After reading the solicitations for Image’s books for November last month, none quite piqued my interest like Alex + Ada. We’re pretty much given the story in their synopsis, but there is so much left to be explored, a bit of which is given to us in this first installment. The front cover itself was enough to draw me in. It speaks for itself, which a lot of this comic did. You get a sense of how Alex’s personality (or lack of it, depending on how you view him) is. He is kind of staring blankly at who we assume is Ada, an android. She even has the plastic wrap hanging off her head that has a warning notice. Alex is kind of staring blankly at her, not really sure what to do next.
I love the world that Alex + Ada is set in. Both Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn’s writing matched with Luna’s art make this futuristic world all too believable. Honestly, it doesn’t even seem that far off in the future. The first few pages are spent showing the reader the impressive features that are present in this time. For example, Alex has a glowing chip in each temple which allow him to control things like flushing the toilet or setting the shower water temperature and pressure with his mind. In the kitchen, a Weebo-like robot brings Alex his coffee. While he’s watching the news via a hologram, we learn that the world is now attempting to coexist with robots.
Unfortunately, a tragedy had happened a year prior. One technology corporation, Nexaware, had a program in development accidentally upload itself to around 100 robots in a warehouse which killed thirty-four humans. This will make it easy for Prime Wave (the company that makes the chips inside of Alex) to become the #1 technology corporation. The details like this also strengthen the believability of Alex’s world. Humans are flawed-they make mistakes, which here destroys what they’re trying to perfect. In this case that would be robots that do tasks like warehouse work and serving at restaurants. But those fortunate enough to have wealth on their side can have their own… and Alex’s grandmother is one of them.
In between the time that Alex has a conversation with his grandmother, I really started to sympathize for Alex. It’s been seven months since he broke up with his girlfriend Claire, and it’s clear he hasn’t gotten over her. He is just going through the motions in life. He wakes up, goes to work, comes home, watches some TV, and goes to bed. The sense of isolation and plainness is amplified by Luna’s depiction of Alex’s house. His walls are painted white, there are no lavish materialistic possessions-there’s not even much furniture. He has almost a perpetual look of contempt on his face. On his twenty-seventh birthday at breakfast, he gets a call from his grandmother. She spent $800,000 to get her own state-of-the-art Tanaka X5 android. His name is Daniel, and he’s Alex’s grandmother’s servant… in more ways than one. His grandmother suggests that he should get one, and then store her away when he gets a human girlfriend. Alex shrugs the idea off and says that it’s too weird, even if he did have the money.
After returning home from a surprise birthday party in which he dips out early, he comes home to find… well, you probably already guessed it.
I loved everything about this first issue. I think we can all empathize with Alex. It doesn’t even have to be over a relationship, everyone at some point feels like they’re going through the motions and something in their life is missing. In Alex’s case, it seems to be Claire. But what he doesn’t realize is he has a lot. He has a good job, solid friends, and even a girl that’s interested in him at his birthday party. The world is also at his fingertips with advanced technology, but he’s still alone. Will the android fill this gap in his life? Or will it complicate Alex’s problems even more (especially that we know the robots are capable of terroristic actions)?
I also really enjoyed the art. From a technical standpoint, it’s all very clean and from a storytelling aspect, it really hits home with the portrayal of a very lonely, isolated man in a very connected world. I can’t wait to see what Luna and Vaughn have in store for this series. A simple idea was executed brilliantly in this first issue; it was nothing short of spectacular. Books like these are why I read comics.
Writers: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
Artist: Jonathan Luna
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 11/6/13