“Is it still living–when you block everything out?”
Welcome, everyone. D.C. here to throw down on an interesting book I’ve been trying to get through:
Image Comics’ Alex + Ada is written and drawn by Jonathan Luna of the Luna Brothers. If you’re not familiar with the Luna Brothers, read up on their series Girls. It was a very interesting tale with very important undertones on gender differences and prejudices.
Alex + Ada is a three-volume tale of a lonely man who receives a robot as a gift. When Alex finds life with the subservient, inexpressive Ada less than idea, he meets a chat room of individuals that helps him unleash her sentience–a dangerous move in a dangerous world of anti-robot sentiment, fear, and legislation.
The world building in Alex + Ada is touched upon well. The physical world is expressed just as well as the digital world, which has taken over. The current events of the world also helps shape the story. There is anti-robot sentiment after a robot’s slaughter of humans some time before. And with anti-anything sentiment, there is prejudice to look into. These sorts of tales that relate to the real world appeal to me.
Alex’s own prejudices of having a personal robotic companion is hypocritical, given how his dull, lonely life is so deeply connected to technology. However, his unease of having Ada around is rooted in his own inability to live past a breakup. In essence, Alex is as much a robot as Ada, and Luna does well in addressing this aspect.
The art in Alex + Ada is very simple. I do feel it’s comparatively subpar, when you recognize that Luna doesn’t have much skill with differing facial expressions, or in displaying the detail you’d imagine a more technologically advanced future to have. The artistic variability is incredibly limited–save for the character designs–so it can be a bit grating if you’re very observant.
Still, even Luna’s writing can stave off some of the stink of his art by capturing Ada’s innocence after her awakening. His writing isn’t very artistic–it’s about as simplistic as the art. Whether or not that is a good thing is up to the reader, but it is the combination of art and script that really supports this series. It really is endearing to see Ada experiencing food and sensations that we take for granted far too often and far too easily.
While I enjoy Alex’s coming to terms with his own reservations with Ada and Ada’s innocence, affections and growth, most of the supporting cast isn’t very interesting. I’m not sure if that was Luna’s intention when he wrote this story, seeing as how the story is about Alex and Ada, but I was hoping for a more well-rounded cast of characters.
At the same time, the other sentient robots seen in the story provide some quirky, endearing, and sometimes funny insights into their world and how they see themselves, each other, and humans on both sides of the robots rights debate.
Alex + Ada is an endearing story of a man and the android he brought to life, and the trials they must endure in a world of anti-robot rhetoric and anti-robot laws. Jonathan Luna weaves a coherent story, however simple. The art provided by Luna is nothing spectacular, but it is far from the worst art I’ve seen. I certainly enjoy Ada’s presence most of all, and the innocence she exudes throughout the tale.
In spite of the obvious lack of artistic variability, I did enjoy the story in Alex + Ada enough to want to see this through to the end. I do look forward to the third and final volume. If it leaves any impression, I shall share with you all.