GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Alex + Ada = A Boy & His Robot

Cliche though it may be, it’s been a long time since I picked up a graphic novel that I couldn’t put down. I started reading ALEX + ADA at 11.45 PM, with the intention of getting past the first few pages and then re-convening in the morning… I ending up reading it through to the finish, very much hungry for more afterwards.

Official Blurb: “Ada is an X5, the very latest in Tanaka android technology. Alex is her reluctant owner. Ada may look and sound just like a person, but she’s still a robot in a society that is growing increasingly suspicious of her kind. In ALEX + ADA, a new graphic novel series by Jonathan Luna (GIRLS, THE SWORD, ULTRA) and Sarah Vaughn (Sparkshooter) from Image Comics, Alex and Ada try to find out if artificial intelligence can make the leap to human awareness — and whether the world is ready for it.

ALEX + ADA is set in an I, Robot style world with a Blade Runner backdrop.  In this future the robots are amongst us, from doing our domestic chores to fulfilling our needs in the bedroom. The last step in their evolution is sentience, or self-awareness, and although this has been pioneered, a terrible atrocity committed by a self-aware factory automation computer has made the world fearful of flicking the sentience switch en masse.

Enter Alex, a 27-year-old, who is still mourning the break-up of his last relationship six months after it ended. Surrounded by a loving family and good friends, including Isabel who is clearly very interested in him, Alex is unable to move on from his separation from his ex, Claire. His worldly-wise, and very wealthy grandmother decides to splash out on a “companion android” – top of the range, no expense spared. At first Alex rejects the gift  but then, once he names “her”, Ada, and introduces her to his friends, he decides he wants more for her – and embarks on a illegal course of action.

The story is very much and exploration of humanity, slavery / freedom, and the clean, distinctive art, which richly conveys the characters with subtle facial expressions and gestures, is well suited to the task, as well creating a world that is technologically advanced yet recognizable as a possible future version of our world. Alex is a very compelling character, and I found both the inquisitive nature of his relationship with Ada, and his how he handles the familiarity of his friends and family to this situation, both intriguing in equal measures.

ALEX + ADA VOLUME 1 is a unique story that whilst pulling on many recognised genre elements will appeal equally to fans of science fiction, drama, and romance; it will be in comic book stores on July 16 and in bookstores on July 29.

GS Rating: 4/5

GS Blogger: Silverfox

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