In 2015, two teenagers took the gaming world by storm as the stars of the narrative driven episodic game, Life is Strange. Max Caulfield and Chloe Price won everyone over with their teenage angst, wonderful friendship and their ability to overcome any obstacle – even death – thanks to Max’s power of time manipulation. Due to the massive success of their story, Titan Comics have brought them into the comic book universe. The first issue of Life is Strange is here and so it’s time to find out whether this latest foray is worthwhile for fans of the series.
The idea behind Life is Strange Issue #1 and the comics that follow it in this mini-series is to look at one possible outcome after the events occurring in the inaugural season of the game. What if Max let the hurricane rip through Arcadia Bay, instead of undoing all of the meddling she’d done to the timeline? How would Max and Chloe handle life after such a catastrophic decision, knowing the huge sacrifice that was made to enable their lives to stay entangled? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out.
Issue #1 opens with Max pondering ‘The Butterfly Effect’ and how a decision that can seem to be a small one, could have a bigger impact than is imaginable. She’s a little worse for wear and given that she’s having philosophical thoughts, alone, you know something terrible has already happened. This intrigues the reader into wanting more, before it then swiftly jumps – presumably backwards – to Seattle. Here, Max and Chloe are showing signs of being settled in with a whole raft of new friends a year on since the incident. The news bulletin on the TV ensures they don’t forget it either, mentioning Arcadia Bay and the dreaded Prescott family. Nevertheless, they try to ignore it, focusing on helping their pals who are a part of a band, The High Seas; Chloe is their design artist, whilst Max takes the band’s photos.
It’s actually quite a mundane beginning to the comic, coming across as a bit dreary and slow-going, to the point where some may turn away. Don’t though, because strange things are afoot for Max, who appears to be dipping in and out of different timelines within the multi-verse, getting confused about what’s going on around her. Initially, it’ll confuse you too, however it really turns Max’s life upside down and once Chloe figures out that it’s harming her best friend, she knows they’re going to have to return to the place that haunts their past…
In terms of writing, the dialogue for Chloe is so on-point that you’ll be reading it and hearing her voice from the game in your head. That’s not to say the rest of the characters’ words aren’t up to standard, they are, but no one really knows these supporting characters so it’s hard to judge those in the same vein. I do like that there seems to be a couple of outspoken people, which creates a decent balance with the likes of Max and the other, quieter folk. What’s instantly apparent is the strength of the bond between Max and Chloe, which is lovely to see.
The artwork ensures that the two main protagonists are instantly recognisable and the attires, despite being simplistic, are very appropriate in terms of their differing styles. All of the minor characters have their own fashionable approach to enable them to stand out from each other and offer a little taste of the personalities each has. There aren’t many locations featured, but there’s a bathroom that’s full of graffiti that is super cool and there’s even some art on an external wall, done by Chloe – it really stands out and is brilliantly drawn.
Issue #1 of Life is Strange is very much a slow-burner, but it does lay down the necessary foundations to build upon. Just when you may feel a bit of tedium creep in, the story gets cranked up and you seriously begin to worry for Max’s health. Whilst it kick-starts the next chapter of this journey, it’s nice that there are references to life before the hurricane came and I’m intrigued as to how it’ll pan out when they revisit the place that felt the wrath of their choices.
Bring on the second issue!