18th Dec2019

‘Life Is Strange Vol.2: Waves’ Graphic Novel Review

by Xenia Grounds

Written by Emma Vieceli | Art by Claudia Leonardi, Andrea Izzo | Published by Titan Comics

Life-is-Strange-v2-cover

When I read ‘Dust’ months ago, I remember enjoying it and curious to find out where it went after that cliffhanger ending. It’s been a long wait to see the next few chapters but I have to be honest…I’m not sure what to think about this one. In some ways, there are elements of this that feel very much like a fanfiction piece and it removes a lot of enjoyment for me.

Waves starts in the new timeline that Max is in. She’s living in Santa Monica with Chloe and a now-alive Rachel Amber. Max may be enjoying life in the sun but there’s something wrong here as this isn’t the Chloe she remembers. In this timeline, Chloe is a lot happier because she hasn’t been through a lot of the loss that dominated the Chloe we knew. More than that, Max isn’t with Chloe in this timeline because of Rachel being alive and well. It’s a tough situation because Max doesn’t want to be selfish but she can’t help but miss her relationship with Chloe too. She can’t confide in Chloe or Rachel about anything regarding her time travel powers either which adds another layer of difficulty.

Having played the original game, this is the most interaction that Max and Rachel have ever had. Although, this comic is non-canon to the game, I think a lot of fans will get a kick out of seeing the two actually know each other. There’s a weird sort of tension on Max’s part because she doesn’t dislike Rachel but she is naturally jealous of her considering her relationship with Chloe.

When Waves focuses on these dilemmas with Max and her struggles between being selfish or selfless, I think the writing is at its best. It’s when the writing moves away from it that I lose interest. There’s a subplot with another character that seems to be blinking in and out of existence. Max can see him while others think that she is losing her mind. Honestly, I’m not sure what purpose this really serves in the grand scheme of things and I’m hoping that it goes somewhere better and a bit less predictable in the next instalment. Right now, it comes across as unnecessary filler because there’s enough going on with the dynamic between Rachel, Chloe and Max. This is an instalment that is very heavy on set-up rather than pay-off so it’s a case of waiting and seeing where it goes from here.

The art style is considerably more colourful than it was in ‘Dust’. It’s all blue skies and bright yellows to reflect the life living in a glamourous and beachy American state. It’s more eye-popping than the darker and subdued colours that came before. There are also nightlife scenes due to Rachel’s actress life so glitzy lights with darker shades dominate those scenes which make it feel like an authentic high-life party that you would imagine with actors.

Overall, my feelings are mixed. This collection of chapters wasn’t my favourite to read because there are some things that make me wonder why they’re there. It’s a bit more flawed. There is another moment of the issue ending with “this action will have consequences” but unlike last time, I’m not hanging by the edge of my seat to find out what could happen next.

Life Is Strange Vol.2: Waves is out now from Titan Comics.

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