Ever wonder what it would be like to just give a thought and have your household objects respond? To think to the toilet “flush” and it would flush or to your tooth brush “speed three” and it would set to that speed? In the world of Alex+Ada, a recent comic series from Image Comics, that is what the world has come to. That and androids.
This comic has simple but direct artwork that speaks volumes for the storyline. There isn’t much action and there are no commentary text boxes but this comic doesn’t seem to need them. The art and the dialogue do more than lead you through the story, they bring you into it.
In the first issue we see Alex, a young man in his twenties. The world is awesomely futuristic where everything is super high-tech. Most, if not all, devices can be operated with a thought through an implant in the temple. We see this with Alex as he runs through his morning routine. A large holographic screen wakes him up by calling his name, he thinks directives to his toilet, his toothbrush, his closet and his shower and they respond. As he sits eating his breakfast a small floating robot brings him his coffee. This is even beyond the movie I, Robot. However, similar to I, Robot, the news talks of a massacre that happened a year ago where some robots from a company called Nexaware Corporation became self-aware and killed 34 people. According to the news the closing of that company made way for Prime Inc. which has become the top technology company in the world.
Alex seems to live a quiet, solitary, hum-drum sort of life, living alone – with his high-tech house, of course. He goes to work and has a few friends he hangs with, but at the end of the day returns to his lonely, empty house. Through dialogue with some of his friends we find out that he recently broke up with “Claire”. His friend Emily invites him to her house the following evening along with a few of his other friends to taste test her latest cake creation. We also meet his grandmother and can gather through his conversation that she is a wealthy woman who loves to have fun and doesn’t care much what others think of how she lives her life, which happens to be with an android companion referred to as a Tanaka X-5. She hints to Alex that she thinks it would do him good to have one of his own, to which he strongly objects.
In the evening he goes to his friend’s house and is met with a surprise birthday party. He enjoys the party right up until his ex is brought up and then decides it’s time to go. He returns home to his dark and empty house. He walks in the front door, thinks “lights” and is shocked to find a giant crate in the middle of his living room with the Tanaka Inc. symbol on the front. Opening the crate he finds a female Tanaka X-5 and instructions on the crate door to “pinch either ear to turn off or turn on”. He does so and the robot opens her eyes, steps out of the crate and greets him with “Hello”.
Johnathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn do a great job of bringing us an old story with a new twist. The simplistic artwork in no way makes it a simplistic story and there are more surprises in the subsequent issues. I like the way Alex+Ada #1 tells the story, not just through words, but through the expressions and actions conveyed through the art.