Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn – Review

Alex and Ada

Book Jacket:

From Jonathan Luna (Girls, The Sword, Ultra, Spider-Woman: Origin) and Sarah Vaughn (Sparkshooter) comes Alex + Ada, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.

You can read an excerpt here.


This book is quietly hypnotic – bittersweet, romantic, desperate, and hopeful, all at the same time.

Alex + Ada is the story of the relationship that develops between a man and his android – and what that relationship comes to mean, to them privately and to the world at large. And I really, really loved how very focused and personal this story was – it’s intimate and character based in a way that defies the common expectations of a comic book story – and how affecting it became as a result. This book is quiet and deliberate and delightfully understated, and yet it will still get you where you live – because this is a relationship drama, in the truest sense of the word. It’s not about insta-love; it’s not about lust or desire – it’s about two lost, lonely people (for lack of a better word) who essentially get stuck in a room together, and so are forced to get to know each other, in painfully honest ways. It’s about (human) connection, and what that means, even if one side isn’t a human at all – and as such it was just quietly fascinating.

Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t larger issues at play here – the opposite, in fact. Ada is without question an android; an artificial intelligence – and while this story never diverts its focus from the personal sides of its leading pair, it does manage to build a healthy amount of interesting questions into the fabric of its storytelling, in terms of what sentience is and how society treats androids, and of what it means to be a self-aware possession; a target of growing hostility and fear. And those dynamics bear down on Alex and Ada’s relationship in all kinds of interesting ways – co-dependency and responsibility, power dynamics, free will and self-reliance, societal preconceptions, all are a part of this story, yet they are never what this story IS. Instead this story lives in awkward pauses and small facial expressions, as always it remains laser focused on our pair and the details of their daily lives. And yet, as the larger world inexorably starts to bear down on the two of them, it results in a delicious rising tension; a slow ratcheting of action and consequence, as the two are inexorably boxed into an ever shrinking room together. It is in fact the very definition of a slow burn – and I just could not look away.

Alex + Ada is the kind of story that inexorably draws you in, slowly and carefully – which is why I highly recommend starting with the trade paperback, as it really does take more than a couple of issues for the momentum and shape of this story to become clear. And I just utterly loved how quietly powerful this story became, even as it stayed true to its very simple, very human premise – a story of two people, getting to know each other. Which, after all, is something we all can relate to.

Byrt Grade: A-

As Levar Burton likes to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Multiversity Comics says (of issue #1):

Alex + Ada captures your eye with its simple beauty, then grabs your heart with the sometimes frighteningly identifiable pain of its protagonist.

The MacGuffin says (of issue #5):

Alex + Ada is not filled with explosions, violence or superheroics, instead filled with human drama on a very intimate level – a drama that can resonate with nearly anyone. It’s this effective use of drama and an examination of the human experience that makes the book so compelling, coupled with some interesting and striking art.

Geek Sushi says (of issue #9):

Johnathan Luna has been one of my favorite comic book authors of all time, but with Alex + Ada he has opened up a completely new genre. Android Romance. But this isn’t simply a story of two star-crossed lovers. No, this is a story of retribution, and justice. This is a story of the human condition and a telling of the heart in all its intricacies. I would be remiss in not mentioning the work of Sarah Vaughn, and the masterpiece of a script she has laid out for this issue. Stunning is not the right word, more…striking. That’s it, striking. I was anxious, I was depressed, and I was angry. The full gamut of emotions were pulled out of me by this story.