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Review: Alex + Ada: The Complete Collection

alex-ada_hc_coverartAs the world, has enjoyed science fiction, the very existence of robots has had a powerful foothold in our imaginations. The fact that robots can do what we can do and think at a greater rate, is part of what fascinates us about them. Artificial intelligence is what makes our fascination with the robot and overall, technology so engaging. The fact that a robot can learn and then adapt to what it has learned, is what has kept business from pushing those limits, as science fiction has more than showed what would happen if we did.

Fiction’s earliest meanderings with this notion, was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as the scientist endeavored to create a machine who could think like man. This concept became more sophisticated throughout time, as authors such as Karel Capek, Isaac Asimov and Philip K Dick, sought to explore the parallels between human robot. Which brings as to how film and TV has explored the very idea, as Will Smith’s adaptation of I, Robot, showed the world, the dangers. Then there is Bicentennial Man, which starred the late great Robin Williams as well as Westworld and Humans, which asked these questions in several different scenarios.

So when I started reading Alex + Ada, two years ago, I was instantly enthralled as the description reads:

Alex is a young man who is depressed after his fiancée breaks up with him. Tired of seeing him unhappy, Alex’s grandmother sends him Ada, a Tanaka X-5 android which is capable of intelligent human interaction. The robot is initially incapable of self-awareness, as each android has a program that blocks any potential free thought or consciousness.

That is only the beginning, as it starts much like Her, but becomes something more though provoking and political than I believe any initial reader would have thought. As we see Alex struggle with these questions of what makes one human and what makes one robot, and eventually sees that these labels are meaningless. We follow Alex, as a jilted ex-lover reports him to the FBI because he makes Ada, sentient, and gets set free, as he and Ada face a world where though they welcome new technology, they do not want them to have power. By series end, it proves to be powerful sentiment for why discrimination in any form should not exist.

Overall, a resilient view of the future, as this undiscovered country shows the reader how good technology can be, and how human we still would be. The story by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn more than invades the senses, it lives with the reader. The art by Jonathan Luna elevates the limits of sequential art. Altogether, as xenophobia and racism is more transparent than ever, and though this series ended last year, it still feels as if it was written yesterday.

Story: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn Art: Jonathan Luna
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review