From JONATHAN LUNA (THE SWORD, GIRLS, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter, Ruined) 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 and takes a huge risk to unlock Ada so she can think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. Can they survive the consequences?
Available as 3 volumes, 15 issues, or 1 complete Deluxe Edition.
A guest review from Matt (that's Love In Panels's tech-wizard):
ALEX + ADA is a single single science-fiction romance that spans three volumes. It takes place in a world that you can see in the not-too-distant future, which makes the conflicts seem more real and plausible. Instead of iPhones, we have a network that can be implanted directly into your brain; some people love it, but some older people prefer the more personal touch of a video call to relatives. Just like today, but advanced so that I'm one of the old people.
The male protagonist, Alex, is somewhat heartbroken, slogging through life in an office job. His well-meaning grandmother decides to send him a lifelike robotic Tanaka corporation companion, Ada. He's immediately put off by the idea, and with good reason. A few years back, there was a robot that achieved sentience and went on a killing spree. It's not the killing spree that frightens Alex - it's the fact that this creature, who must obey his every command, might be sentient, and completely unable to grant consent. The treatment of women is definitely a prominent thread through the entire series.
Alex decides not to return the unit - something he considers to be a moment of weakness. He starts to frequent internet forums where people discuss how to "unlock" the sentience within a Tanaka robot. When Ada wakes up, neither Alex, nor the world, are ready for what happens next.
The first volume is a story of emotional exploration and confrontation of bigotry. Lifelike robots fall into the concept of the "Uncanny Valley," and make some people extremely uncomfortable. They're all tattooed so that they can't be mistaken for a "real" person. The second volume deals with the social strain of someone trying to pretend to be something they're not - Alex and Ada have broken the law by unlocking her sentience, and Ada has a huge struggle ahead of her as an illegal entity. This volume is much more centered on her than on the romance. The final volume is much faster paced than the prior two, and relatively violent (compared to the rest of the series). This should not be mistaken for rushing the ending (as many comics do) - it feels well-planned and is the end of a steady accelerative curve. Their illegal actions have real world consequences, and the ending was definitely not what I expected, but gives a really great perspective.
It's a very delicate romance that blooms between Alex and Ada, as they didn't meet in the best of circumstances. One partner has trouble treating the other as anything but a child; the other has difficulty with the brand new emotions she's capable of. Somehow, with a lot of reliance on their mutual friends, they're able to work through. The ending is satisfying and heartwarming.
The artwork is very straightforward, and simple enough to convert the messages. It's a very sanitized future, which fits in well with so many of the themes. There's a similarity between the sanitization of AI and the meticulous nature of streets, offices, houses. The robots aren't the only AI creatures, and the remaining AI force keeps everything well-groomed, and you can feel it. This also leaves the facial features of many of the characters feeling a little bland, but it's made up for in body language.
Overall, I can definitely recommend this to fans of science fiction, romance, or both!
Amazon (Trade, comes out in July 2018)
Now releasing in monthly issues! Pick it up at your local comic shop, order direct from Image, or read digitally at ComiXology. All the places.
Lady “Poppy” Pyppenia is guarded by the Sleepless Knight Cyrenic, but becomes endangered when an assassin threatens her life in the new king’s reign. As Poppy and Cyrenic try to discover who wants her dead, they must navigate the dangerous waters of life at court, and of their growing feelings for one another. Writer Sarah Vaughn (ALEX + ADA, ETERNAL EMPIRE) and artist Leila del Duca (SHUTTER, AFAR) team up with editor / colorist Alissa Sallah and letterer Deron Bennett for this fantasy romance.
Review from Issue #1:
SLEEPLESS is a love story with a black princess (kind of) and her bodyguard who has sworn to not sleep (I think) in order to be her guard 24/7. It's written and illustrated by some really talented women. If you aren't sold yet, get thee to your local comic shop and flip through it.
The costuming looks renaissance-ish, with voluminous sleeves, high waistlines and billowing skirts and cloaks. The colors are rich and dark and it opens in a CRYPT. One of the first panels shows the two protagonists walking down a dark hallway full of bones, lit by a torch held aloft by the disembodied forearm bones of... someone.
It's spooky as all heck, but the two soon ascend to a coronation, where Poppy has to present a gift to the man replacing her late father, the former king. We quickly learn that all is not well, both because of her obvious apprehension about the coronation and because of looks and whispers as she approaches the throne. Her father's wife (not her mum) offers to take her away where she will be safe, but she says she needs to stay for her mother's return. Lastly? She's nearly assassinated.
And then it ends.
It's a hell of an issue and left me with so many questions. Who is trying to kill her and why? What's the history with her guard? Where is her mother and what is she doing there? In short - what is going on?! I can't wait to see what's next.