Max Caulfield is back in the Life Is Strange comics with a new four-part arc called “Waves.” Picking up after “Dust,” the previous arc, Max has settled in another timeline with an alternate Chloe Price dating a Rachel who didn’t die. (Rachel had been Chloe’s other best friend before dying in the original game.)
Long story short, this all started with Max’s choice to sacrifice Arcadia Bay to a temporally-induced hurricane so that she could prevent Chloe’s death. (This describes one possible game ending.) A year later, the couple realized there were other consequences besides the hurricane when Max started being pulled to other timelines, and was only able to survive when she stopped resisting and left for another dimension, even if that meant leaving her Chloe behind.
A separate recap in the new issue actually does shed new light on the last arc in the Life Is Strange comic series, providing more clarification on the previous interdimensional plot. After that, the fifth issue is largely about catching up with Max and seeing how she’s holding up in this new timeline, and more about how it differs from what readers have seen before.
The theme of consequences continues. While the last arc explored the fallout of one possible game ending and then wrapped up with a sense of bittersweet finality, “Waves” now goes into the fallout of how the previous arc ended. While “Dust” finished with hope and sadness tangled up in each other, with images of bright white light and sunny beaches and people still alive in another timeline, the very next issue feels more blunt. Max seems to be sinking into existential despair when she has more time to process what’s actually happened.
She had to escape to another timeline to avoid the backlash of interdimensional push-and-pull that threatened to tear her apart. It worked to ensure her survival, but at what actual cost? She’s in a dimension where her previous choices feel like they have no weight because they didn’t happen here; while she ruined Arcadia Bay in one dimension, it’s thriving here. There’s the inklings of a certain existential crisis lurking in that.
Max has Chloe, but it’s not her Chloe, literally and figuratively—this Chloe is with Rachel, not her. It seems glaring when Max pays no thought to her family, but that may be emotionally too much to even think about.
Besides consequences, the Life Is Strange comics continue to focus on character studies and relationship development. Love triangles can go wrong fast, but the situation between Max and alternate versions of Chloe and Rachel is written well so far. While seeing the chemistry between Max and any Chloe makes you wish to see them together again, observing the bond between Chloe and Rachel is endearing too. I even felt some concern for them when signs of relationship roadblocks started popping up.
Besides Max trying to deal with blending in with another timeline, relationship wrinkles and possible existential crises, a mysterious stranger raises her concerns about accidental flickers between dimensions again. Max’s emotional aftermath after dimensional displacement gets more attention and feels more gripping, but the hints of more timeline issues are intriguing too.
The story continues on June 26 with issue #6.
Did you check out issue #5 of the Life Is Strange comics? Do you think Max will be jumping to another dimension any time soon? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.