Oddly entertaining, “Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde” #1 basks in its weirdness and makes no apologies whatsoever. Enter a world where men in black agents, crash-landed extraterrestrials, and corrupt politicians are all prime suspects in a murder mystery. If you haven’t read the “Resident Alien” series, this is certainly the right place to start.
WRITTEN BY: Peter Hogan
ART BY: Steve Parkhouse
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: September 11th, 2013
After his spaceship unexpectedly crashed into Earth, a stranded alien attempts to make a new life for himself. While living in the small and quiet town of Patience, the abandoned creature assumes the identity of presumed missing Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle. With his real identity known only by a few, Harry has to masquerade as the doctor while secret government agents are searching for him. Harry now needs to keep his time occupied as his waits for his brethren to pick him up. Unintentionally throwing himself into danger, Harry has to solve the case of a suicide that is actually a murder.
Writer Peter Hogan has a clever way of mixing the plotline up with genre elements. At first, you think this is about a manhunt for a lost extraterrestrial. Then, the story turns around and becomes a police procedural as Harry attempts to solve the mysterious case. Part Sherlock Holmes mystery, Harry is intelligent and resourceful as he studies the crime scene. Harry even walks around with a limp and uses a cane like Dr. Gregory House. Harry makes his deductions very quickly with the evidence to support his accusations.
In an interesting note, Harry is the one who looks at humans as aliens, not the other way around. Because everything seems so weird to Harry, Hogan is able to fill the narrative with quirky characters. In one particular scene, Harry isn’t trying to make enemies with humanity, but actually joining in on the humor with his companions. Because of the dynamic relationship between Harry and Asta, you’re rooting for them as their investigation takes an unexpected twist.
What I really like is how artist Steve Parkhouse slowly builds up the odd imagery. In the opening pages, Harry and the Sheriff discover the dead woman in the seedy motel room. We have seen these investigations take place in many TV shows, such as the “CSI” series and “The Killing.” But what makes this typical scene seem so weird is Harry. You have an alien, with his beady eyes and pointy ears, standing in the middle of the crime scene. Notice how Parkhouse paces out the panels, illustrating Harry’s physical movements as he has to sit down because his leg is hurting.
Readers get a glimpse of the social class living in Patience. As Harry and the Sheriff investigate the seedy part of town, you have the working class living in these trashy trailer parks. Afterwards, the investigation leads Harry and the Sheriff to the wealthy part of town. With the secret agents, Parkhouse continues the shadowy look with a heavily fortified room and hi-tech gadgets. I’m interested in seeing what Parkhouse does as the scenery changes to Seattle in the next issue.
A sci-fi murder mystery, “Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde” #1 engages its readers with a supporting cast of quirky characters and a weird-looking protagonist. Geared for newcomers, this installment is a quick introduction to the inhabitants of Patience, USA.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis