There have been some exemplary science fiction works in comics over the last few years, the most notable being Saga and Black Science, two fine works which pay homage to classic stories such as Romeo & Juliet and Lost in Space while retaining originality by bringing something new to their pages. Aside from well-crafted characters and compelling storylines, these comics excite with their depiction of worlds and places that cannot be seen anywhere else.
Then there is ALEX + ADA, a graphic novel which misses the mark on all these qualities and manages to be, at best, a viable option for sleep aid.
ALEX + ADA follows the cliche-ridden story of a socially awkward recluse who comes into the possession of an attractive service android. What follows is a boring, snooze-ridden chain of events hardly worth mentioning in a paragraph. Suffice it to say whatever deviations to long-standing tropes the story did contain were replaced with all the more the monotonous scenes in which absolutely nothing happened.
Alex is a mundane character. Readers will feel more inclined to hit him over the head with a mallet than emphasize with him. He is a lackluster lead who feels like background art in his own story; it often feels like the character himself does not want to be present. Readers who insist on reading this comic to the end may find themselves connecting with android herself though. It could be argued that this was cleverly done to juxtapose the two characters, however it still fails to invigorate the narrative in any way.
The story’s heavy focus on dialogue is one of the reasons it fails to entice. While great dialogue can help stories which lack explosive action or altercations, it does not help to liven the experience of reading ALEX + ADA. More often than not, the dialogue is unimportant to the story, just taking up space. A majority of the casual conversations in the story is are disguised as less than subtle social commentaries which contribute to more eye rolling than philosophical pondering. Worse, the abundance of dialogue increasingly becomes an invitation to skip ahead to the next page.
To artist Jonathan Luna’s credit, the artwork is fine. While simplistically rendered, there is a smoothness to it like the matte glaze of a photograph. However, it is also as stale as week-old bread and about as interesting to look at as paint drying. The majority of the scenes drawn are characters sitting and talking with one another. However, there are scenes which push the envelope in exciting ways: sometimes characters can be seen standing when they talk.
ALEX + ADA tries to be a pensive science fiction drama, but only succeeds in boring its audience with excessive dialogue and dull artwork. It is a piece of regurgitated ideas which fails to differentiate itself in genre or medium.