With the weakness of the last issue of Life is Strange, how was the final one in this arc? A little better, but still pretty mediocre. In comparison to the conclusion of the previous arc, it’s definitely lackluster.
There are some pleasant little bits of character moments between Chloe, Rachel, and Max, like a playful temporal remix of a scene they shared from last issue. There’s a nice moment where Max takes a moment to use time travel to help Rachel’s friend, not just Tristan.
But the eighth issue is clunky in various parts. Tristan is once again a low point. There’s a truly eye roll-inducing moment where he suddenly shows some physical combat skills that actually work to help “save the day” in what ends up being pretty corny and almost sickeningly saccharine.
Even more exasperating is the nature of the brief fight; Tristan wields a makeshift weapon in such a way that it feels like it’s supposed to imply that he knows some kind of weapon martial art, like kendo. Action is neat, but it's better if it fits. After the focus on emotions and such in the Life Is Strange comics, it feels off to suddenly resolve anything with some sort of brawl. It doesn’t feel like it fits the original world of Life Is Strange. It’s even more off because it comes from a character who’s only shown up in the comic adaptation.
Besides being another contrived moment with no build-up—there’s no hint that Tristan has any combat or martial skills beforehand—it also feels reminiscent of the satirical short Kung Fooled (which is ultimately a more entertaining and illuminating experience to watch than reading this issue).
Chloe seems to lampshade the ridiculousness of it all with her remark that essentially compares Tristan to an “action figure;” but no amount of lampshading can make said ridiculousness any more palatable.
Tristan unfortunately isn’t the only one to get eye roll-worthy moments. There’s the nature of Chloe and Rachel’s contribution to Max’s rescue. What do they do as Tristan suddenly goes on the offensive? They help defeat the thugs who’ve kidnapped Max with the power of livestreaming. Literally. Rachel and Chloe tell the crooks that their crimes are being streamed live right now, and actually treat this as a threat. And somehow this works without a hitch. The armed thugs just give up and try to escape.
Granted, Chloe and Rachel are probably desperate to save Max, and willing to risk their lives to do so, but they’re likely bluffing. They’re probably just buying time for the police, and hoping the implication of their impending arrival will be enough to scare the crooks off. The thugs are probably more likely to drop everything and run at the hint that the cops are coming soon.
But it’s amazing how it all seems to work without any complications. Like it all comes together a little too well, even ridiculously so. The thugs really don’t try to attack them or keep any hostages?
With Max’s rescue boiling down to simplistic action on Tristan’s part and the improbable use of live streaming, it all feels jarringly cornball. What happened to actions with grave consequences or close calls? The tone of it all is a far cry from a storm destroying a town because Max used time travel to literally resurrect Chloe. It’s miles away from the last arc’s bittersweet but fitting conclusion, a moment with genuine gravity. These differences in the issue seem like a step back. Again, this feels like something that doesn’t fit the original world of Life is Strange.
There are other good points though. The art remains stellar. Also, while there are a number of contrived and corny moments, the final conclusion of the arc somehow feels satisfactory enough. There’s simply something nice about Max, Chloe, and Rachel getting to hang out in a moment of calm while the High Seas make a welcome appearance with their small concert. There’s even the promise of consequences in the future.
Will there be actual fallout over Max changing time to save Tristan and Rachel’s friend? The next arc may start going into that this October with the release of issue #9.
What did you think of the last issue of the “Waves” arc? How would you compare this arc to the last one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.