This post of Life is Strange by author Emma Vieceli, Illustrations Claudia Leonardi and Andrea Izzo has been adapted from two previous posts. First is the spoiler free review, followed by the spoiler full review and summary.
Spoiler Free Review
Life is Strange the graphic novel is a true sequel to Life is Strange the video game. I strongly recommend that you play the video game and the prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm before you read this graphic novel.
I strongly recommend that you play these video games just in general. They’re fantastic. You’ll follow the stories of Max, Chloe, and Rachel as they navigate small town Arcadia Bay in their final years of high school. The twist is that there are time manipulation powers involved and the consequences of the butterfly effect are in full force.
Without the background knowledge gained through the games I doubt this book will have the same emotional impact. You have to know these young women, who they are, how they relate to each other, and what their place within this society is. The book, unfortunately, does not offer that.
It is strongly assumed that you know what Life is Strange is about before you start reading. This graphic novel is not a companion piece or side story, it picks up exactly where the game leaves off.
For fans of the game, this will be great. You’ll enjoy following Max and Chloe and yes even Rachel as they face new challenges and strengthen the bonds of their relationships. The art style stays true to the source material and the heart of it all remains intact.
So far, three full volumes have been published. But the third one ends on a major cliffhanger so I’m going to have to read the rest as they come out. Thankfully, they’re still being produced for the time being. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into yet another unfinished series.
If you’re already a fan of the Life is Strange franchise then I strongly recommend this book. If you’re not, this is not the place to start. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the games first. Play the prequel first even though it didn’t come out first, trust me on this one.
Life is Strange Summary
Life is Strange started as a video game and has now been continued as a graphic novel series. It is still ongoing, this review is for the first 3 volumes.
If you’ve played the video game you already know a lot about our young heroines Chloe and Max. If you haven’t, you’re going to need to quickly learn because this book doesn’t give a lot in the way of back story. It really just picks up right from the end of the game.
It picks the most common ending to the game (spoiler alert) where Max decides to sacrifice small town Arcadia Bay to save Chloe. It’s very likely you got this ending for the game because it really really primes you to choose it. I know I did.
Since that day Max made a decision to not use her time manipulating powers ever again. Her and Chloe are roommates in Seattle just trying to live normal, hipster lives.
But now Max starts to see reality in multiple forms. She’s seeing parallel universes and every possibility and is having a hard time distinguishing which reality she started in or to which one she belongs.
Chloe begins to fade in and out of existence so Max decides they need to return home to solve this problem. Returning to Arcadia Bay means seeing a lot of alternate ending scenarios that are quite emotionally triggering to experience.
They develop the theory that this Max is in the wrong reality and needs to find her proper one while somewhere there’s a different Max who must find her way back to this reality. They swapped somehow. Before they split up to find their proper places they finally kiss. For any lesbian shippers out there this is a fangirl’s dream come true.
Max finds a universe where Chloe and her previous love Rachel who was murdered in the first reality are both alive and in a relationship together. Max is happy for them but feels lonely here until she notices a boy, Tristan, who may also be skipping around realities.
His power set seems to be similar but not identical to Max’s. They both save each others’ lives in a short period of time. Max decides to tell this reality’s Chloe everything and come clean about all of the craziness.
If this wasn’t confusing already Tristan and Max find the original Chloe with new Chloe and new Chloe is unable to accept this concept which leads to the classic headache and nose bleed combo.
They decide to warp through back to Chloe 1, Tristan makes it but Max doesn’t. Tristan finds Chloe 1 and explains everything. They decide to road trip it through realities to find her and bring her back.
And then it just ends. Damn cliffhangers. Very abrupt and unsatisfying cliffhangers.
Well I’ll have to be reading this one as it comes out now because I am very invested in these characters at this point. After playing Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, I was already connected to these girls. This just solidified it even further. I’m hooked.
I highly recommend playing through both games before reading this book. I’m not sure it would really be very emotional impactful on its own. Unfortunately for new audiences this graphic novel really assumes you’ve played through the source material already. It’s a true sequel not a companion piece.
But if you have played the games I’m certain you’ll love this series. It has a lot of the same heart and every action does have consequences.
4/5 butterflies 🦋🦋🦋🦋
For more female relationships in graphic novels check out Sunstone
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Buy it here: Life is Strange: 1-3 Boxed Set