Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn “Alex + Ada Volume 1” (Image, 2014)
Alex is an office worker in the near future. We don’t know exactly what he does, but he does have a nice private office. He’s depressed and lonely. And so his wealthy (and creepy) grandmother gives him a sexbot. OK, that’s not what they call it, but it’s pretty clearly what it is. But don’t worry, granny has one too!
Alex is a good guy, & he’s really uncomfortable with this situation. It particularly bothers him that his sexbot Ada (he has named her himself) has no decision making abilities of her own. So Alex does what anyone would do, namely meet up with some sketchy people on the internet & illegally unlock Ada.
This is just the first volume of the comic, and quite frankly it feels like it. The story is simple and feels more like the setup than and real independent story arc.
I think that perhaps the more interesting question is why is this a comic? When I think of the things that comics do well, this story has none of those elements. It’s a small story that could easily be told on television with minimal special effects. It’s more of an interior piece with the real “action” being the emotions of Alex (and potentially Ada, I suppose). There’s a lot of static poses and scenes of simply conversation. Perhaps, then it’s an end run for a screenplay, at a time when properties derived from comics are so hot.
I think that the reader’s level of enjoyment with vary with their identification and sympathy with our two title characters. And to be honest, in this volume, Ada is barely a character. Thematically, it’s difficult to judge because the book feels like it is just beginning.