The “Strings” arc comes to a fascinating end in Life is Strange #11 and #12. This arc has been a deeply character-driven story about the connections that form through the bond of friendship. Max has been stuck between two worlds for years now. She loves both Chloe’s, they are both her friends, but there is one that matters just that much to her. So, the question becomes: What will she give up to be with the “real” Chloe again?
A Review Of Life Is Strange #11
Life is Strange #11 furthers the plot by having Chloe from the original universe also be looking for Max. The scene on the beach, in particular, is a great sequence that shows how well both Emma Vieceli and Claudia Leonardi are at showing emotion both through the art and the writing. The Chloe of this universe understands Max’s dilemma but doesn’t want to lose her friend again. The problem is that Max is in love with the other Chloe and this one is in love with Rachel. Both are her friends so now she must choose which matters more. All the while, one of the Chloe’s lose, she is once again stuck in the middle of a universe-shattering event and her friend.
Meanwhile, Life is Strange #11 also gets a bit meta. Rachel’s side of the plot is compared to Hamlet. In particular, Rachel is compared to Ophelia because of the inherent tragedy of both characters. Ophelia is a tragic character because the viewer knows she will die while the character does not. It’s what Alfred Hitchcock’s theory about suspense in comparison to a bomb under the table. When the viewer knows something the characters do not, the surprise isn’t the point but the suspense of being involved with the story. Now that Rachel knows her fate, she is having to learn to live with it. She takes on a new form of tragedy compared to what she had Life is Strange: Before the Storm.
A Review Of Life Is Strange #12
Life is Strange #12 is a fantastic finale to this arc. Much like the franchise is known for, it ends on a bittersweet note. There is no perfect ending here, instead, Max finds out she may be stuck in this universe a bit longer. She has friends but she is also separated from her other friends and in particular the woman she loves. The multiverse of Life is Strange gets more interesting as the Transect looks different than before and it rejects Max. Tristan can pass through, but she can’t, connecting to something she said in the first arc about being dust. She isn’t in control; the universe is bigger than Max Caulfield and despite her powers, she cannot bend it to her will. Both interesting and heartbreaking.
The most interesting part of Life is Strange #12 is what it has to say about time mattering. Rachel knows that an alternate version of her died tragically, but she wants to know she mattered. This version of Chloe wants to know that she matters to Max. There is an old saying that it isn’t the destination that matters but the journey and I think that applies here.
Friendship is often hard to define and can have its ups and downs but at the end of the day, you know you matter to the other person. Even if time gets away from you and they slip away, the moments that you had with them, the memories both good and ill, are what mattered. A beautiful theme that I relate to a lot. We all have strings that attach us to others and sometimes those strings get cut. Instead of focusing on the why, focus of the what, the things that mattered.
These Are Strong Contenders For The Best Issues
Life is Strange #11 and #12 brings perhaps the best arc of the series to date to a close. The trio is still together, and I look forward to seeing how the story unfolds. I appreciated the Tasha Yar-esque arc that Rachel went through in “Strings” and I hope she gets more focus in the future.