Volume 1 // Volume 2 // Volume 3
authors: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn | genre: Graphic Novel/Science Fiction | rating: 4/5
From JONATHAN LUNA (GIRLS, THE SWORD, ULTRA, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.
For the past year or two, I’ve slowly entered the world of graphic novels. I’ve read graphic novels before – my sister and I enjoyed the children’s series Babymouse when we were younger, and I’ve always loved comic strips such as Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts, but I had never really explored the world of books that combined intriguing stories with gorgeous illustrations. The world of Alex + Ada has shown me that there’s a lot more to graphic novels than pretty pictures.
01: Identity Issues
Much of this series focuses on being A.I.s to life and giving them a chance to make their own decisions. This means that they have to discover themselves, which can be difficult when someone else (a company or your owner) decides who you are first. For example, gender is a big thing – as Alex learns more about androids and what kind of lives they can lead, he meets androids that are just as realistic as he is – which means they can struggle with gender identity as well. Just because they were created as a female android, for instance, doesn’t mean they are a woman once they’re “woken up.” I think this series did a great job of exploring identity issues within a science fiction genre while still being very realistic.
02: Questions About Artificial Intelligence
Which leads me to the next bit – an in-depth look at artificial intelligence. At what point do these things stop being robots and androids and become their own person, alive or not? Even though androids such as Ada seem completely alive, they aren’t really people until their owner goes through the difficult and often dangerous process of giving them their own mind, their own life. But at what point does this happen – is it when the androids look like regular people, like Ada, or are earlier generations, that are just as “alive” but definitely look like robots, just as “human”? These books really made me think about artificial intelligence in a way I’ve never done before.
03: A Future World That Feels All Too Real
As technology gets more and more advanced and personalized, it’s not that difficult to see this world becoming our own. And, even if we don’t live in this world yet, there are many issues that we have today outside of the A.I. world, so this book felt so relevant, even when there were androids running around and extremely-realistic fake limbs.
If you like graphic novels, this series is for you. If you like science fiction, this series is for you. If you like books that focus on identity issues, both through metaphors and realism, then this is the series for you. And, since it’s a graphic novel series that’s bound into just three volumes, it’s a breeze to read through whether you were as moved as I was or not.