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Jonathan Luna

Alex + Ada: Volumes 2 & 3

Alex + Ada 2
Luna, Jonathan & Sarah Luna. Alex + Ada. 2015.

I tire of books going on endlessly, for I enjoy the series and anticipate the next volume, but then I eventually reach a point of lessening interest.  But  how can I stop when I’ve invested so much time in the series?! Here’s looking at you, TWD! This three volume series is a welcome change.

Volume 2: Definitely the bridge book of the series, it picks up where we left off in Volume 1– Ada is now sentient. So, what does it mean to be “human”? Ada experiments with her senses, tasting food and touching different textures to find out what she truly likes. Alex enjoys seeing how Ada experiences what he takes for granted. Alex courts her as he would a regular girlfriend, and later with Ada’s full consent, she participates in a full on sensory experience with him. Yeah, you know what I’m saying!  Unfortunately, all of this needs to remain hidden as turning androids into sentient beings is against the law. Alex and Ada try to hide Ada’s new intelligence from outsiders, but that turns out to be harder than expected. People’s scared, judgmental or deviant stereotypes of androids start to take their toll on them. Together in isolation they are happy, but that won’t work long term.

Volume 3: Living in seclusion is untenable, and Alex and Ada must go out in public more often. This leads to complications, as family and friends start to clue in about Ada’s abilities. Not only is their situation risky, there is growing danger in the larger world, as society struggles with what to do about sentient rights. Someone close to Alex betrays him and the FBI wants to make Alex an example to the community. Alex and Ada make a run for it, hoping to find sanctuary elsewhere. As not to spoil the ending, all I can say is- OMG the FEELS at the end!

The artwork is simple and clean, leaving the story to take center stage. As stated above, I was glad for the shortened arc and definite ending of the series, but the story could have been fleshed out a bit more. Maybe one more volume??  This thought provoking series made it onto my must buy list for the library!

-Nancy

Alex + Ada 3

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Alex + Ada: Volume 1

Set in the near future, Alex receives a gift of a realistic android from his grandma as a birthday gift. As Alex is still reeling from the breakup with his fiancé a few months ago, his grandma feels that the android will cheer him up and bring him fulfillment, as a male android has done for her. At first Alex is freaked out by this beautiful female robot, and considers returning her, but ultimately keeps her. The year anniversary of a massacre between humans and androids that had become sentient looms throughout the narrative, and new stringent rules are in place to block any androids from gaining real emotions. As Alex becomes attached to the android he names Ada, he longs for a more “human” connection with her and he eventually seeks an underground group of androids that have gained sentience. Through an illegal download she gains self awareness, but as this is against the law, she needs to mask her new abilities in public. The two of them face a very uncertain future, and this sci-fi romance has strong connections to the movies Blade Runner and Her. As this story feels current in time, it did make me think of the imminence of artificial intelligence, and what rights and laws will be appropriate if this story’s technology become feasible in our future.

The cover of this graphic novel stands out, as the wrapping that Ada was packaged in is draped over her head, and with her white clothing, it is an obvious symbol of a woman being offered as a bride. The art is very sparse, with an earth tones color palette. Black borders surround a standard layout, with some full page panels. However, the simplicity of the art lets the complexity of the human emotions shine through. Nothing distracts from the character-centric narrative, and the story is able to breathe.

The story continues for two more volumes, with a definite conclusion in Volume 3. I have read Volume 2 and have Volume 3 on hold. I look forward to seeing how the story will wrap up, and wonder what the future holds for Alex +Ada!

-Nancy

Luna, Jonathan & Sarah Vaughn. Alex + Ada. 2014.

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