I cannot praise this comic book enough and I want you to buy it and support these creators, but only if you love or even only like murder mysteries and stories about benign aliens who have fallen to earth and are await rescue while having a deep impact on the people around them, a la The Man Who Fell to Earth or Starman. Maybe even if you don't like those sorts of stories you'll enjoy Resident Alien, published by Dark Horse Comics.
I'd stopped buying new comics regularly during summer of 2010 and only recently decided to buy three or four comics a month at a mere $9-14 total. A brief plot synopsis and the cover and skimming the interior of Resident Alien 0 fascinated me enough to buy it for $3.50 (I usually won't pay more than $2.99 out of disgust at Marvel and DC) and it sat in a short box for two months as I watched issue 1 come out and then 2 and I thought to myself, Let me read issue 0 before it's too late to get these later issues. I am so glad I read the zero issue, which collects three chapters from Dark Horse Presents and drew me into the seemingly simple world created by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, veterans of comics such as England's 2000 AD.
Our protagonist, who goes by the moniker of a an MD, Dr. Harry Vanderspiegel, is a humanoid alien who has seemingly limited telepathic powers that allow him the ability to cloud his appearance to those around him, thereby appearing human. Flipping through the comic before buying it, I'd thought everyone knew he was an alien, which created an even more fascinating world to me, yet when I learned the truth, I wasn't disappointed because everything in this comic works so far in issues 0-2.
Whether through these powers or his incredibly powers of observation, he's able to read the truth and feelings in the people around him. His chosen last name is Vanderspeigel, which roughly translates into "of the looking glass," giving readers a chance to see ourselves through the eyes of this otherworldly visitor as he tried to figure out who murdered the town doctor. About one in a million humans have the ability to see through his disguise, so with living in a small mountain town, what are the odds of meeting someone with that ability?
When you live in the Pacific Northwest you're bound to live near people
of indigenous origins and whether Hogan is knowledgeable about First Nations folklore or merely using that "Indian" trope of "greater than normal abilities," one of the magazine's supporting cast sees Dr. Vanderspiegel's face as a blur, for now.
When the town's only general practitioner us murdered, our protagonist, who'd lived as a recluse on a lake in the woods for three years reluctantly fills the doctor's role at the request of the slick-tongued mayor (think Jaws). Our resident alien is absolutely fascinated by humans and the murder mystery he's taken upon himself to solve as a serial killer may be loose and the mayor and chief of police are definitely hiding something, yet he can't seem to pick up on this.
The artwork and coloring contribute wonderfully to the telling of this tale and the pacing is well done, easing readers into this world and helping us like the protagonist even more than the revelation of his thoughts and actions alone. Good pacing like this is difficult to find.
Flashbacks show men in black locating Harry's crashed ship, so will they be a part of the stunning conclusion to this series or are they dealt with in more flashback pages? I'm so curious to find out and how the night nurse will react when her vision finally clears and she sees this visitor for who he truly is, as if his appearance is more important than his actions and reason for being.
I absolutely cannot wait for the third issue and conclusion to this series and pray it will not disappoint! Ask your local comics retailer to ask Diamond Comics Distributor for these awesome comics and reserve your copy of the final act!
I'd like to thank the inimitable Comic Book Database for cover images for 0-2 and the Dark Horse Comics website for the issue 3 cover images.