Resident Alien: An Alien in New York #4
The latest Resident Alien miniseries, An Alien in New York, wraps up here in unexpected fashion.
But then, that’s always the case with this ongoing series by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. They take the unusual road in their story of a marooned alien learning about humans. His life didn’t go the way he expected, obviously, and neither did that of the previously stranded alien he’s just found out about. Raoul wound up in the New York art scene, and his human companion is finally finding out the meaning of a document he left behind.
Lots of people find themselves thinking that their life will finally start when something particular happens, or when it gets back on the expected, stereotypical track. If you sink too far into that mindset, you’ll find that the whole thing has gone by without you realizing it while you waited. Even if you make a choice, that might change someone else’s path, as Raoul’s eventual fate did for Linda, his art dealer and the one who knew his secret.
This isn’t a typical mystery — the reader wants to find out what happened, not who did it, although there are a couple of bodies — and it’s very mature in its themes and concerns. Normally, I’d call the series a comfortable read, with its colorful small town cast and familiar genre structure, but this storyline I found more challenging, in large part due to the themes I touched on above. I’m impressed by how masterfully the story is teased out.
Plus, there’s a smile-making moment of sight-seeing, as Harry and his Native American friend Dan view the Statue of Liberty and ponder:
“All those ideals America started out with… people may not live up to them, but they’re still good things to believe in.”
Although this story is substantially about departures and letting go, I found that an optimistic viewpoint I needed to hear right now. And the thoughts on immigration — with Harry an unwilling immigrant to a new land — tie together the location and story.
You’re not likely to start here, but the collected edition is due in December. It’s a nice overall read, with plenty of thoughts provoked about what it means to belong somewhere. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)
One of my favorite books these last few years. I noticed the last page said “to be concluded” in the next series, so it sounds like we may be nearing the end — but we’ll see if the TV series ends up happening.