Resident Alien, Omnibus Volume 1 by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse (graphic novel review).

January 21, 2021 | By | Reply More

Despite the introduction to ‘Resident Alien Omnibus Volume 1’, saying that not all aliens visiting the Earth are invaders, I think this book series creators, writer Peter Hogan and artist Steve Parkhouse, forget the likes of the films ‘E.T. – The Extra- Terrestrial’ and ‘Starman’ who just want to get their people to rescue them. The main difference with ‘Resident Alien’ is he hasn’t the means to do this and is just marooned on our planet. He has minor psionic abilities and can make most people think he looks human but is aware that some people might see him as he really is, not aware a pair of local Native Americans and children can.

Oh, he can’t fool cameras, although you would think the odd excursion into cities in earlier years and such, surveillance cameras would have revealed his presence. There is a minor problem with this. As with many stories, you can’t show everyone and have to spot specific examples. Over the three stories and where we see something of his early life on Earth, he must have walked past a lot of children and they must have seen his true appearance. A bald humanoid with pointed ears and a grey-green skin with odd eyes doesn’t look too odd and as he often wears a cap, mostly concealed.

When the nearby doctor in the town of Patience is dead by apparent suicide, he’s now the odd isolated doctor, Harry Vanderspeigle, is visited by the police to step in temporarily as medic. I suspect boredom from his isolation contributed to him stepping up to the task rather than risk saying no. His senses reveal that the police are wrong and that it is murder and proceeds to work out who did it like a jigsaw puzzle, compounded when another earlier murder has similar appearances.

This first volume of ‘Resident Alien’ consists of three about 100 page stories. The real problem is Peter Hogan doesn’t come across as a particularly good mystery writer. We see everything from the alien pov and there really are no clues so the reader can work out who the murderer is.

We only see how Vanderspeigle looks to other people in a couple pages in the opening story and not at all how his face appears fuzzy to Asta Twelvetrees which really should have been covered. Most of the time, we just see him as he normally is which is a missed opportunity.

In many respects, the stories are kind of like those you might watch on afternoon TV, relying heavily on character than mystery. There are elements of a government agency looking for Vanderspeigle, mostly because of apparent forgery and a photograph. Vanderspeigle, being very honest, even when gambling, does return the original money he stole to get started so tying up loose ends as he goes.

The biggest fallacy is the stories could work just as well if Vanderspeigle was human as his alien-ness doesn’t really contribute much to the stories which is a shame really.

I can understand why it got picked up for a TV series and looking it up, Vanderspeigle does look more alien and the original creators said they understood some changes had to be made between the two but it’ll be interesting to see whether or not or how the murders will be improved upon.

GF Willmetts

January 2021

(pub: Dark Horse, 2020. 295 page graphic novel. Price: I paid around £13.00 (UK) for my copy. ISBN: 978-1-50672-043-2)

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Category: Comics, Cri-Fi, Scifi

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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