The first issue of Resident Alien: An Alien in New York introduced Dr. Harry Vanderspeigel, an alien stranded on Earth who solved mysteries while waiting to be rescued. The book did a great job of introducing its characters and setting up the mystery. It had a charming small town feel to it and the ending let the readers know the story would now be taking place in New York City. How would this drastic change affect the second issue?
Issue two of An Alien in New York delves more into the psyche of Harry. In the first issue the reader saw a character who was eager to help, but also worried about his extraterrestrial birth being discovered. In the latest issue, it is apparent that Harry wants to find a way home. He is warned on a few occasions by friends that the cross-country disappearance he wants to investigate may lead to danger, but he is willing to take the chance to possibly gain information on how to leave Earth. This is a side of Harry not scene in the last issue as he almost seems content to remain here.
The reader also learns that Harry does not like to fly or be in crowded places. This seems to be mainly due to his telepathic abilities, but that’s never stated. This apparent insecurity makes sense (he is an alien who fears being discovered) and makes Harry more human and relatable.
Peter Hogan’s script continues to impress. The dialogue has a folksy quality to it and the characters never use grandiose words. Everyone speaks in an almost neighborly way that never goes above the reader. This also accentuates Harry’s dry humor. An Alien in New York never has to force its jokes since they are delivered naturally.
Steve Parkhouse’s art mirrors the tone of the script. Characters and scenes are drawn in an almost plain style that conversely draws more attention to the overall story. There is great use of shadow and light and some excellent work on the faces. Parkhouse’s art literally speaks for itself in the book, and there is not even one caption box describing a scene in the entire issue.
This issue is not as accessible to newer readers of Resident Alien as the first issue was. There are characters introduced and comments made that seem to allude to previous series. They don’t ruin the overall story, but they do provide additional context. The issue also seems cluttered at times and there are some subplots introduced that do not seem like they can be adequately resolved in the two remaining issues.
The second issue of Resident Alien: An Alien in New York continues the fine storytelling and art of the first issue. The story is unaffected by the change of scenery and readers learn a little more about Dr. Harry’s motivations. The story is a slow burn that is more reminiscent of an old time noir that focuses on story and less of a modern thriller that prioritizes action.
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