Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review - Alex + Ada #1

"Alex...time to wake up."

Today's world is chock full of technology. Smartphones, Google Glass, name it. All of them serve a purpose in connecting individuals to one another wirelessly, often at the sacrifice of personally. Image Comics is launching a brand new book called Alex + Ada #1 that tackles that issue in a rather unique way. The first issue is written by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn and illustrated by Luna.

Imagine a future where AI has become so advanced that it's no longer "artificial" in many ways. That's the world Alex lives in, a world where he can control many facets of his life with his mind. It's not a superpower; rather, it's him embracing the latest wave in robotic technology. Despite his newfound abilities, he still finds himself alone and wanting more. He never considered that more to be finding potential love in an android, a concept he was previously very much against for whatever reason.

If there's one thing Luna and Vaughn have captured exceptionally well, it's the isolation that one feels at a certain point in their life. The thing is, Alex's situation is further exacerbated by his choice to constantly live in his thoughts all day as a means of controlling the world around him. The writing duo do a brilliant job conveying to the reader just how alone Alex--and by extension most of us--is in the grand scheme of things. This is especially true now, as many of us choose to surround and immerse ourselves in technology, often at the expense of real, personal relationships. Alex's hesitance to embrace going further down that rabbit-hole and "dating" an android is very poignant, as it speaks to an innate desire to share a life with someone other than himself who's real.

Luna's art is equally up to the task of presenting a fantastic story. His illustrations are very clean and well-defined, offering some very beautiful pages that manage to make Alex feel even more alone. Luna populates all the pages with an abundance of robots, androids and technology all around him, yet Alex's isolation still shines through. The panel layouts are very formalized and keep that theme of robots controlling and organizing life. Character outlines aren't very defined, which allows them to blend in well with the backgrounds and make the work feel more natural. There's also a very organic color palette chosen for the work, most of which use light and dark shades to convey the open and closing of days.

Alex + Ada #1 is off to a very promising start. It offers a compelling narrative of finding love wrapped in finding oneself. It moves rather gracefully between crushing loneliness and tidal waves of dialogue and interaction. The contrast between the two is very well done and the end of the first issue really sets up the next issues to be full of intrigue. Alex makes a very powerful decision and it's likely that his reasoning will be made clear down the road. In the meantime though, the first book is a very enjoyable start to what has the potential to be a very promising series.

Alex + Ada #1 is in stores now with interiors below.


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