It’s Wednesday and that means new comics. Let Deadshirt steer your wallet in the right direction with reviews (with preview pages) of titles out today from Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Boom! Studios, Archie, MonkeyBrain, Oni, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Action Lab, and more!
Alex + Ada #9
Written by Sarah Vaughn (script and story) and Jonathan Luna (story)
Art by Jonathan Luna
Each month, there’s no comic I look forward to more than Alex + Ada, the sci-fi character drama from Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna. The series focuses on Alex, a lonely twentysomething, and Ada, the android companion whom he received as a gift but then chose to awaken to full sentience. Visually striking, emotionally compelling, and potentially extremely poignant, Alex + Ada would be the talk of the country if it were an AMC drama rather than an Image comic.
Last issue, after being rejected romantically by Alex on the grounds that he technically owns her and that’s fucking weird, Ada took off in the hopes of starting a new life for herself. Meeting up with fellow awakened androids, Ada discovers firsthand the dangers of just being AI in an increasingly terrified and divided society. Meanwhile, Alex has to explore his own intentions, and accept that his choice to do right by Ada may mean living without her.
What continues to amaze about Alex + Ada is the way that it maturely and subtly comments on current-day issues of inequality in gender, sex, race, sexual orientation, as well as the looming, not yet vital issues of artificial life and rights. Alex is an incredibly well-meaning guy, but like many progressives in power (male feminists, for example) he has to accept that doing good has to be about more than just feeling like “one of the good ones,” he has to follow through on his promise to give away some of the control that he has unfairly received by birth. Ada is likewise interesting, succeeding at being her own character and not just a proxy for victimized groups. I’m not one of those comics readers who wants to see everything turned into a TV show, but in this case it’d be great to see that happen, if only for this story to receive a wider audience.
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The Brides of Helheim #1
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Joëlle Jones
Colored by Nick Filardi
Lettered by Crank!
A monster has been attacking the village and after it kills her father, Sigrid goes to the one place she’s always been told to go: a walled settlement said to be populated by witches and monsters. She finds both and asks their help. So begins the second volume of Cullen Bunn & Joëlle Jones’s viking saga. Dirk, the hero of the previous volume, is now undead and working with his former witch enemies to find a sorcerer, but first there’s this monster to deal with.
While the story is kind of thin, Jones’s artwork is rich. Her style is best described as animation-inspired but doesn’t look static and keeps the action moving at a brisk pace. The characters seem to be always in motion throughout the comic and the art really conveys that well. This is a good introduction to the world of Helheim, even for those (like myself) who haven’t read much of the previous volume. It’s pretty evident that Sigrid will be joining Dirk as he sets off to find the sorcerer and gives them a short adventure to get to know them before plunging headlong into the books’ full story arc.
– Jason Urbanciz
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