As we head into 2019, we’re going to be looking beyond video games themselves and at the stories and world that are continued and expanded upon through other mediums, namely in books, comic books and film. ‘The Pull List’ will be focussing on comics, with reviews arriving on Wednesdays, the traditional release date of new issues.
The story of Max and Chloe resonated with a lot of people that played Life is Strange. Max’s ability to rewind time and the consequences of doing so left people guessing before it all culminated in a major decision that would permanently affect those who called Arcadia Bay home. Either way, there was disaster striking in some form.
While the video games then stepped back in time to expand on Chloe’s backstory in Before The Storm, and Life Is Strange 2 is following a new set of characters, a comic book series is telling the story of what happened after the first game. It follows a timeline in which Arcadia Bay was destroyed and sees how Max and Chloe have continued to live their lives since.
Issue #2 of the Life Is Strange comic starts with a recap of how Max and Chloe have adapted to living in Seattle, following their departure from Arcadia Bay and the loss of almost everyone they knew. In Seattle, Max and Chloe are working with a band called The High Seas and everything seems normal until odd occurrences begin to crop up, with timelines apparently crossing over with each other. At the same time, both receive an invite to return to Arcadia Bay to mark the first anniversary since the town’s destruction. After much deliberating the pair decide to go back to see if the source of these occurrences can be found there.
As one could imagine, there are a lot of emotions at play for both characters and it comes across well through the pages of the comic. The themes of grief and loss play out through this issue as the girls make their journey back to Arcadia Bay and you see the shock that is immediately felt as they see the town. The destruction is still there, but so are signs of rebuilding. All the sites of their memories are being removed, their links to the past fading away. This isn’t the biggest shock they both face, however.
As the pair venture through the ruins, the odd time occurrences begin again and events from different timelines overlap. Without giving too much away, we start to see how the world looks in the other potential timeline, following the game ending where Chloe wasn’t saved and Arcadia Bay wasn’t wiped out. It’s this crossover that begins to tear at the emotions of the pair, especially Chloe, as they’re confronted with the impact of their actions and what has been lost because of them.
The writing by Emma Vieceli captures the personalities of Chloe and Max from the game, and most of the scenes do have some impact. However, there are a few moments that seem to try a bit too hard to emphasise Chloe’s use of sarcasm as her shield against the world. The artwork itself looks good too with locations being instantly familiar on the page. The combined use of the art and colour by Claudia Leonardi and Andrea Izzo is impactful and works well to show where the timelines overlap. It helps to remove any source of confusion that could have been present as the events became intertwined with each other.
Life Is Strange #2 is an issue that sets up a lot of questions to find the answers to, and is the first big step for Max and Chloe to properly come to terms with what actually happened to Arcadia Bay. For almost a year they have lived in Seattle, immersing themselves in roles to push aside the memories of what happened. Now both will have no choice but to deal with the impact of leaving Arcadia Bay and all of its ghosts behind. It’s a story thread that could be absolutely fascinating if tackled properly in the upcoming editions.