Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review - Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


"Welcome to Hell, Harry...paperwork Hell."

Harry is an alien living on Earth. He's not part of a science experiment and he's not out to take over the world. He's just trying to get home. Along the way though he wants to help and his latest assistance is necessary in Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Peter Hogan and illustrated by Steve Parkhouse.

A stranded alien hides in plain sight, posing as a doctor in Patience, Washington. After he accidentally shows himself to federal investigators who are on his trail, a mysterious arsonist and a stubborn agent arrive in town to heat things up!

Hogan's take on a resident alien is one that blends levity with gravitas through Harry's existence amongst humanity. There's a sense of mystery added to the issue through Hogan's opening as he makes it clear there are those within the government who want to know more about Harry. Hogan lays the issue out pretty clearly to set up a conflict for Harry while at the same time moving Harry towards resolving a conflict in the town itself. The dialogue exchanges give Harry plenty of normal problems to deal with (like the weekly poker game) and Hogan relies on that to add a sense of the benign to the proceedings. It's pretty impressive how normal Hogan makes the entire story feel despite an alien just hanging out with humans.

Relying on a very refined artistic style is Parkhouse. His linework is a little loose and the characters boast appearances that feel like a throwback to newspaper strips. Harry looks remarkably normal in appearance and Parkhouse does a great job of rendering him so that he does blend in well with humanity. There's a lot of detail in the physiques of the characters courtesy of Parkhouse's approach that focuses on the detailing lines and heavy shading. His colors are pretty calm and don't overwhelm the reader in any way. The panels are laid out pretty traditionally which gives the book a sort of hard-nosed detective feel to it.

The Resident Alien series has always sold itself on the notion that an alien hiding in plain sight can be helpful to society and Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 doesn't stray from that formula. He's generally accepted as just another guy, even though it's clear that he has other abilities that make him much different. Hogan writes the character and universe with an attention to the details that makes an alien living among us believable. Parkhouse's illustrations are a great fit for the story and further the idea that Harry can successfully blend in. Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 is a great issue that delves further into Harry's life while also offering some interesting conflicts for him to work through.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 is in stores now.

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