Review by Jamie McNeil
A sub-plot of Resident Alien is that Harry, an extraterrestrial stranded on Earth, is being tracked by the US Government who may or may not have shot Harry’s spacecraft down in the first place. When a picture surfaces on the internet that could link Harry to his friend Asta, the threat draws closer to Patience. There are other matters to attend to when an elderly drifter dies in a huge warehouse blaze and his cryptic last words are of his daughter. As the last person to speak to the man, Harry feels obliged to investigate with some interesting revelations. In the meantime life goes on in Patience with a mayoral election on the way, love blossoming in unlikely places and Harry finally meets Asta’s father, the mystic shaman Dan Twelvetrees. While Harry feels at home with his friends, can he trust them with the truth about his identity?
It’s difficult to specifly what genre Resident Alien falls into, since it bucks the trends of conventional alien visitor to earth scenarios. The best way to describe Peter Hogan’s script is to call it an interesting hybrid between British TV detective series A Touch of Frost with the small town geniality of Gilmour Girls shot through with the quirkiness of Northern Exposure, The Man with No Name more so than its predecessors. Produced annually, it moves slowly and is easy to engage with, though it will appeal to some people and definitely not to others, although Hogan’s writing is stronger here, with his characters matured and his ideas synthesised. Steve Parkhouse’s art has become less confined to interiors, with the outdoor settings boldly sweeping across pages. The ambience is terrific, heightened by a wide palette of vivid colours, as seen in the sample art. Even his lines seem crisper, his cast imbued with more inherent personality than before.
The Man with No Name has enough to keep you engaged and each novel is capable of standing independently of the others to some degree. Resident Alien is as odd and entertaining as its unique cast, arresting little dramas unfolding around Harry’s own and has won fans like Alan Moore and Jeff Lemire. Can Hogan and Parkhouse keep the charm going for the fifth volume An Alien in New York?