Although I was a bit disappointed with last month’s issue of Alex + Ada, I can gladly say that I’m back on board with this series thanks to this month’s installment. It’s definitely not for everyone due to the subject matter and the fact that it moves very slowly, but issue #4 has a huge impact and has changed the direction of the book. The book starts off with Alex entering the forum we saw him accessing at the very end of issue #3. He goes up to the bar where a few other forum members are sitting and one of the members starts up a conversation with him. We learn later that his name is Levi, a forum moderator. There’s also another guy sitting amongst Alex and Levi whom we find out is a robot (we don’t learn his name in this issue, however). At this point, Alex is confused about how a robot could get into these forums, but actually about half of the members that come into the forums are robots. It’s explained to him that these robots are sentient, just like Tera, the robot who was murdered at the rock concert.
Levi brought up another great point here that will definitely come into play in the future of this series and that’s injustice towards the robots. If Tera’s circumstances happened to a human, the people who attacked her would be charged with murder. But since it was an android (even a self-aware and free-thinking one), she was just thrown in the trash. Alex thinks he wants sentience for Ada, but isn’t quite sure yet. He is seeking out Levi and the robot’s advice for what he should do next. They explain to him that it’s an illegal procedure, but it can be done.
Alex finds out that Prime Intelligence has a secret that luckily Levi knows about. When competing with Nexaware who created the first sentient artificial intelligence in history, Prime was also sentient. After the Nexaware massacre, Prime blocked the sentience. However, the block to the sentience can be unlocked and the android can be its own functioning being due to the fact that Prime Intelligence is essentially a complex brain inside the android. The procedure is dangerous and costly, not to mention illegal. Is this really what Alex wants Ada to be?
The issue was very heavily dialogue-driven as we’ve come to expect from this book. It’s a slow-burn type of read but as I said, the ending is great and serves as a huge cliffhanger that raise tons of questions. Where it shines for me at least is the emotional and human (although sometimes android) connections. The art is great for capturing emotions and the loneliness and disappointment Alex feels at the moment. Although I still think Alex is weird for going along with his grandmother’s ploy to get him over his breakup and not be single by getting an android, it makes me wonder if people will actually have androids for this purpose someday. Any science fiction fan should definitely be following this book, and I’m already looking forward to next month’s issue.
Writers: Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna Artist: Jonathan Luna Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 2/19/14