Life is Strange #7 is the penultimate issue in the current arc entitled “Waves.” This arc has followed Max being stuck in another universe where she, Chloe, and Rachel Amber live together in California. This has provided interesting opportunities for the creative team of Emma Vieceli and Claudia Leonardi to have these characters interact and thus compare and contrast them.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of this arc is the new character of Tristan, who has been mysterious for a long time. But now, Life is Strange #7 deftly answers several questions about Tristan while still leaving the reader wanting more.
The first few opening pages of Life is Strange #7 tells us some of the backstory from Tristan, specifically the instance where he first used his power. The overall visual presentation of this scene is phenomenal. The corners of the panels are rounded rather than pointed, giving the impression of memory told through an old camera. The gutters are black instead of the usual white, giving off a sense foreboding darkness. In addition, the sound effects on every page have a unique relation to the panels and story beats. The police siren sound effect alternates capital letters and lowercase letters to emphasize sound while the alternating red and blue colouring tells the reader that it is a police siren. They all tilt upwards to the right-hand corner of the page, except for the last one.
The moment Tristan snaps and accidentally activates his power, the direction of the tile changes. The police siren sound effect is now angled down to the lower right-hand corner of the page. This visually separates the final panel from the rest of the page. Thus metaphorically and story-wise backing Tristan into a corner and causing him to panic. Once Tristan’s power is activated and he becomes invisible, we get the sound effect of his heartbeat.
The heartbeat is put behind the panels and run through the gutters to edge of the page. This cleverly visualizes Tristan’s emotional state while also displaying his physical presence while no one can see him. This is all shattered in the final panel where Tristan’s best friend is shot in front of his eyes. The panel opens up with no background, just pure white with a large gunshot sound effect that cancels out the heartbeat.
Max’s Choices When Compared To Tristan
We have been paralleling Max and Tristan pretty heavily over the past few issues. But Life is Strange #7 takes it a step further by comparing their backstories and powers. Much like Max, Tristan’s power activated in a situation involving a drug deal and a friend getting shot before their very eyes. Now they have both run away from their problems and as a result their respective families. Tristan was the black sheep of his family and his power let him run away unnoticed. Max left her family and friends in another universe and timeline. She gained her power through a circumstance of wanting to keep the one friend she truly connected with too and had developed feelings for, alive.
But abusing their powers to escape their problems or the consequences of life is what has caused them to feel so alone. Sooner than later they will have to confront their decisions and let the past catch up to them. They can’t run and hide forever. Which is what makes the ending so impactful. With Tristan, Max feels like she can talk to someone about what she’s going through, as this version of Chloe isn’t exactly that for her. But the past has potentially caught up with Tristan. Max is faced with a choice. Does she use her power, knowing the danger that it can unleash?
Life is Strange #7 Is An Intense Ride
Life is Strange #7 has some really fascinating moments that help progress Max’s character to an intriguing choice. The visual design of this issue really kicks the drama up a notch. From the stylistic opening flashback sequence to the ending haze of Max, implying that her power has been activated. Once again, Emma Vieceli and Claudia Leonardi knock it out of the park and impress me with how well they understand the Life is Strange franchise.