The Life is Strange comic series from Titan Comics, which is based on the episodic video game of the same name, was originally meant to be a mini-series consisting of only four issues. Needless to say, it clearly did well enough to earn the opportunity to continue the narrative further, with a fresh story arc titled ‘Waves’ arriving that focuses on the time-bending Max Caulfield and her best pal, Chloe Price, once more. So, without any more delay, let’s delve into Life is Strange Issue #5 and find out if it’s going to be making some waves on the comic book scene.
Should you have not read the previous issues (#1, #2, #3, and #4), I’d recommend turning away immediately to avoid a fair few spoilers. Up to this point, Max has been experiencing all kinds of problems related to her special powers, with them having serious effects on her health. We were introduced to the idea that many timelines have become intertwined as a result of Max’s decision making, especially where Chloe is concerned. The only potential solution is to sacrifice the life she’s made and find a timeline that’s untouched, in the hope that it’ll fix everything.
Issue #5 picks up on an ordinary day for Max, who’s now residing in Santa Monica and shares an apartment with Chloe. Also living there – and no longer deceased – is Chloe’s girlfriend Rachel Amber, with all three getting on tremendously well for the time being. The scene is set for the comic to divulge what each of them does on a daily basis; Rachel’s trying to make ends meet whilst pursuing an acting career, Chloe repairs cars, and Max earns money from her skills in photography. On the whole it’s a very slow-paced, but methodical, way of telling this part of the story and there are a couple of moments that stand out.
An intriguing aspect of proceedings is how our time-jumping protagonist tries to cope with the fact that she’s hopped from a world in which her friendship with Chloe was blossoming into something more, to an alternate reality where she has to internalise all these feelings and watch on as a third wheel. It’s really well written to ensure you feel for Max, who’s rather lonely in truth whilst everyone else from her previous life is seemingly having a jolly good time and are none the wiser about the devastating storm etc.
There are a few moments that are throwbacks to the previous issues creating a sense of déjà vu for the reader as well as the characters – it’s a nice touch, despite still being recent memories. In order to push the narrative on though, a couple of new personalities are introduced too and one of them is a rather mysterious chap. The strange thing is, it’s as if only Max can see him and, without spoiling the ending too much, I think he’s going to play a major role in the upcoming issues.
Moving onto the artistry and the new beach environment featured really does lead to some lovely colours being used, especially as the extra vibrancy here helps to counter-balance the more drab looking workshop and apartment. It’s also great to see wardrobe choices for the main characters’ attires come across so natural, with plenty of thought going in to the design. Taking into account everything known about these characters from the video game escapades and beyond, the outfits are spot on to suit them.
Life is Strange Issue #5 opts for a slow beginning to the ‘Waves’ narrative arc, in order to get the reader familiar with the new timeline that Max has wound up in. Fortunately, the chemistry between her, Chloe, and now Rachel, should carry you through the issue; with their banter and relationships offering an intriguing facet of the story. There always needs to be a hook to draw you in for another issue and the very last panel absolutely delivers that hook as it’ll lead you to ponder what it could possibly mean.
A good comic is one that’s enjoyable to read, but a great one leaves you with questions that need answering as soon as possible. Issue #5 lands somewhere in between and so it’s worth a look as long as you’re up for a bit of drama and mystery.