Time is a funny old thing. It can heal, it can destroy, it will always flow and its passing will always have consequences for every single being. Those consequences can be complicated and, unless someone is hiding something, we’re all experiencing time in a linear way. Imagine then how much more complicated life becomes when you experience timelines crossing over, each with their own different realities. That’s where we find Max Caulfield as the first arc in its sequel comic book series heads to its conclusion.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR LIFE IS STRANGE GAME & COMIC
Along this arc, Max and Chloe have been drawn back to Arcadia Bay a year after the town has been destroyed by the storm, with lots of characters meeting their end in the process. The two have been living in Seattle, but felt it was right to go back for the morbid anniversary of the events that changed their lives forever. What is meant to be a sombre but uneventful trip becomes anything but, as Max experiences different realities overlapping with the one she is in, with Chloe also experiencing some of the changes.
In the fourth episode of this comic Max and Chloe hit another major milestone when it comes to choices that have to be made. Max is now at a stage where lots of different timelines become visible to her, each with their own various outcomes that spiral beyond the choices you may have made in the games, from Chloe not being around to Max being somewhere else, or even Amber being a part of their lives. Max struggles to work out just how many realities there are and even if she is in the right one herself. Perhaps this ability to see alternate realities is a consequence of time itself urging her back to the correct path so it can become fixed once more.
As before, the character dialogue has been written well by Emma Vieceli, distinguishing both Max and Chloe’s mannerisms through their speech. The artwork is as good as ever with both Claudia Leonardi and Andrea Izzo continuing to use different hues to distinguish different timelines, making it easy to pinpoint which ones are being experienced.
As a conclusion, the ending is quite bittersweet as the themes of lost love, lost friendships, and sacrifices are prominent in the plot. But alongside that are the themes of fresh starts, enduring relationships, and bonds that are hella tight. While this particular arc has run its course, the comic series is far from over, with the final panel doing a great job of showing that something great that is happening in the present will have consequences further down the line. We’ll see how it plays out in the new arc when that arrives in May.