Alex + Ada has been the most invigorating comic to come out in the last, well, 3 months. That’s no diss on this comic though, because it’s only had 3 issues come out to this day, but dang does it deserve all the accolades its been given. I check out the latest issue with the intention of answering the question: is it good?
Alex + Ada #3 (Image Comics)
Read our thoughts on Alex + Ada #2 here.
The premise of this issue is simple, but the implications are complicated as hell. A twenty something man named Alex lives in the near future where technology has advanced in a variety of ways. No longer do we speak on phones but telepathically, robots do our every bidding and sex robots are kinda sorta accepted. Alex recently was given a gift of said sex bot, only he’s kind of weirded out about it and doesn’t know what to do. Problem is he doesn’t want to just chuck the thing and he decides to keep it. There’s an undercurrent below all of this concerning a robot uprising and a general fear from the public that AI has become too intelligent.
The art and story are by Jonathan Luna with writing by Sarah Vaughn. From the get go the layouts of this book will capture your attention. They’re incredibly minimalist, most likely to capture the main characters shock and confusion, and they do a good job juxtaposing Alex and his friends demeanor. They sit in front of the robot and it’s weird. Period. This gives Vaughn and Luna a chance to tell the reader some new information, namely about the robot uprising that was referred to in the first issue. That aspect is focused on greatly in this issue with most of the drama centered around the weirdness of the robot and its inability to think on its own.
In a lot of ways that’s the most compelling aspect of this issue. How many folks have been dating someone and thought, “Why can’t they do what I want?” This is an extreme version of someone getting just that — a mate that does only what you tell it, but how utterly boring that can be as well. It’s interesting and compelling, made so even greater because of the slower pacing Luna has imbued on the page. This allows the characters to breath and react in a natural way making the book all the more real and relatable.
An entirely new technology is shown near the end of the issue that most folks should get a kick out of. Message boards have been around since the beginning of the internet, but this new version is quite an interesting take on it. It’s also interesting what type it is, but I won’t ruin that here. Let’s just say there’s a whole new angle I didn’t expect coming in the next issue that should drive folks to the stands in droves.
Yeah sure, not your girlfriend. Sure!
I really liked this issue, but wasn’t 100% sold on it either. For one, the concept of a public wide fear of AI getting too smart is nothing new. A lot of time is spent fleshing out the world rather than Alex and Ada’s relationship, and while there’s plenty of interesting interactions to dissect this issue still feels like a transition issue more than anything. Collected this issue will seem perfect, but as single issues go it doesn’t blow you away. Of course, that’s a high expectation and it’s still incredibly enjoyable to read.
Is It Good?
Another good chapter in this exciting event book.