Life is Strange: Waves, starting with LiS #5 and wrapping up here with LiS #8, follows Max as she asks a lot of questions about the world she’s in. While we spend plenty of time with Chloe, Rachel, and even Tristan, this is Max’s story and her search for answers drives much of the action. Why was this the timeline that called out to her in the conclusion of Life is Strange: Dust? Why does Tristan have these supernatural powers? Is there a link between her and Tristan? Why does her old life seem to constantly resurface? Ultimately, LiS #8 doesn’t answer many of these questions, but that’s okay. It wasn’t about the questions it raised in the end; it was about Max finding her place in this new world.
Life is Strange #8
Emma Vieceli (writer), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Andrea Izzo (colorist)
August 21, 2019
Sidequest was provided with a copy of Life is Strange #8 in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Life is Strange #7 ended on a cliffhanger. Max watched Tristan get shot by a drug dealer while Rachel’s friend Callie overdosed at a party. Despite repeatedly vowing never use her powers again, Max has never been the kind of person who can let others suffer when she has the ability to help them, and inevitably she rewinds time far enough back to call an ambulance for Callie and try to save Tristan. She succeeds, but in the most Max way possible: rather than Tristan dying, Max is grabbed by the drug dealers and taken away.
Ever since Max came to Santa Monica, she’s struggled to trust anybody. She hasn’t trusted Chloe and Rachel with the truth about her. She doesn’t even trust herself, really, as she constantly second-guesses the decisions she made that led here. She made the choice to trust Tristan, but that trust begins to flicker while she helplessly listens to her kidnappers discuss what to do with her. Alone, defeated, and staring death in the eye, it’s only fitting that she’s saved because Tristan makes a choice that Max couldn’t: he trusts Chloe and Rachel. He tells them everything about his ability to vanish, and together, the three fight off the drug dealers and save Max’s life.
As always, Leonardi and Izzo really nail the Life is Strange vibe. The main characters stand out in every crowd, which is especially impressive when two of those four characters dress primarily in black and white. We see the pain—emotional and physical—that Max is feeling as her situation seems more and more hopeless. The violence of Max’s rescue is brief, but we feel the impacts of Tristan’s pipe in each panel. Most importantly, they continue to give us that good, good Chloe and Rachel content. Claudia Leonardi makes the most of every opportunity to let them share a casual intimacy with each other that makes their relationship and love for one another feel authentic.
While Life is Strange #8 doesn’t offer many real answers to the questions this arc has raised, it does promise a chance to look for more. With Chloe and Rachel now fully in the know, Max now has the chance to build something while she searches for those answers. Her use of her powers will come back to haunt her, as well. Will she use them more? She hasn’t let go of her memories of the Chloe she knew yet, and if Chloe or Rachel react badly to her big reveal she’ll surely be tempted. Still, the issue ends optimistically, if with a bit of foreshadowing. Max, Chloe, and Rachel are together, and are (or soon will be) all on the same page as one another. One way or another, they’re going to continue searching for answers.
Read about the rest of Life is Strange: Waves here.
Kaitlyn Lyons is a flailing Chicago queer fueled mostly by iced coffee. She won’t shut up about comics or her Pathfinder games and is an unrepentant fangirl of all things Elf-y. She tweets about this and more at @ArrowShootyKate.