Never before has a book where most of it is about people sitting around and talking been so engaging. In Alex + Ada #4, Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn bring up a lot of good questions about “being human” and for Alex it’s a tug of war with his thoughts and feeling for an android and the possibilities that lie within.
Official description from VALIANT:
Alex makes a decision that will change Ada forever.
This is the issue that changes the course for the rest of the series. Vaughn and Luna guide us through the muddy waters of an android becoming sentient. Is it because Alex feels bad that Ada has no thoughts or feelings of her own or does he only want her to actually feel like he wants her to feel? It’s really a tricky question and this the heart and soul of this book so far. The answers are never crystal clear and the questions are even more daunting.
Alex finally gets the answers, we as readers have been clamoring for, when he meets both a human and android in a forum group who help androids become self-aware. They also give Alex plenty of food for thought when proposed with the idea of “waking up” Ada. The statement with the most impact arises when Alex is told that if Ada becomes sentient then he no longer has any control or influence over her and she could choose to leave Alex all together. The drive behind Alex is that Ada is likeable, attractive and a possible match for Alex’s loneliness but once she has free will rejection could come with the territory.
The hacker android who can “unlock” Ada is at first the one who proposes the most negative aspects of attempting something like this but over the course of the issue he becomes more charming and innocent. It’s where Luna and Vaughn excel in writing with great character arcs and engaging dialogue. Alex’s world feels less like the future and more in line with the present day which makes you buy into the whole notion of androids and hi-tech more easily. It feels contemporary and deals with universal issues of basic human needs and rights.
Luna’s art is simplistic but feels much bigger in scope and supports the universal appeal the books holds to the reader. He can do panel after panel of the same characters in the same poses but with this story feels more like movie frames than comic panels. His take on hi-tech is very minimal, at least so far, and the touches are subtle. It just feels like a place we all live today without making it feels too sci-fi.
The book is dialogue heavy to be sure but through it we get the exposition without the inner dialogue of a single character making all this information flow more naturally. Alex + Ada is not about the bells and whistles and I think that’s the beauty of the story. Alex is a very likeable character and you can’t help to feel his sympathy toward Ada and the possibility of unlocking and freeing someone to be themselves and see the world for what they want and not what they are told to be. It’s truly a terrific character study and by the end you’ll be hooked at what will come next. This is a great story, with great heart and character and one I highly recommend from Luna and Vaughn. Image has a winner with Alex + Ada.
S#!T Talking Central