Alex + Ada continues its patient, measured approach to storytelling with this latest instalment. With the first few issues establishing our main characters, showing Alex overcoming his initial shock at the ‘gift’ of a robot companion from his grandmother, and setting up the growing social and political issues of the world at large, things finally kick into gear here as the meat of the story comes to the fore.
While the majority of this issue is devoted to a sit-down conversation between Alex and a pair of new characters in the virtual reality private forum “Degrees of Freedom”, the book still flows extremely well, providing a thoughtful take on a truly intriguing issue. Going into this series, I pictured this title as being a ‘guy falls in love with a robot’ tale in the same vein as Joaquin Phoenix movie ‘Her’, but in reality, Alex + Ada could not be further from that point. At least not yet, anyway.
Alex’s feelings for Ada most certainly could not be classed as love, and instead fall somewhere between pity and admiration as he finds himself consumed by a growing need for her to be more. More real, more aware, more… sentient. It’s this philosophical conversation that takes up the bulk of this issue, and while the slow pace may put a lot of people off, I find that it works perfectly with such an thoughtful premise.
As usual, Jonathan Luna’s artwork is minimalistic yet detailed, and with a lack of action (or even motion, for the most part), the story is told here by the body language and facial expressions of the characters. And while this style may not work for a lot of titles, the stark, sterile feel helps immeasurably to convey the sanitised version of the future that this story takes place in.
The drama is ramped up in the latter part of the issue, with the final page offering up all sorts of exciting questions going into issue five. Intelligent, believable sci-fi is a rarity these days, and while a lot of people will be groaning at the snail-like pace and lack of action, Alex + Ada has the potential to be something truly special as the series continues to pick up steam.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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