The elusive Dr. Vanderspeigle is progressively becoming a crucial town figure in Resident Alien #1, which is incidentally not a debut, but a continuation. As it says at the very beginning of Issue #1, in order to fully get the gist of what’s happened, one should read the true debut, Issue #0, first. That said, you can still understand what’s going on from issue #1. Creators Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, who have already collected critical acclaim for impressive work on comics, such as “Tom Strong” (Hogan) and “Doctor Who” (Parkhouse), have created a highly engaging science fiction story about a stranded alien recluse who starts to live amongst us humans.
WRITTEN BY: Peter Hogan
ART BY: Steve Parkhouse
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
So far in the series, we’ve learned that a mysterious alien inadvertently landed on Earth after crashing his spaceship, thus destroying it. Indefinitely marooned, he decides to live out the rest of his days in isolation, disguised as the “semi-retired” Dr. Vanderspeigle. However, one day, he is forced to emerge from his hermit life when the police knock on his door, asking him to examine the body of the town’s actual (now former) medical practitioner. From there, the Doc is propelled into a full-blown murder investigation, but he may have also found a way back to where he came from.
This issue of “Resident Alien” really demonstrates the uniqueness of the comic. Peter Hogan combines the genres of science fiction and mystery immaculately, keeping all of the classic elements from both genres intact while maintaining a healthy pace. I was very surprised at the seriousness of the plot; there was a lot less humor than I expected, which I must stress, does not take away from the story. If anything, it adds to it, and gives it a little something different, as most “alien stranded on earth” stories, even outside of the realm of comics, emphasize humor.
I think the funniest part of this comic is that the alien can “disguise” himself, so nobody seems to notice that this guy looks really f*cking strange. Steve Parkhouse uses a classic style of illustration, which works well with the story, as it’s a combination of long-standing genres. The “new-school” touches are subtle, but effective in keeping up with his peers, while still retaining some of the timeless design that has kept comics popular for so long.
“Resident Alien” is off to a solid start. This story could go in a few different directions, so I’m excited to see where our otherworldly Doc is going to end up. Dark Horse should be able to provide some insight with the publication of the next issue, out June 27th.
– Reviewed by: Kaity McAllister