When Titan Comics initially unveiled their comic adaptation of the hit Life is Strange video game, it was expected to be a four-part mini-series. As we’re about to delve into Life is Strange Issue #4 though, we now know it’s merely the closing chapter of the inaugural story arc and more dramatic events are yet to come. But will the latest issue manage to provide the answers that are needed about the increasingly complex lives of Max and Chloe, whilst still leaving the door ajar for future narratives?
Previously, in Issue #3, our dynamic duo were settling back in at Arcadia Bay and revisiting their old school ahead of the ceremony to commemorate the many people who died as a result of the storm. Max’s powers were rapidly getting more and more out of control, seeing her shifting in and out of multiple realities. For the nostalgic readers, this brought about some great moments in which memorable characters from the video game series turned up, including the best friend Warren who offers valuable insight into the mysterious ‘flickering’ that Max is experiencing.
The opening sections of Life is Strange Issue #4 are very surreal, with Max visualising and pondering over the multitude of timelines in existence, leaving her to wonder if she’s made the right choices in life. And that sets the tone for what develops into a deep look at the past, with her and Chloe discussing the different possibilities of how things could’ve played out. There’s certainly no shortage of dialogue here as the pages are fuller than ever and it leads to a real heart to heart between these two – the fear that the universe is going to take matters into its own hands allows them to open up.
I feel that’s the draw of this particular issue, with the nature of their blossoming relationship given plenty of time to reveal itself. The writer, Emma Vieceli, clearly understands these characters and the complicated feelings they posses, which is conveyed brilliantly. It’s been no secret that these best friends have a lot of love for each other, but there’s always been that question as to whether they want more from each other. At least now the picture that’s painted is a little clearer for us readers.
Aside from that, the resident musical ensemble The High Seas makes a cameo again as they’ve taken the trip all the way from Seattle to arrive at Blackwell Academy. Whilst the investment in that bunch is at its lowest, the fact that they’ve turned up to support their friends at this tough time is lovely to see. Will we see The High Seas again? I’m not too fussed to be honest, but should this be their last appearance, they will go out on a positive note.
As you can probably imagine, there’s not a whole lot in terms of excitement in this issue, however it does a good job in storytelling and there’s a lovely moment where both main characters accept that in order to stop the ‘flickers’, something drastic must be undertaken and so they make the most of the time they have left before actioning a plan. What’s surprising is how Max goes about fixing things and this leads to a climax that perfectly sets up the potential for more storytelling. You’ll have to read it to find out how exactly that’s been done.
The artwork is usually a major positive in the Life is Strange comics, but due to the general lack of jumping between timelines in Issue #4, there aren’t really any quirky little changes to look out for in the attires or environments, which makes it a bit less interesting. That doesn’t mean the visual standards have dropped though, as the dusky night sky and the dream-like world created for Max’s mind are very well drawn.
Life is Strange Issue #4 takes the emotional route of storytelling and gets into the depths of the relationship between Max and Chloe. It asks the questions and delivers enough answers that many fans of the series have been on tenterhooks just waiting to uncover. As long as you come into this chapter with a willingness to read some weighty dialogue, and don’t expect anything too thrilling, then you’ll certainly enjoy the culmination of the first narrative arc.
I’m interested to see where Max’s decision ultimately leads to because, after all, her actions will have consequences!