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Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde #2 – Review

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 9.02.03 PM

With a dead blonde sitting in the morgue back home, our stranded alien decides to take a road trip to see if he can find the killer. But instead, he just finds trouble.

Here’s the word from Dark Horse:

Dr. Harry is a friendly, small-town doctor who’s really a stranded alien hiding among us. Trying to help one of his only human friends beat a murder rap, Harry and Nurse Asta spend time in Seattle gathering information—possibly putting Harry right in the crosshairs of the federal agents on his trail!

In many ways Resident Alien is a reshuffling of the various components that made the X-Files popular. We have an alien, we have Feds, and we have a pretty standard police procedural holding it all together. The twist, of course, is that we’re rooting for the alien — and that the mystery he’s grappling with isn’t supernatural. At least not yet. Issue #2 of Resident Alien reads very much like a cop drama; Dr. Harry spend a good portion of the issue interviewing the suicide blonde’s ancient lovers, uncovering sordid bits of gossip, and stumbling deeper into whatever underlying conspiracy got this poor girl killed in the first place. But with issue #2 writer Peter Hogan really misses an opportunity to more deeply enmesh Dr. Harry’s galactic origins with his new life as a detective — yes, Dr. Harry gets “psychic” glimpses of which witnesses to talk to, but not much more. Really, Dr. Harry doesn’t wield any additional alien powers that help him solve mysteries any better than you or me. Which is fine (if this were just a cop drama), but given the premise we actually want more alien stuff. Or we want a better cop drama — one that actually evolves past the pretty-dead-girl-with-a-secret-life trope that we know so well.

Steve Parkhouse’s art is a great compliment to this title. He has a special talent for drawing faces; many of his characters are oozing with personality and Parkhouse can do a lot with a raised eyebrow or downcast gaze. Ironically, his real challenge is Dr. Harry, whose signature look is bland and nonplussed. It’s hard to give someone personality when they’re bald, purple, and have no pupils, but Parkhouse tries his best. But still, Dr. Harry comes off as the most flat of all Parkhouse’s characters.

It’s too bad Hogan has effectively cleaved the murder mystery from the alien story in this first arc of Resident Alien. Together, these two elements might have offered a compelling new take on two very familiar narratives. But separated, neither is developed enough to stand on their own.

3/5

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