mash-up. Hogan and Parkhouse have many pages of work in their bursting portfolios, and this issue shows the bevy of experience in delivering a tight and engaging comic book.
The ultimate stranger, the classic town, Resident Alien takes an old premise a step further and lays the groundwork for a potentially great piece of literature.
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics reader and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, devotee of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation. Check out his original, ongoing webcomic And Then There Were Zombies and follow his subpar tweeting at @jamilscalese.