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Alex + Ada #2

Written by Amanda Comi on Tuesday, December 17 2013 and posted in Reviews

Alex + Ada #2

A strong second issue hints at romance and quotes the laws of robotics.

The introductory issue of Alex + Ada really drew me in by giving glimpses of the larger world where Alex lives. I also enjoyed a quiet introduction to Alex’s daily existence, a ‘before’ picture of his life without Ada. That first issue, however, was conspicuously devoid of details about the titular Ada or the rules for how robots will work in this story. In stark contrast, issue #2 is all about Ada.

Issue #2 continues directly where issue #1 ended, with an un-named Ada activated only moments ago.  With efficiency which Microsoft or Apple would envy, Ada immediately outlines the terms and conditions for her model. She stops just short of reminding Alex to register her with Tanaka Corp to be included in special email offers. Unsurprisingly, Ada is a cross between Commander Data and R. Daneel Olivaw, programmed to follow Asimov’s Three Laws: (1) She will not harm humans, animals or property, but otherwise (2) she will follow all of Alex’s orders and (3) she will keep herself out trouble unless this would violate either of the first two laws. Many of Asimov’s stories revolved around paradoxical situations which strained the logical consistency of the laws. I’m curious to see how Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn develop their story in the context of this greater science fiction tradition. 

The dense lump of dialogue where Ada describes her functions is characteristic of this issue.  I understand that sometimes writers need to break from advancing the plot to provide explanation, but I doubt that readers were at risk of being confused. My preference would have been for less explicit description in favor of getting a sense of the overall direction of this series. Then again, the rapid exchange of basic details strangely echoes the excitement of a developing crush, where you stay up all night asking each other about favorite movies, favorite foods, favorite super heroes, and favorite series of orthogonal polynomials.

In the case of Alex and Ada, there was some urgency, but the actual details of their first conversation were mundane and anti-climactic. Alex and Ada don't quite have an exhilarating introduction, but there is a tiny sweet connection between them, the type where we might enjoy watching Alex as he realizes that he cares for Ada while Ada proves that she's worth caring about. 

Jonathan Luna continues to provide clean, modern artwork which complements the story well.  I really appreciate how Luna uses visual repetition to indicate timing and pauses throughout. Luna’s style is a bit static though, which could be distracting for some readers. While I find the stiff posture and expressions appropriate for this title, I do see this style of art as a potential complaint.

My optimism for this series is still based mostly on the teases from the first issue. There is obviously a budding romance between Alex and Ada, but so far this is handled without resorting entirely to romance novel clichés. The slower pace of the story may eventually lend itself more naturally to compilation in trade paperback form, but given my excitement for classic science fiction Alex +Ada will stay on my pull list. 


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About the Author - Amanda Comi

Amanda is grumpy and crunchy on the outside with a warm squishy center comprised primarily of human organs. Much like a cat, she is easily distracted by pretty colors or flashy bits of foil. If Amanda notices that you’re busy enjoying yourself, she will start complaining and sit on your keyboard until you pay attention to her. By day she wrangles numbers from a cubicle, by night she sleeps, and by weekends… she also sleeps. She believes that comics can be enjoyed by everyone and looks forward to proving that hypothesis. She just barely does the twitter thing as @hermitiancat, but that's a good place to find her.

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