Illegal Alien

Author: James Robinson
Artist: Phil Elliott
Titan Books
RRP: £9.99
ISBN 1 84023 580 2
Available now

London, 1963. The Beatles are about to hit the big time, the Cold War is escalating, and Guido Palmano has just returned from America a changed man. His family can't quite put their finger on it, but Guido, a former mobster with little regard for anything outside his own self-interest, is a different person. He's caring, compassionate, intelligent... Alien! Now, caught between the dangerous ties to his former life and the political hysteria surrounding a mysterious, crashed spaceship, Guido's doing all he can to give his loved ones the best time of their lives before his own time on this planet runs out...

James Robinson's introduction to the reissue of the out of print original graphic novel sets the scene well - although I don't agree with all his observations. He states that he always pictured Illegal Alien as the sort of movie that Ealing Studio's would have made if they hadn't gone out of business in the early 1960s. Hmmm, I'm not sure that this is very likely. Nor do I feel that Alec Guiness would have been perfect to play the role of Guido Palmano.

Having said that this graphic novel, taken on it's own merits, is a fantastically engaging read. Presented in simple black and white ink drawings (I can hear some of you less cultured comic readers sighing already) the story is dark and moody and will appeal to anyone who likes good story telling.

It's a shame that the story was concluded so quickly. While I loved the final few pages, I thought that the story could have been extended just before Dino meets up with Guido again. There is certainly scope for an additional collection of stories that chart Guido's movements before the final pages.

Original, engaging and wonderfully conceived. Shame it's taken so long to be reissued.

Darren Rea

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