This deceptively simple graphic novel will ultimately draw comparisons to motion pictures Her, Blade Runner, AI, I Robot, and many others. Not just because they feature artificial intelligence but because they explore what it means to be sentient. And despite its length, the title hasn’t demonstrated how it will deviate from the explorations in those movies. But the illustration work is beautiful – simple, clean, and fluid.
Story: Alex lives a lonely life after the loss of a woman special to him. He’s going through the motions of living but not really feeling anything. His grandmother decides to send him a special birthday present – an android companion. She’s enjoyed her companion and wants to give him the same pleasure. Ada’s arrival appalls Alex – in a time when sentient robots are wreaking havoc on the community and fiercely outlawed, he fears reprisals and disgust from society and friends. But as he gets to know Ada, he wants more from her – he wants to make her ‘real’ so she can feel life as he does. He wants a companion, not a robot. And he will find a way to awaken Ada, despite the consequences.
The art is deceptively simple but very expressive. The story is given room to breathe and flows smoothly. As such, this isn’t an action piece and it definitely is not about adventure. The colors are very muted – as much as the emotions.
But the story can also be oddly disaffecting. The familiarity of the plot line and the long time it takes for something substantive to happen (i.e., the awakening of Ada) means readers will have to be patient to see where the author is going to take the story. Despite the size of this volume, we don’t get any indication of where this will go and if it will veer into a more original story.
The author makes great use of the graphic novel format and skill of the illustrator. Nuances and emotions are well represented and that is definitely the strength of this title.
Reviewed from an ARC.