Creators: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But when Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.
Have any of you ever read the manga series Chobits. Luna and Vaughn’s Alex + Ada really reminded me of the Chobits series, but with a quiet and much more contemplative presentation.
The world in which Alex lives is one that is integrated with technology, but also one that fears the capabilities that technology can have when it becomes sentient. Humanity is wary of robots and androids, their hesitation stemming from an infamous massacre in which the robots turned against their human creators. A very reasonable fear, I say. There is a stigma surrounding those who live with robots and Alex struggles to adapt when he is given an android, Ada, as a gift. He does not want to be judged for keeping her in his company, but he is alone and his discomfort with isolation outweighs his desire to avoid judgment.
What I immediately liked about this comic was Alex’s concern with Ada’s pre-programmed “yes master/no master,” robotic functions. There is no companionship with a being that cannot think and feel for itself. Alex recognizes the flaw with the android system and seeks a way to alter it, even if that means breaking the law.
Alex’s actions add a huge moral concern to the story: to what extent can a man-made machine be thought of as “human” and if it is sentient–thinking, feeling, etc.–can we afford it the same rights and freedoms that we can biological, natural human beings? The government restricts the androids’ sentience, in essence putting a block on their capability of humanity. It is against the law for a robot to be sentient and for a human to encourage an android to have opinions and individual thoughts. With technology developing so rapidly in our own world, is it really much longer until Alex’s reality becomes our own?
I want to touch upon the artwork which was as contemplative as the story itself. Much of the message and the story is conveyed through the images, quiet but profoundly meaningful. Each pane makes you pause and think about what is really being said nonverbally. The colours too are muted and cool, reflecting the isolation and emptiness that Alex feels as well as the clean lines of technology, cold and simple.
Overall, this comic was a delight to read. I look forward to purchasing a copy when the release comes at the end of the month and I definitely recommend it to any comic lover.