Alex + Ada is a new Image title written collaboratively by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn. Sarah Vaughn seems to be a relative new-comer while Jonathan Luna has a longer resume as one half of the Luna brothers, known for titles like Girls, The Sword, and Ultra.
In addition to co-writing the story, Jonathan Luna is also providing the art for this series. In Alex + Ada, Luna continues to employ his typical artistic style, which I would describe as quiet, cinematic, and occasionally exceptional. Mostly, the panels are consistent, clear, well planned out, can be scanned quickly by the eye, and disappear seamlessly into the story.
Luna’s characters are frequently sporting melancholy expressions and a slightly stiff posture, as though they are uncomfortable around each other. Whether intentional or not, this slightly robotic portrayal of even the human characters, this visible sense of anxiety mixed with emptiness, emphasizes what is likely to become a theme of alienation in the face of pervasive technological advancements.
Androids are not addressed in detail during this first issue. Instead, we are given a slow paced, unassuming introduction to business as usual in Alex’s life. Waking alone, but surrounded by his gadgets, lonely amongst a crowd of friends at his birthday party, and pining over an ex-girlfriend; the real story here is Alex’s existential crisis, not the science-fiction setting. It remains to be seen if the addition of a female android (probably called Ada? we haven’t been formally introduced yet…) will inspire positive, uplifting storylines, or reveal strangeness and conspiracy.
What really excites me about this #1 is the potential for subsequent issues to explore some of my favorite ideas. Among the aspects I find interesting: there’s the suggestion of new artificial intelligence with careful consideration of the legislative and social repercussions, there are rival technological corporations expanding their spheres of influence, questions of privacy, personification of technology, technologically motivated isolation, cars that drive themselves... I really can’t help but compare the debut of Alex + Ada to Isaac Asimov with his style of gentle and pragmatic sci-fi.
Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn are working towards building well developed world for readers to explore. Those who want to escape from their daily lives - without going too far - will probably enjoy this accessible introduction for its thematic potential and quality of execution.