In issue #6 of the Life Is Strange comics, Max’s story in another timeline progresses in a mix of down-to-earth themes and more sci-fi leanings. In fact, Max’s repeated attempts to live a normal life again clash with the specter of more interdimensional issues.
While grocery shopping, Max and Rachel get time to interact without Chloe around. It’s shaping up to be a nice moment between the two, but their potential heart-to-heart is interrupted when Max again runs into the mysterious stranger from the previous issue—but to Max’s surprise, Rachel can see him too. As far as she knows, Rachel has never been directly involved with anything like time travel or dimension-hopping, and has shown zero awareness of such things until now.
However, the apparent proof that the stranger exists on a normal plane of existence and isn’t the result of interdimensional hijinks proves more complicated. While Max chases the stranger and never loses sight of him, he seems to pop in and out of existence for other people.
At this point, the reader can feel Max’s mounting frustration and confusion. When the stranger finally confronts Max, her relief is clear. However, other than confirming that Max can interact with the stranger—and realizing that his nose is bleeding like hers did when she flickered between dimensions—she learns nothing else, not even his name.
While it seems like Max squanders a chance to get some answers with her unfocused questioning and failure to get the stranger to open up, it’s understandable and human. She’s fumbling at a sudden meeting under high stress and with her mind practically on a different wavelength. On the stranger’s side, he seems disinterested in satisfying any curiosity he may have about Max, and just wants to be left alone.
This doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and from Rachel’s perspective, she just saw Max have a total meltdown in the market. She and Chloe stage a sort of mini-intervention for Max later, trying to get her to open up. This well-meaning effort only leads to Max really having an emotional meltdown, cracking under the weight of her interdimensional exile.
Chloe and Rachel want Max to talk about what’s clearly bothering her, but she understandably can’t tell them about the heart of her issue—that she brought a lot of emotional baggage with her when she moved from an entirely different timeline.
It’s applying emotion and consequence to a fantastical situation. However, it also has the vibes of an imaginative metaphor for times when people feel like they can’t tell their loved ones everything that worries them. There can be walls between communication, and the Life Is Strange comics have turned them into literal interdimensional barriers.
Yet in a private conversation with Rachel, Chloe mentions how Max sometimes feels like a different person to her. Rachel is being supportive when she reminds Chloe that people grow and change, and the same could’ve happened with Max.
But given alternate timelines in the series, Chloe isn’t just closer to the truth than she may realize—she may have some subconscious sense of what’s going on. As the issue recap points out, Chloe previously sung the lyrics to a High Seas song. But in this timeline, Chloe never met the High Seas, unlike her alternate self in the previous arc. How could she know a song from a little-known band then?
This becomes even more significant later when an alternate version of the High Seas makes a welcome return to the series, even if their arrival puts Max even more on edge. It even makes her almost slip up and expose her secret (or worse, sound insane).
But Max gets a possible ray of light in the end, when the stranger returns, apparently willing to finally talk. To find out if round two of their conversation will shed any new light on what’s going on, keep an eye out for issue #7 in July.
Who is the stranger, and is he flickering between alternate timelines like Max did? Does Chloe have a subconscious awareness of interdimensional travel? Are you happy to see the High Seas return? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.