Posted November 7, 2013 by joedwardlewis in Comics

Comic of the Week – 06.11.2013 – Alex + Ada #1


© Image Comics

STORY BY Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn
ART BY Jonathan Luna
COVER BY Jonathan Luna
PUBLISHER Image Comics

REVIEWED returns for Comic of the Week duties. And this week the much coveted award goes to Alex + Ada #1 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn, published Image Comics.

In today’s world the lines between science fiction and reality are blurred. Perhaps you remember the RoboTaxi from Total Recall? Today, in Masdar City, UAE, you can hail one. And aren’t 3D printers a primitive version of the Star Trek Replicator? In Alex + Ada #1, published by Image Comics, creators Jonathan Luna (Girls, The Sword, Spider-Woman and Ultra) and Sarah Vaughn (Sparkshooter), explore artificial intelligence, idealism and I suspect the nature of love, in a science fiction drama set in the near future.

In the opening issue, we’re shown the last thing Alex would want was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. However, while you can’t always get what you want, sometimes you get what you need, whether it is a dodgy jumper or in this case an android from your Grannie.

Luna and Vaughn’s portray of loneliness is a powerful one; they wonderfully capture these moments drawing the reader in, whether it’s Alex’s featureless apartment or interactions with those at his birthday celebration. An immediate bond between reader, character and creator forms. The ethical dilemma they pose at the end of the first issue is an interesting one – what would you do? Is it moral for artificial intelligence to work in servitude?

While not unfamiliar (see Lars and the Real Girl, Frank and Robot), the series was intriguing enough for me to part with 3 dollars, particularly when confronted with the androgynous quality of the artwork. It’s truly striking and beyond comparison. However, it’ll divide readers.

My main criticism of Alex + Ada is an unfair one. The comic book distribution system is fatally flawed – comics are sold through retailers who cannot return ‘reminders’. Stores such as my LCS have limited budget and are therefore careful, buying titles to order with little to no room for gambling. Therefore if I want a given title, I have to read about it and essentially ‘spoil it’ deciding whether I want it or not. Reading the solicit for Alex + Ada, and countless other first issues this year, detracted from reading the final product. The cover may well point to this, as it doubles as a final page reveal. Furthermore the pacing suffers as a result as the climax is known.

However, these detractions do not significantly impact upon the quality of Alex + Ada #1. My primary concern is the route which Alex + Ada follows. Hopefully it won’t overly concern itself with the sexual. I suspect it won’t given Luna’s desire to explore “gender themes”, expressed In a recent interview with CBR.

Either way this first issue is a triumphant return of Luna to comics after a three year absence and is a worthy winner of our Comic of the Week accolade.

More REVIEWED next week. In the interim, check our ComicBurst!

Written by joedwardlewis


PhD student, University of Nottingham. As usual, my views are my own.

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