Resident Alien

Resident Alien: An Alien in New York #2 (May 2018)

Resident Alien: An Alien in New York #2This issue of Resident Alien, which actually has Harry getting to New York City and being overwhelmed, is somehow entirely understated. A comic about being overwhelmed keeps it calm, always. Harry brings his friend–and love interest’s father–along with him for initially moral support then protection (it’s not safe for an alien); the friend, Dan, gives Hogan a good perspective on Harry for the reader.

Plus Dan and Harry are cute together.

Meanwhile, an unwelcome guest doctor shows up to take over Harry’s practice for his vacation. Either it’s going to be a subplot for Alien in New York or it’ll be something for the next series. Hogan’s plotting for these books is so chill, it’s hard to guess.

As for Harry’s New York Mystery? Next issue might be some answers. This issue just raises more questions.

The Parkhouse New York City is, no surprise, absolutely gorgeous stuff.

Resident Alien: An Alien in New York #1 (April 2018)

Resident Alien: An Alien in New York #1Resident Alien, not to get too extreme about it, is good for the soul. Writer Peter Hogan’s quiet, careful deliberateness with all the characters–and all the character development–alongside Steve Parkhouse’s gentle, emotive, detailed art? It’s just such a nice comic to read. Before everything else, there’s this professional love of the medium the two creators exercise throughout. It’s a joyful read, regardless of content; always has been.

And An Alien in New York is no different. Doctor Harry has his standard B plot–he’s worried the Men in Black are going to discover him (they sort of have, but he doesn’t know yet)–and now he’s worried he should abandon his established life as a town doctor. There’s some romantic drama (but very gentle) as he and female friend, Asta, carefully orbit each other.

So while he’s thinking about doing a runner from his regular life to instead be an alien on the run, he comes across evidence of an alien in the New York area.

And then the issue’s over. It’s a teaser for the series itself (I’m so glad Dark Horse gave them four issues again for New York). It’d be the perfect time for Hogan to catch up new readers… but no.

One thing about Resident Alien, which is both good and bad–good as a fan, bad as a fan who wants the book to get more readers–is Hogan never bothers with catch-up. This time Harry’s whole crisis gets kicked off because he finds out about the picture of him a child drew–kids can see he’s an alien–and his staff wants to hang it up. The picture’s from last series. The Feds are on to him from last series.

I appreciate the hell out of the book as Hogan and Parkhouse execute it, but I want it to catch on too. Hogan’s not just writing for the trade, he’s writing for the trades as a series.

Who cares. Harry’s back. I’ll worry about it later. Next issue is New York. Steve Parkhouse New York.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Megan Walker and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name 4 (December 2016)

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #4Hogan wraps things up nicely on the series’s mystery. He covers a lot through flashback and tightly constructed exposition, but doesn’t have enough time to deal with the threat to Harry’s medical practice (and existence). Solid Parkhouse art too. The characters, supporting and lead, make Resident Alien, time and again.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Megan Walker and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name 3 (November 2016)

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #3What a lovely issue. Hogan and Parkhouse finally tackle Harry’s origin and do nothing, for the most part, with what should be the A plot. Instead, it’s just Resident Alien offering some payoff for characters its been promising for years. It’s daring in its dedication to itself.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Megan Walker and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name 2 (October 2016)

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #2It’s another outstanding issue of this Resident Alien limited. Some great art from Parkhouse, who particularly excels on the exciting but mundane fire investigation A plot. Harry’s B plot is still unrelated. A superb finish as Hogan brings Harry back into the lead for the hard cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Megan Walker and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name 1 (September 2016)

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1Resident Alien is back. As always, cause for rejoicing, especially with Steve Parkhouse having a great time returning to the characters. He maintains the series’s comfortable feel, but with a visible enthusiasm. As far as the writing goes, Peter Hogan eases the reader back into the adventures of Harry and company. Even the series title–The Man with No Name–goes unanswered this issue; Hogan and Parkhouse know how to set up a limited series.

These series have to read great in trade.

This issue’s highlights include Harry going for a walk with the mayor, who’s running for re-election, the Men in Black tracking down Asta and the local sheriff having a talk with her, then Harry going to the mayor’s poker night. It’s just a mellow book with great dialogue, great characterization and great art.

Even as he’s laying the groundwork for the eventual mystery, Hogan makes sure to work on the characters first. The poker game is one of the issue’s longer, more amusing scenes. Hogan writes the book through Harry’s appreciative, forgiving eyes, even when he’s not in a scene. It’s positive without being unnecessarily idealistic. Bad things can still happen, of course. And the issue ends on a fairly ominous hard cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Megan Walker and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery 3 (July 2015)

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #3Hogan has such a wonderful pace with Resident Alien. This issue is a resolution to the mystery–or explanation of it–but it’s not exciting. It’s just Harry sitting around, hearing what’s happened, trying to figure out what he’s going to do.

Resident Alien is incredibly gentle but never too much. Parkhouse’s art has an edge to it and Hogan’s writing relies on that edge. Is what’s brewing under the surface of small town Patience, USA evil? No. It’s humanity. And who better to experience that humanity than the reader (through alien Harry).

The issue has a handful of surprises, some meant to entice the reader back for the next mystery, others just to add texture to the series. Even with the limitations (three issues, having to have the big mystery draw for each limited series), Hogan and Parkhouse do quite a bit with the book.

It’s unassumingly ambitious stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Roxy Polk and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery 2 (June 2015)

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #2It’s another mellow issue of Resident Alien. I wish it were a weekly, just with a scene or two. This issue has Harry investigating (of course) and getting rid of a problem employee. There’s practically more drama in the employee’s going away party than in the investigation. It’s certainly livelier.

Most of Harry’s investigating is in the form of a pulp non-fiction confession. There’s flashback art and Parkhouse does a rather good job with it. One forgets, when he’s setting stories amid the calm of Harry’s town, he’s so capable of doing intense suspense. There’s some really good art this issue. And not just on that suspense–the gentle hard cliffhanger has some great art too.

With only one more issue of Sam Hain–the third Resident Alien series–one has to wonder if Hogan has a plan for the series. Then one has to wonder if it matters.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Roxy Polk and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery 1 (May 2015)

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #1Harry the Resident Alien is back with a swinging adventure called The Sam Hain Mystery. Swinging in the sixties sense. And not really. The story’s again set in Harry’s small town, amid all the small town secrets.

Writer Peter Hogan gives Harry a little mystery to solve, one he thinks he can wrap up on lunch–Resident Alien, for those (unfortunately) unaware, is often a genial mystery book–and it turns out to be a bigger mystery and one connected to some of Harry’s other developing interests.

Since Resident Alien is on its third series, Hogan’s got to greet new and returning readers, probably more towards the latter. He does a good job with it; the interactions with the supporting cast are amusing enough to interest new readers while still reminding returning ones why they enjoy the comic.

And Steve Parkhouse’s art is fantastic from page one. Some great stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Roxy Polk and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery 0 (April 2015)

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #0Even though this issue is Sam Hain Mystery zero, most of the comic is spent on Harry the Alien’s backstory. How did he change from duplicated bills to bills he could use without raising suspicion. Why did he even come to Earth in the first place. Is he believable as a town doctor.

Okay, that last one takes place in what seems to be the present–writer Peter Hogan assumes everyone is well-versed in Harry and Resident Alien; this issue occasionally has boxes explaining the time period, but there either aren’t enough of them or it just doesn’t work. The comic needs fades, fading in, fading out; Hogan’s jumping all over the place.

He doesn’t just jump around Harry, he jumps around Asta too, which is simultaneously cool (she’s a good character) and not enough (she only gets a few pages to herself).

It’s undeniably pleasant, its problems forgivable.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Roxy Polk and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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