Tag Archives: alex + ada

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

Review: Alex + Ada #15

aa015Alex + Ada is a series which is heavy on a variety of themes.  The invasion of the public into our private lives, whether artificial intelligence can be real or what the role of technology will be in our lives as we move forward in our civilization.  While these all elicit interesting questions from this series, the most enduring underlying theme in this series has been that of love.  Ada is a robot whose sentience was unlocked and discovered what love was, while Alex had a seemingly unlikely route to love after he lost touch with love after his fiancee walked out on him.  In both cases it seemed like love between these two might have been impossible but it became possible as Alex learned to accept that it is a more universal concept than with a man and a woman, while Ada learned what love was after being born as an adult-like human-like android woman.

These unlikely lovers came to be chased and captured as a result of Alex’s illegal opening of Ada’s sentience, an act which they had to hide in order for them to live their lives safely.  This of course has parallels to modern society where people are not allowed who they want because society judges them for their choices which defy societal conventions.  As a theme therefore love is the constant in this final issue of the series, as Alex is captured and sentenced to prison, and as he deals with the waiting for what was the love of his life.

While this works as theme for this final issue, it is also handled in a clunky way at times.  Of course with Ada being a robot there are some technical aspects of her consciousness which are a bit mysterious when it comes to how she loves and how she stores her emotions.  As the issue begins to get into a bit of virtual psychology it loses some of its steam from a story telling standpoint, even if the theme itself is spot on.  This makes this final issue a bit of a mixture, both doing the overall series justice but also failing a bit to reach the same height as its predecessors.  It wraps up the series in a way that we could expect, only not quite telling the full story that was there to be told.

Story: Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna Art: Jonathan Luna
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Read

Image provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.  

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

black-canary-1-promo-121636Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Prez #1 (DC Comics) – A teenager is elected President by Twitter in this future send-up of the state of politics. Working in politics I found myself laughing, and cringing at how accurate the series was, especially in its more satirical moments. It hit close to home, which is a good thing. A fantastic send-up perfectly timed for the 2016 Presidential race.

The Kitchen #8 (DC Comics/Vertigo) – I’ve loved this series since the start. It’s a take on the mob genre, except set in the 70s, and it’s the women in charge. The last few issues have had twists and turns of double crosses and all sorts of deals. This final issue of the miniseries is going to be explosive and entertaining.

Letter 44 #17 (Oni Press) – It’s WWIII people!!! Writer Charles Soule has gone all out in this series focused on a President dealing with first contact with aliens, and the crew that’s doing so. The story has been amazing and when I think I have things down, the series throws a curve.

Princeless: Be Yourself #1 (Action Lab Entertainment) – It’s a new volume of the fantastic series that has a young princess saving herself, as well as her sisters. Destroying tropes, pointing out the idiocy of some accepted things in entertainment, and doing it while entertaining too!

Southern Bastards #9 (Image Comics) – One of the best (if not the best) comic on the market right now. The writing, the art, all of it is beyond amazing. It’s the homecoming game, but there’s also been a murder. It’s never too late to hop on and check out this Southern noir series.



Top Pick: Ei8ht # 5 (Dark Horse Comics) – Travelers lost in time, check. Selfless heroism, check. A merciless opposing force, check. This time travel thriller has its bases covered. The art style consisting essentially of black and white shading with contrasting color to provide surface texture may drive away those interested in other titles with bright colors and intense detail. However they would be missing out  on an intriguing tale of time travel where the character connection across time and place are more than meets the eye.

Archie vs. Predator #3 of 4 (Dark Horse Comics) – Even without reading the previous two issues this comic immediately called out to me as a must read. I have to admit that my love for Predator and comic mash-ups is to blame for that. Right away I could see this is not the Archie I was expecting. This issue has it all classic Archie humor,  blood and gore, and a captivating storyline complete with satirical introspective of those stuck in a horrific movie like situations.

Ghostbusters: Get Real #1 (IDW Publishing) – The beginning of a 4 part series where our heroes are unknowingly transported to an alternate dimension when the will of a God is thwarted. To return home they must work with their counterparts from this dimension who luckily just so happen to have experience with this sort of adventure. Reference Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Ghostbusters. This issue lays the ground work for what I expect to be yet another great series from the Burnham, Schoeing and Delgado team over at IDW.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April #1 (IDW Publishing) – Love TMNT but tired of the Turtles then this comic is for you. Take all the turtle powered action and replace it with a teenage love story between Casey and April. While this reviewer is not regretting the time spent reading this issue, it did not rouse much more than a fleeting interest in the series. This issue is a definite pass in my book.



Top Pick: Prez #1 (DC Comics) –  DC is committed to trying something new, and while that hasn’t necessarily worked so far, this new #1 looks like an intriguing updates on the short-lived series from 1973, as a teenage twitter sensation becomes the next President of the United States.  Hopefully it is equal parts social commentary and Bartgirling.

Alex + Ada #15 (Image Comics) –  The finale to this engaging series is here and we get to find out the final fate of the unlikely lovers.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #4 (Marvel/Disney) –  Did you ever watch a Disney movie and think to yourself that it is pretty entertaining despite the G rating?  That same feeling permeates this series.

Doomed #1 (DC Comics) – Another DC #1, this series looks at a person that can change into Doomsday.  Part of the problem of the appeal of Superman stories is that they lack the street level outlook that some readers like (with the present Truth storyline only sort of helping that.)  Maybe this series is DC’s way of finally shaking up its Superman mythos.

Grimm Fairy Tales 10th Anniversary Special #2 Red Riding Hood (Zenescope) –  Zenescope’s least celebrated superhero, Britney Waters, gets another chance to shine here.  Just when will they give her an ongoing series?



Top Pick: Black Canary #1 (DC Comics) – Spinning off of the hip, young Batgirl series is a new series featuring one of the all time best characters in comics. It’s about time she gets a solo series. The book’s premise is that our super powered vocalist becomes the singer of a rock band, goes on tour and fights bad guys on the road. The awesome rock and roll outfits get my approval.

Wu’s art is hip as hell– the line at her booth at Special Edition was enormous.  Fletcher star is rising fast (see hits like Gotham Academy & Batgirl for starters). This is a creative, modern duo writing for an inclusive audience. The future of super hero comics. So I was pleasantly surprised to read in an interview with Fletcher that some of the legacy of the great Silver Age social issues comics series Green Lantern/Green Arrow is continued in this book. Here’s to a new generation’s “hard traveling heroes“.

Ms. Marvel #16 (Marvel) – The multiverse at stake so who will take care of Jersey City? Kamala is breaking my heart with this cover. Who needs a hug!?

Runaways #1 (Marvel) – Noelle Stevenson’s series Nimona is a runaway hit on the Internet that appeals to a younger and often female Fanbase. This is her big two debut. Her work on Lumber Janes is going to win an Eisner. Having her write a Runaways story about kids with super powers sounds like a match made in heaven. And boy do I miss these kids.

Secret Six #3 (DC Comics) – I need to know what the hell is happening! Gail’s original Secret Six series is kind of the best thing ever. The new series had a good premise but it’s been a rough go. I will keep giving this a series chance. I still have faith!

Thors #1 (Marvel) – Because unlike the Highlander there CAN’T be only one. Most excited for of course our female Thor and Storm. Cute detective story premise seals the deal.


Mr. H

Top Pick: Thors #1 (Marvel) – Jason Aaron has been on fire lately and if he’s that good with one God of Thunder, I’m dying to see what he does with a whole roster! In brightest day, in blackest.. oh wait. Nope just pumped for this book! Go Thors!

Justice League of America #1 (DC Comics) – It’s by Bryan Hitch, the man who brought us the cinematic epic which was The Ultimates, I’d like him to take the true Ultimate team in comic books, let him cut loose and see what he can do.

Old Man Logan #2 (Marvel) – Wolverine is dead. Long live a more cranky, aged and badass version of Wolverine. Dystopian futures always bring me a semblance of hope. All I can say is, yes.. and SNIKT!!

Robin: Son of Batman #1 (DC Comics) – First off it’s got Damien Wayne, A Giant Pet Man-Bat, it’s written and drawn by Patrick Gleason. Umm did I mention a Giant Pet Man-Bat??

Wonder Woman #41 (DC Comics) – So far the Finch’s take on the Iconic Amazon have intrigued me. While I don’t think they are at the top of what they could do, I’d like to see what they have further in store. This book has been a guilty pleasure of mine and my gf Ms. B too. Plus, I hope to get some reasoning behind Diana’s new costume.



To Pick: Ms. Marvel #16 (Marvel) -This is my top pick of the week just because this character has been nothing but fun since she entered the universe, and it looks like Secret Wars, has come to Jersey City, definitely curious to see how Kamala Khan will be tested!!!

Astronauts In Trouble #1 (Image Comics) – As a company, Image is basically the Jerry Bruckheimer of the comics world, producing blockbuster after blockbuster, and with Charlie (Walking Dead) on this, it definitely has high hopes.

Black Canary #1 (DC Comics) – Brenden Fletcher (BATGIRL) and Annie Wu (HAWKEYE) bring this character to the forefront, after her much needed exposure on the show, Arrow, she finally gets her own shot in this DC reboot.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 (DC Comics/Vertigo) – After watching the newest Mad Max movie, it definitely has one curious about that whole universe and this comic aims to explore the origin of The Furiosa and it definitely has cred, as it is written by mad Max creator, George Miller himself.

Ghostbusters: Get Real #1 (IDW Publishing) – this sounds so cool, as the film versions and cartoon versions become part of the same world in what can only be interesting chaos

Preview: Alex + Ada #15

Alex + Ada #15

Story By: Jonathan Luna
Story By: Sarah Vaughn
Art By: Jonathan Luna
Cover By: Jonathan Luna
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: APR150625
Published: June 17, 2015



We Talk Alex + Ada with Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

a&a005When Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn came up with the idea for Alex + Ada, they probably had no idea how big it would get.  It got picked up by Image, and although planned for only 12 issues it was extended to 15 in order for the story to have a fulfilling end.  It was a great entry by Sarah Vaughn into comics, and helped solidify Jonathan as a comic book creator.  We got together with them on the eve of the final chapter of their story to discuss robotics and the future.

Graphic Policy:  There are obviously a lot of themes in this series, so let’s discuss some of them!  Probably the deepest theme in this series is that of love, and what it means to different people.  At the same time it is also denied to certain people as well.  Where did you find inspiration for this?

Jonathan Luna: We wanted to tell a sci-fi romance, so naturally, love is going to be the biggest theme. But with the backdrop of prejudice, it also becomes about acceptance. Personally, I lean towards drama, sci-fi, and fantasy. I like to show amazing things and inject them with emotion. I knew Sarah loved working with drama as well, so I brought this concept to her. But it was she who mainly brought in the prejudice aspect.

Sarah Vaughn: The idea of prejudice came when we knew we needed Ada to be sentient and that sentience wasn’t magically created, it was an accomplishment achieved by humans. It just seemed to me the world wouldn’t welcome a new group of beings with their own thoughts and desires. There was something important in exploring that.

GP:  Alex both judges and is judged for his love of Ada, as he looks critically towards his grandmother but also develops feelings for Ada.  Do you think it is human nature to be critical of things that others do that we ourselves are comfortable with?

SV: That’s definitely an aspect of it. Alex is certainly weirded out by his Grandma having an android in the beginning of the story. But though they’re in similar situations, Alex has a different view point. He chooses to unlock Ada, while Katherine never unlocks Daniel. So the judgment is layered.

a&a004GP:  There are a couple of evocative covers in the series.  On the cover for issue #1 we see Ada is what could be construed as a bridal veil (though it is just packaging from her box.)  Do you think that if love was possible for a robot that they would seek out marriage?

JL: I think that a robot could sincerely love only if it were sentient. That said, marriage is a cultural practice. A robot would want to seek out marriage if it were either programmed to, drawn to it on its own, or persuaded to. We did use the marriage theme with issue #1’s cover, but it was more symbolic. It wasn’t necessarily going to happen in the story.

GP:  Another evocative cover was that for issue #7 where Ada is shown to be removing her outer face to show her true emotion underneath.  While it is not the intent of the cover, it does raise the idea of interchangeable appearance of one’s lovers.  At other times in the series you highlight that love is more about the “soul” than the outer appearance, but do you think in this scenario that people would try to swap out robots for the same personality but different appearance?

SV: I absolutely think people would consider this. I also think the complexities grow when you weigh if the people looking into this were humans with non-sentient robots, humans wanting their sentient partners to change, or sentient robots considering for themselves.

GP:  Another theme is that of awareness, in that there are those with the potential for self aware artificial intelligence but that it is denied to them.  This is obviously another big issue, especially as it pertains to the denial of certain scientific principles in society (evolution, climate change).  Did this help form the outlook of the series?

SV: We definitely discussed the difference between being sentient and sentient-capable, and the moral and legal ramifications of that debate. At what point does sentience begin? If you are able to “flip the switch”, or once you actually do? We didn’t necessarily want to answer that question, though I’m pretty firm in my own opinion.

a&a003JL: It’s interesting. When is a robot considered a person? This was one of the few big things Sarah and I weren’t on the same page on. The whole debate makes me think of abortion. But yeah, ultimately, it isn’t our job to answer questions–it’s to ask them.

SV: And that’s one of the things I really enjoyed about working with Jon on Alex + Ada. There were a couple robot and A.I. topics that we completely disagreed on. Like long arguments, some where we even had to take breaks. I could imagine people in the future having these very same disagreements, only they’re not theoretical, they’re legitimate current events. And that really excited me.

GP:  Yet another theme is the intrusion of the outside world into people’s personal lives, a common enough theme in a lot of culture due to the increasing police powers of the state (for instance with Snowden).  Do you think that with more technology in the future that we will have less privacy?

JL: Sure, it’s possible that we’ll have less privacy in the future. But I’m a bit optimistic with this. I feel that as our population grows and society advances, we become more vocal, capable, and powerful. So, if the powers that be tried to take our privacy away, we simply wouldn’t let them. Again, I’m an optimist. For all I know, the robots will take over and make us their slaves.

GP:  Would the dynamic of the series have changed if Alex was the robot and Ada was the human?

SV: No. The relationship dynamics might be a little different. It’s a domino effect. A straight cis-female human has a different societal experience and history, and that would naturally affect the interactions and scenes with a male-created android. But the main story points would have stayed the same.

JL: I agree. But I do wonder how well the series would’ve done if it were the other way around. I’d love to know.

a&a002GP:  On a similar note, the default gender for robots seems to almost always be male, but Ada is of course a female.  Do you think that robots are by nature genderized as masculine?  Would a robot have to “learn” to be feminine?

JL: I definitely think that robots are typically genderized as male, in terms of perception and physicality. But I wouldn’t necessarily say that those robots act masculine. This kind of goes back to the “marriage” thing–a robot would have to be programmed or learn to be masculine, feminine, or even both, or neither.

SV: I agree with Jon. Otto has always been male for me. It’s definitely my default. But that’s my perception as a human, and one I’ve been thinking about during the creation of this book. But masculinity and femininity are very different from being male or female. It can be an energy and a stereotype. So if a program is created to be feminine, it’s because a creator has added their own perceptions of what femininity is into the programming, or a user is perceiving a program’s actions to be feminine.  If a program “learns” to be feminine, it first needs to learn what femininity is, and how to perceive it. And so the question of what is feminine and what is masculine comes into play. It becomes far more complicated.

GP:  The future world in Alex and Ada seems to be possible as an outcome of our progress but also potentially it could be seen as a dystopia.  Do you see it as one or the other?  Or both at the same time?

SV: Humans are messy. We can be horrible, and we can be wonderful. I can so easily see us destroying ourselves, but I also have hope we’ll figure out a way to make things work.

JL: I see it as both, too. Technology is advancing, which is great. But those advancements are new opportunities for challenging the way we think. And sometimes the way we think can be terrifying.

GP:  Issue #15 is going to be the last of the series.  What should we expect to see?  Will we see these characters again?

JL: The reader should expect to see what happens after the incident on the beach in issue #14, the consequences of Alex and Ada’s actions. And I don’t think we’re going to see these characters again, after #15. It’s a sad thought. Sarah and I miss them already. But all stories should have an ending.

Preview: Alex + Ada #14

Alex + Ada #14

Story By: Jonathan Luna
Story By: Sarah Vaughn
Art By: Jonathan Luna
Cover By: Jonathan Luna
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: FEB150588
Published: April 29, 2015



Preview: Alex + Ada #13

Alex + Ada #13

Story By: Jonathan Luna
Story By: Sarah Vaughn
Art By: Jonathan Luna
Cover By: Jonathan Luna
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JAN150668
Published: March 18, 2015

Disaster closes in on Alex and Ada.


Preview: Alex + Ada #12

Alex + Ada #12

Story By: Jonathan Luna
Story By: Sarah Vaughn
Art By: Jonathan Luna
Cover By: Jonathan Luna
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: NOV140641
Published: January 28, 2015

Grave danger.


Preview: Alex + Ada #11

Alex + Ada #11

Story By: Jonathan Luna
Story By: Sarah Vaughn
Art By: Jonathan Luna
Cover By: Jonathan Luna
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: OCT140729
Published: December 17, 2014

Ada needs to find a balance between freedom and safety. Alex’s friends have opinions on his relationship with Ada.


Around the Tubes

The weekend is fast approaching. And there’s lots of new comics yesterday to keep folks busy. What has everyone enjoyed so far?

Around the Tubes

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Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Alex + Ada #11

Comic Vine – All-New Captain America #2

CBR – Batman #37

Comic Vine – Batman #37

Comic Vine – Batman and Robin #37

Comic Vine – Manifest Destiny #12

Comic Vine – Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #8

Comic Vine – Ms. Marvel #10

Comic Vine – The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures

Comic Vine – Scarlet Spiders #2

CBR – Wytches #3

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