This book is very unusual which makes it difficult to sell you on why you should read it. It has two major story elements at work and so it’s very strange to see them working together at the same time. The first is a murder mystery, but then there is the overall element of the main character who is an Alien from another planet. Which is more interesting? Which is easier to explain? Both and neither are the correct answers. Issue one picks up where the three-part story from Dark Horse Comics Presents left off; there was also a zero issue which collected the DHP run and that’s the true beginning of the story. This issue picks up with our Alien that goes by the name of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle standing with a gun pointed at him. He’s filling in as the town Doctor while a replacement is found for the previous Doctor… who was murdered. The thing of course is that Harry isn’t really a Doctor, but he knows our medicine. The first thought you’ll probably have is why no one acknowledges the fact that he’s an Alien and that’s because he’s altering everyone’s mind to see him in human form. It’s very cool because as the reader we get to see him in his normal form wearing human clothes just walking around, but never as a human.
After the Doc talks the night Nurse down from shooting him, they settle in so he can make her some tea. Doc Harry suspects that there is more going on to the murder of the previous Doctor and he’s been feeling out what type of man he was. Meanwhile, the towns Sheriff takes a visit to the local drug dealer named Hardcore to make a deal with him. Some drugs went missing from the late Doctor’s office and the Sheriff wants Hardcore to keep an eye out for anyone selling or using them.
The story is very slow-moving, but it’s methodical in its execution. Because of the fact that the main character is an Alien in hiding there is always this dreaded sense of discovery looming over all of his actions. He’s bad in groups and it’s mentioned twice in this comic which could be foreshadowing problems that will arise in the future. To be honest, nothing really happens in this issue; yet it I couldn’t put it down. The writing has a quirkiness to it that keeps you interested in the most mundane of dialog exchanges.
Art wise the book is very strong, but without the dialog this would probably be one confusing book. The character designs are definitely the strongest aspect of the artwork; the different individuals have realistic looks and clothing styles that give the town the required “small town” feel for the story. The Sheriff in particular had a great look with facial expressions that played to his demeanor.
Resident Alien has shown that it’s definitely capable of making the shift from DHP to its own series. It’s good to see the creative team have enough room to stretch their legs and compile an entire issue rather than focusing on a third and trying to create interesting story beats for readers. This book is definitely a strange one, but it’s strange in all the right ways.
Writer: Peter Hogan
Artist: Steve Parkhouse
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 5/23/12 (Digital and Print)