Resident Alien: The Man With No Name #1
Written by Peter Hogan
Art by Steve Parkhouse
Published by Dark Horse
This is a new take on murder/mystery series presented by the writer from 2000 AD. This story follows an alien hiding in plain sight in a small town where people see him as the local doctor. However, a photographer catches him on camera and now it looks like agents are ready to visit the small town that the alien has called home. Meanwhile, the town has its own problems. A mysterious smell plagues the streets and an arsonist is on its way.
The story begins with agents talking about how they’ll cover up the photo capturing this alien. They list out clever cover-up stories like a film star wandering off with makeup still on or a new mascot for a cereal brand. The setting then shifts to the titular alien meeting up with the mayor where they take a detour to find out the strange smell that the townies are complaining about.
As the first volume in this miniseries, this serves as an introduction to all the characters. The minor characters are well defined to help illustrate what a modern small town looks like. The local mayor creates the human connection for the alien, a man of few words, as the reader follows them on the streets. The agents of the story are interesting. Their banter is fun to follow even though it started a little too abruptly for me.
The art serves its job as a fantastic storyteller too. Parkhouse creates realistic portrayals of humans and the titular alien with only a color difference while fake aliens get extra stereotypical details to make them stick out against the real world beings. I like this touch as, by following the stereotypes, the artist helps the reader fill in blanks so the writer doesn’t have to explain everything. This “show, don’t tell” makes for great comic writing, in my opinion. I like that each element comes together to tell the story. The setting itself was great. Parkhouse drew enough to follow, but the artist clearly brings the focus solely on the characters and their interaction with each other by making some panels colorless save for the person talking.
With great dialog and plot buildup, the gritty, noir miniseries is off to a great start. There was also a little fun in the story to make for an entertaining read. Like any good mystery, you need the introduction and the build-up before the crime and the investigation. As this is a miniseries, it’s a solid start.
4 Aliens out of 5