Sunday, August 5, 2012

Aliens among us! (Reviews of the Resident Alien comic and Homegrown Alien webcomic

This post is my review of Dark Horse Comics’ Resident Alien mini-series and the Homegrown Alien web comic.
Resident Alien began as a series in the anthology title Dark Horse Presents.  The three segments in Dark Horse Presents were reprinted as Resident Alien #0, and the story continued in Resident Alien #1-3, completing the first miniseries.  I just loved the story and art in this series!  First, let me discuss what the story is about.  An alien crash landed on Earth 3 years ago and has since been hiding out among us.  He has some mental powers that allow him to mask his appearance to most humans, and he’s living life in a small town as a semi-retired doctor named Harry Vanderspeigle.  He ends up getting involved in a local murder case, risking discovery to help people and also to satisfy his curiosity about the case.  This concept is sort of familiar to other aliens-among-us stories, but the alien’s empathic powers and detective work make for an excellent twist on the idea.  In fact, I’d say this is the most original sci-fi concept I’ve seen in years.  Writer Peter Hogan does a great job introducing the reader to a cast of characters who populate the town of Patience.  The dialogue and interactions between the characters are very realistic, and there are plenty of characters introduced that may be the murderer.  Also, there comes the chance that one of the residents has realized Harry is more than what he appears!  This comic had me anxiously turning pages to find out what would happen next!

The art by Steve Parkhouse fits the story perfectly.  Steve has a realistic style with storytelling that is incredibly clear to the reader.  The situations and environments look great.  The characters each have a unique look without being cartoony.  In the comic, the reader always sees our alien protagonist in his alien form, thought he other characters see him as human, this storytelling mechanism is one of those things that is just perfect in comics and shows the strength of the format.

I cannot recommend Resident Alien enough.  I hope everyone reading this goes to a comic shop or and buys or orders a copy!  There will be more Resident Alien in upcoming Dark Horse Presents issues too.  I’m hoping there’s a trade paperback collection soon so my local shop can keep a copy on their shelf for recommendation!

The second alien comic I’d like to discuss today is Homegrown Alien by Joe Davidson, found on its own website.  I’ve done some reviews of individual stories of Homegrown Alien before, but I just finished reading all the strips on the website and I’d like to discuss them.  The paper comics deal with Max’s past travels with Old Max, while the webcomic has stories from a time period after Old Max has died.  Our Homegrown Alien has taken a job selling corndogs at an amusement park called Wonder World, where he and his co-worker Tom have to solve the mystery of the Phantom who is killing other employees.  Max’s interactions with human are very well handled.  He’s very unemotional and practical in the face of danger but helpful to those who are in need, also.  The art is well done, with clear storytelling, and is cute and cartoony.  Joe does a very nice effect going to black and white when the action goes underground also.  You can read the Homegrown Alien webcomic for free, so go take a look!  (Note: the story contains some adult language and violence.)

And you can also read my webcomic, Mutant Elf for free.  Please check it out, too! oH

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