The original video game series of Life is Strange captivated its players when it released a few years, so much so that it led to a prequel and a sequel set in the same universe. Titan Comics have recently published the first part of a comic mini-series too; featuring the memorable protagonists of the original Life is Strange, Max and Chloe. Now we’re here to check out Life is Strange Issue #2 to discover if the relatively slow start can pick up some pace and subsequently manage to fully rekindle the magic we once felt.
Last time out, the time-bending Max Caulfield and her best pal Chloe Price were enjoying life after the horrendous storm that may, or may not, have come about as a result of Max messing with time. Nevertheless they settled down for a year in Seattle, before receiving an invite back to Arcadia Bay for a ceremony commemorating the disaster. Reluctant to return, they opted to ignore the opportunity, but when Max started to experience nose bleeds and seemingly kept drifting into another timeline, there was no choice other than to go home to try and find a way to resolve the situation.
Issue #2 begins with their road trip back to where it all occurred and both are naturally nervous to revisit the place that brings back far too many bad memories. There’s bickering, car problems and other strange happenings, but nothing that’d be seen as overly exciting from the narrative. It’s mainly a back and forth of dialogue between these teens who are harbouring their own issues, which is only made worse by the fact that they really don’t know how to help each other deal with the situation at hand.
Upon arrival at Arcadia Bay, Max’s powers go into overdrive, leading to visions of a sort that only she can see and also one that even Chloe can partake in. It’s almost as if Max is going through numerous possibilities of how life could be in the present when alternate decisions had been taken into account. As someone who has played the game, I’d assume that there could only be the timeline of the storm and one in which Chloe died at the hands of Nathan Prescott, but this comic alludes to other possibilities too. That adds more confusion in some ways; however it’s intriguing to see how the effects of other decisions turn out.
The nostalgia of a game that’s only a few years old shouldn’t be such a major aspect, but getting a glimpse of what used to be the Two Whales Diner instantly cast my mind back to the times I’d spent there with these characters. It’s as much of a homecoming for Max and Chloe as it is for those who played Life is Strange and became emotionally invested as a result. Aside from the nostalgic elements though, the way the story has been written by Emma Vieceli to incorporate the numerous possible timelines is equally a draw for the readers.
The sheer subtlety seen in some of the less obvious timeline deviations is brought about brilliantly via the artwork. Not to mention the lovely recreation, and also the desolate version, of the Two Whales Diner, which are in stark contrast to each other and drawn perfectly to suit the two states. That’s the really impressive part; seeing familiar locations within Arcadia Bay in a state of disarray and then, occasionally, in a rather good condition. Once more the attires, and alternate outfits, are exactly what you’d expect the protagonists to wear too.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if the short term pay off of Max and Chloe returning home would be enough to ensure Issue #2 of the Life is Strange comic series kept the interest of the reader. But it’s safe to say it certainly should do, whilst enabling you to reminisce of the good times as well as encapsulating you with the crazy happenings going on in the present. There’s a fair bit of emotional weight to it too. You may not fully realise everything that’s occurring with the first read through and so it almost begs to be read again, which is fine, because you’ll then understand how cleverly the multi-verses are intertwining.
Life is Strange Issue #2 is more than satisfying and now the wait for the next issue can’t pass by soon enough!