Originally published at InfiniteComix.com
In this series’ penultimate issue, things did not go well for the titular couple Alex and Ada. Fleeing from authorities, Ada appeared to be fatally shot and Alex ended up arrested. There has been no improvement in the situation as Alex + Ada #15 begins. In fact, it’s even worse, as Alex is sentenced to 25 years while Ada ends up in an FBI storage facility. Eventually, Alex is released into a world he barely recognizes.
As the issue spends a good chunk of its pages jumping forward in time, it is less focused on the romance that has been front and center for the previous 14 issues, instead highlight the social and political themes which have served as the narrative’s backdrop. Much of Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna’s story has dealt with prejudices faced by this world’s androids, a reflection of the various prejudices against people in our society.
Even though Vaughn and Luna put Alex through a crucible, there is an underlying sense of hope coursing throughout the pages. The prejudices against sentient androids persist, but they have won civil rights from the government. This has been a common narrative throughout history, from the Women’s Suffrage Movement of the late 19th and early 20th Century to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Even today, this remains relevant as the LGBT community pushes for the same civil liberties that the masses enjoy. As much as detractors will fight tooth and nail against it, change like this is inevitable.
The creative team also uses this issue to take a stance on the judicial and prison system, and how many inmate remain incarcerated for crimes which have since been legalized. There is also the matter of how inmates are not well prepared to be reintegrated into society, as Alex – once a an initial adopter of new technologies – is left feeling “primitive” by friends and strangers alike.
Despite these strong social themes, at its core, Alex + Ada remains a love story, and that love story takes center stage in the final act. When the titular couple is eventually reunited, the reader is put through a gambit of emotions. Even an android will find it difficult to close the final page with dry eyes. It may have flown under the radar compared to other Image titles, but Alex + Ada is as good as comics can get.