The second volume of Alex + Ada picks up right where the first volume left off with no summation to remind the reader of what had transpired (a pet peeve of mine). So, readers, read volume 1 first. Ada is newly awakened and now a sentient android. At first, she is content to explore within the limitations of the house. But soon, she wants to explore the wider world—a world that has recently passed a new anti-sentient robot act.
A world where her very existence is illegal.
Alongside this chilling premise, another thread running throughout the book is Alex’s growing attraction to Ada. He walks the line between respectful and timid. He wants Ada to want him for himself, and not just because she is newly awakened with no other humans to interact with. Their burgeoning relationship is secondary to the issue of sentient robots and government control.
I like how smooth and clean Luna’s art is. It’s fairly minimalist, but that fits the tone of a world where so many interactions are flat, together with computers, rather than other people. There is not a lot of clutter or stuff in the backgrounds—I don’t know if this is commentary on their sterile future world or just the work of an an artist who didn’t want to draw a lot of stuff. Alex’s house looks like he lives in a Barbie® Dreamhouse.
Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna have put together a thoughtful plot. The characters develop at a steady pace and the back story gradually builds. They have included a lot of nice futuristic technology touches like having a phone-like device implanted in one’s head. While Alex has had one for a while and is used to it, you see a friend of his struggling to figure out how to give the device commands without having the device transmit every thought. The story is a good commentary on what gives a someone the right to personhood—people who are becoming more computer-like are still people, but computers becoming more human are not.
A fairly graphic sex scene towards the end of the book (although too risque, is covered) pushes the book into older teen territory, at least for a school library. However, it is a welcome addition for a public library collection or serious comic collector.
Alex + Ada, vol. 2
by Sarah Vaughn, Jonathan Luna
Art by Jonathan Luna
Image Comics, 2015
Publisher age range: 16+