As with each of the Alex+Ada issues, Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn share only a small part of the story. Here in issue #4 Alex continues with his venture into Prime Space, seeking answers and information about how to help Ada become all she can be. Luna and Vaughn have strung us along for three issues now, however in this one things take an interesting turn. The artwork continues in subdued tones but lends to the quietness of the story so far. We also see a couple more characters introduced.
While in the Degrees of Freedom forum Alex meets two people willing to help him find the answers he’s looking for. After a bit of chat at the virtual bar, where it is established that no names should be shared, the three head into a secure room where they are certain not to be “overheard”. One of the new characters is a man named Levi. The other is a young boy android who chooses to keep his name to himself. The conversation between Alex and these two involves questions meant to help them and Alex figure out just what it is he’s looking for. It is concluded that Alex wants Ada to become sentient.
After further talk they find Alex worthy of the secret they hold; Ada was made with everything she needs to become sentient, “she needs to be unlocked. She needs to be freed”. This is a tricky process and it comes with a fee. There is a chance that Ada won’t make it through the process and it could fry her android brain. Alex is given a card with the fee and a time and place to meet the anonymous boy android and backs out of Prime Space to give it some serious thought. After attempting a conversation with Ada about it all, he makes his decision and a phone call.
A paranoid Alex finds himself with his android at a hotel on the edge of nowhere. They enter the room and Alex is asked to hand over the fee. “Four cheesesteaks from Philly. With Cheesy Wheezy, as requested”. After all even an android has to eat, right? Alex instructs Ada to do as the young android asks and the process begins. The boy must use a hard line to hack into her head, as wireless is too unreliable and too unsecured. In order to do this the android must make an incision in the back of Ada’s head to get to her neural port. This causes Ada to exclaim, “Ouch! You’re hurting me.” which alarms Alex. The android boy explains she can’t actually feel pain in the physical sense – not yet anyway. And so he begins.
After several hours the boy wakes Alex and informs him that he is finished and that Ada needs to be rebooted. Alex gently explains to her that he needs to turn her off and will turn her right back on. He reaches up. He touches her ear. Her eyes close. He pinches her ear again and her eyes open. Grabbing her head in apparently excruciating pain Ada lets out a long, anguished wail.
Luna and Vaughn are doing a great job of leaving us with cliffhangers. The muted tones of a quiet story are slowly ebbing away to reveal some exciting twists that have us eagerly reaching for the next issue. What happens to her?! Join us here at Comic Booked for the rest of my full-issue reviews. And definitely get copies of this intriguing story.