Alex + Ada #4

by Tori B. on February 19, 2014

Up until this point, Alex + Ada has sort of been a warm fuzzy feeling kind of series with cute androids roaming about doing their thing as Alex awkwardly dances around his own android Ada.
Writer: Sarah Vaughn, Jonathan Luna
Artists: Jonathan Luna
Cover: Luna
Publisher: Image
It’s easy to get caught up in the sweeping charm of both Alex + Ada, not to mention the fascination with androids, and AI systems currently, imagining just how far we can take technology. Alex + Ada reached it’s peak, introducing us to the characters, making readers empathize and now the heavy stuff starts to begin. Issue four is incredibly dialogue heavy and hardly as cute as previous issues, but still very interesting unless tech talk bores you, in which case this series isn't recommended. As Alex enters the forum Degrees of Freedom in search for answers for both himself and Ada, he gets hit with a world and some truths he’d never imagined before.
What follows for the next several pages is all very existential, what’s defined as real, as sentient, and whether something like an android who’s capable of such things should actually be given that liberty. It’s the hard-hitting questions that come with the subject matter of AIs but it’s written in a way that still seems relevant. Readers care about both Alex and Ada, so it’s always brought back to them, and what all this means in relation to them. Sure some bigger secrets get revealed along the way (gasp! the governments been hiding things from the people this whole time), but at the end it always ties back to what’s more important to the readers.
We’ve had our chance to fall in love with Ada already, but we’ve also seen her from Alex’s point of view. She has a lot of potential, so as he struggles, the reader follows along on his internal debate on what he truly wants for Ada. She’s incredibly sweet as is and unleashing her potential perhaps changes all that, for better or for worse, Alex doesn’t know until he actually does it.
Luna’s art has been steady throughout the series, simple, action-light and extremely character focused. What’s amazing is how expressive each character seems to be. Even Ada who lacks a true personality shows these little ticks of expression during certain moments. It’s these expressions that continue to make this series such a warming one. Every character is so open and relatable and at the end of the day you’re just rooting for them all to have a happy ending.
There may be a split among readers, some may keep Ada the way she is, and some wouldn’t. It’s easy to say Alex chooses, but what is harder to predict is the outcome of his choice to which readers are left on a very intense cliffhanger. Next issue can’t come soon enough.

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