“Alex + Ada” #10 wraps up the second volume of Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn’s series, bringing to a head a lot of the plot points from issues #6-9 even as the book continues to look forwards to the future. While the overall path remains quite interesting, it’s hard to keep from feeling like the two relationship issues are rushed through just a bit here.
Vaughn and Luna do a good job with creating the overall world of “Alex + Ada,” from the reactions of Alex’s friends when they realize that Ada is self-aware, to the newscasts and the fear-mongering. The book’s heading in an interesting direction, as much social commentary as it is relationship-based. Items that are in the background one minute slip into the foreground soon after, and little ideas and surprises quickly blossom into something larger and more dangerous.
After playing out the relationship between Alex and Ada over the previous nine issues — and having it all come crashing down recently — this issue’s resolution to their problems seems a little too quick and tidy. The problem may have to be with it getting tied into Alex’s issues with his ex-fiancee Claire, who turned up in the previous issue. Alex’s emotions seem to almost turn on a dime as he goes from someone still hurt and crushed, to someone who can suddenly see the bigger picture and has to be the strong one. It’s a little frustrating because Alex’s imperfections are part of his charm, and it feels like he’s being thrust into the role of hero in order to get the story over the hump. In some ways it’s a minor issue — the end result is one that I suspect all readers will approve of — and with this out of the way we can get into the next stage of the story. But it’s a slight stumble in a book that normally quietly bides its time and moves at a much more relaxed pace.
Luna’s art is excellent as ever in “Alex + Ada” #10. The smooth lines that fans have been familiar with ever since he and his brother Joshua Luna burst onto the comics scene as the Luna Brothers are still present, here. He’s capable of soft, gentle changes from one panel to the next; when Alex and Claire are talking, their heads move slightly from panel to panel, their facial expressions shifting as each new sentence comes out. Luna also doesn’t skimp on the backgrounds; when we’re at Emily and Teji’s house, I appreciate that Luna takes the time to add in details like French doors, artwork over the couch, jackets hanging on pegs near the entrance. It helps make the world of “Alex + Ada” feel that much more realized.
“Alex + Ada” is still chugging along in a solid, enjoyable manner. With the sky the limit for future stories (even as they’re being set up here), this is the sort of book that could just as easily run for years as it could also move towards a specific climax. Either way, I feel like I’m on board to find out. If you haven’t read “Alex + Ada” up until now, the first ten issues form a perfect piece of material with which to enjoy, have a satisfying conclusion — and then find yourself wanting more.