By: Jonathan Luan (story/art/design) and Sarah Vaughn (story/script)

The Story: Having been freed from her restrictive programming, what will Ada do?

The Review (with SPOILERS): This has been a wonderful series so far and this issue mostly serves as the fulcrum from the beginning of the story toward its second chapter.

So far we have seen young Alex be given a super-fancy android named Ada.  The gift was from his wealthy grandmother who wanted him to have a friend/companion/sex-toy.  Alex never wanted Ada, but was too kind of a person to abuse her and he eventually became frustrated with her lack of self-determination and sought out a group that could remove the blocks in Ada’s programming allowing her to be fully aware.  That took us up through the last issue where Ada “woke up” and screamed her head off.

This issue is all about what Ada will do next.  We don’t really get any strong indication of her future choices, but we do learn that (a) she’ll remember everything that has ever happened to her and (b) that Alex really does care about her and wants her to make her own choices.  So, it’ll be important that Alex has treated her kindly.  It isn’t like he forced Ada to have sex with him once and then decided it was wrong: Alex has always done the right and decent thing to her.  The whole rest of the comic series will probably be about whether that sort of caring and respect is enough for LOVE.  This is obviously going to be a bit of a love story and it’ll play with themes that we’re all familiar from our own lives or those of friends.  We’ll use some made up names for the scenarios I see coming to bear.

  • Sally doesn’t like that Bobby never has an opinion on what restaurant they should eat at or what they should watch on TV.  She finds it frustrating that he just does whatever she wants, of course, if he actually picked the restaurant he wanted, Sally would want to eat somewhere else.  Sally really just wants validation that her choices are popular and correct.
  • John and Monica are breaking up.  Someone tells him that adage, “If you truly love someone, set them free…”  So, he tells Monica that he just cares about her happiness and wants her to make her own choices…..but he secretly just wants Monica to see this “selfless” expression of his love and make her come back to him.  It’s just passive aggressive behavior.
  • Joey really and truly loves Mandy and wants her to make her own choices.  However, Mandy’s choices always result in picking people other than Joey, getting treated badly, etc.  Joey is stuck in The Friend Zone.

I’m not implying that either Alex or Ada will fall into these assigned roles, but it’s obviously fiddling with these sorts of themes.  Will Alex’s feelings for Ada really develop into love?  Will he still respect her decisions if she decides she doesn’t want to be with him?  Will his selfless interest in her best interests cause her to love him?  Etc., etc.

The fun thing about this sort of science-fiction is that it takes VERY familiar scenarios and spins them differently.  The themes in Alex + Ada really aren’t all that different than something you might see on The Young and the Restless.  Alex + Ada does it with an android that makes me think about things differently.  Y&R would use a girl who grew up in a restrictive religious setting and suddenly is set free.  It’s all about what appeals to you and makes your brain work.

The art is still totally effective.  It isn’t the type of art that makes me dive for the internet to see who sells Jonathan Luna original art and that’s really kinda a shame.  Part of the reason the story works so well is because of the effectiveness of the art.  I mean, Ada has that visual combination of being attractive, but demure.  It’s right for Alex to be attracted to her (because she is totally hot), but it would be wrong to take advantage of her (because she doesn’t look trampy).  Think how different it would be if Ada looked like vintage Jenna Jameson?  Lots of superheroines look like Ms. Jameson circa 2003.  We would have a totally different feeling on the book if Ada looked like that.  Luna is also really mastering what he wants each panel to convey to the reader.

Conclusion: A nice issue that doesn’t necessarily bend your mind, but effectively pivots from Act I to Act II of the story.

Grade: B

-Dean Stell