Warning: This review contains spoilers for Alex + Ada #1-10. Check out issue #1 on Comixology for $0.99.
With eleven issues under its belt, Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn is one of the best comics on the market that no one is talking about. Given the plethora of high-profile titles Image is pumping out at the moment, it’s not terribly shocking. However, Luna and Vaughn’s narrative continues to be an emotional, thought-provoking journey that is unparalleled in the landscape of today’s pop-entertainment.
Having ended the will-they-won’t-they romantic tension in the previous issue, Alex and Ada begin issue #11 with questions that sadly plague couples to this day. Reflecting the plights faced by same-sex and interracial couples, Alex + Ada #11 does not see the two evading nameless government agents, but is instead set in a fairly ordinary party. Despite Alex and Ada’s affection for each other, and the overall joy that they feel, there is a lingering sense of fear that hangs in the air. Their relationship is not only unconventional, but also illegal due to Ada’s sentience. Even in the presence of Alex’s close friends, the protagonists must [justifiably] hide their relationship because of societal fears against robots.
The pressures that mixed couples face in today’s society is the last thematic issue for Luna and Vaughn to tackle – a testament to both the writers’ talents and how the medium enables creators to expose on a variety of topical matters. The series began by asking readers a question common to science fiction: “What does it mean to be human?” It is a question which has remained unanswered [and it may never be], but that is just the hook to draw readers in before tackling larger issues.
Though the creators have used the series to address or expose real-world issues, at it’s core it is a romance – one of the most real and heartfelt depictions available to the masses. Despite the wonderful writing, it’s Jonathan Luna’s art that manages to bring this story’s emotions to the forefront. Though the characters themselves are too stiff and lifeless at times, it is because much of Luna’s energy is spent on the expressive facial features and symbolic settings.
Alex + Ada #11 may not be a perfect jumping on point for new readers, but it is a perfect progression for the series. Anyone that’s a fan of science fiction, romance, societal themes or all of the above owes it to themselves to pick this up. It continues to be one of the best, if overlooked, series being published today.