ALEX + ADA VOLUME 2

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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: ALEX + ADA VOLUME 2 / AUTHOR: JONATHAN LUNA, SARAH VAUGHN / ARTIST: JONATHAN LUNA / PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Alex + Ada from Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn was an extremely promising debut graphic novel. The first volume successfully negotiated a path between the more obvious pitfalls that are prevalent when focussing on the forbidden intimacy of a relationship between a human and a robot with Artificial Intelligence. Drawing clear influence from the likes of Blade Runner and Her, this is an emotion based story, intriguing in the way it developed the respective roles of its leads. Volume 2 does move the story along, identifying the issues and problems that may arise when allowing sentient A.I. to develop and begin learning, but perhaps not enough to satisfy all readers.

The strength of Luna and Vaughn’s story is in its relatable simplicity. The awkward, frustration-filled interactions between Alex and Ada carry realistic poignancy and will resonate with many given the subtle observations. The affection between the pair is clear; their understanding of these feelings is less so. Lurking in the background at all times, ominously, is the knowledge that Ada’s sentience is illegal and as such much be kept secret. The strain this puts on their fledgling relationship is clear and leads to unwanted consequences.

The simplicity of the central story is reflected in the artwork and dialogue. Sharp, clinical lines stylishly reflect the inflexibility of the times and the stunted, almost uncomfortable language is wholly believable, if a little tiresome and repetitive later in the story. If there is a flaw, Alex + Ada doesn’t “zip” along, being more of a character study than a drama. With their relationship developing quickly this may well change in subsequent volumes as the need to take action becomes increasingly necessary, but for now this is a story that rewards the thoughtful reader rather than one searching for a quick fix of machine controlled dystopia.

Alex + Ada is ultimately a story about characters that are slowly learning about themselves and each other, and that is something that cannot be rushed.
 

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