Resident Alien Volume 1: Welcome to Earth! by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse follows an alien dude who gets stranded on Earth and has to find a way to survive and blend in with humans until he can be rescued (if he can be rescued). He’s laying low in the small town of Patience when the town’s only doctor dies. Forced to fill the spot as the new go-to doc in town, “Dr Harry” gets immediately tugged into a local murder mystery where he hopes he can solve the crime before anyone can finagle out his true identity.
I’ve seen promos for the new televisions series adaptation of this comic going around on the internet. Intrigued by the premise (I’m a sucker for both medical shows and anything to do with aliens), I decided to check out the first volume of this graphic novel series for some background before beginning the new TV show. While I’m not entirely sure what I expected from it, what I received was a delightful comic version of a cosy mystery with a sci-fi twist! It was entertaining enough to make me want to read more when I get the opportunity.
Some of my favourite parts of Resident Alien include the ease of which it was to read it. I delight in cosy mysteries because I get a decent story out of it without having to invest much in return. That is the vibe that I got from this volume.
Dr Harry is in interesting guy. We, the reader, get to see him in his full natural glory, while the people around him are tricked into seeing a normal human guy, (I’m assuming) or in some cases for folx with supernatural intuitions, an indiscriminate blur where the details should be. His anxiety of being sniffed out is a trait that felt very human and in that sense it makes Harry a character that readers can empathise with. We all wear some kind of mask or fake persona that protects us from being vulnerable to the rest of the world. Harry’s secrets are quite akin to that.
Since he has spent so much of his Earthly life in hiding, Harry’s also bored out of his mind. So, while he struggles with his anxious intermingling with the locals of Patience, he also gets a great kick and peculiar feeling of joy out of trying to unravel the enigma of these murders. He has special empathetic instincts of his own that assist him in figuring out if a person is lying or not and he uses this to great effect in his investigative shenanigans. Because of his skills, the case was solved rather effortlessly. That’s where the cosy mystery vibes come into play with more apparentness.
The artwork reminded me of old school, classic American comics. We have neat panels that utilise standard bright colours that aren’t very experimental. The text blocks and sound effects fonts, what few there were, further complemented this traditional art style. I felt like I had picked up something from the sixties or seventies. It incites a nice sense of nostalgia while reading.
Overall, Resident Alien was a pleasant, low-maintenance reading experience and I recommend it for comic readers that are in searching of a lighter story to help break up some of the more plot-heavier serials out there, or if one is merely in the market for a quick whetting of a graphic serial appetite. It’s also not too explicit with regard to the violence (there are blood splatters, but not much gore at all) and the cursing is censored, which adds to the generic audience aura of the whole gig. So, if you’re not a reader of mature and darker adult-natured materials, this would be a great pick for you!
Publication Date: March 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse Books (ISBN: 9781616550172)
Genre: Comics, Science-Fiction, Mystery
Series: Resident Alien
Page Count: 104
Content Warnings: Death. Blood. Mild cursing (censored).
GoodReads: Resident Alien Volume 1; Welcome to Earth by Hogan & Parkhouse