The Life is Strange comics by writer Emma Vieceli and artist Claudia Leonardi have received major praise from press and fans of the game, but how does this new series, Life is Strange: Partners in Time, act as an introduction to the series for comics readers who haven't played the game?
Starting off with a concise and easy-to-follow illustrated breakdown of everything the reader needs to know before the story begins, Life is Strange: Partners in Time introduces two timelines: "Max and Chloe's universe" where Max, a woman with the power to rewind time, investigates the death of Rachel Amber, and then "Chloe and Rachel's universe," a new timeline where Max is stranded and her girlfriend Chloe is instead coupled up with a very-much-alive Rachel. Then, there's Tristan, a young man who gets caught in Max's original universe while trying to help her get back. The set-up is a lot to take in, but the "Previously on" is delivered with ease and grace, like it's notes taken by someone who loves you when you can't make it to school… if that someone also happens to be an incredible artist and designer.
Now, onto the content. The story is a simple, slice-of-life tale that shows a day happening in different ways in both universes, illustrating the series concept with beautiful character moments and a touch of fantasy. The characters are intensely likable, from their depiction by Leonardi's lines and Andra Izzo's colors to Vieceli's incredibly naturalistic dialogue. It's a breeze read that feels lived in and comfortable, aiming to pull the reader in by making them feel as if they're friends with Max, Chloe, and Rachel rather than attempting to create major drama or tension. It's an emotional read, too, even for those who haven't played the Life is Strange games.
The danger in reading Life is Strange: Partners in Time is that from the script to the art, from the coloring to Richard Starkings and Comicraft's Jimmy Bentacourt's lettering, from the overall concept to the stunning covers by Ilya Kuvshinov, this comic will leave you desperate for more of these characters and the two worlds here. Personally, this was my first dip into the Life is Strange world, and now I want to play the game and catch up on the previous comics.