Life Is Strange

Life Is Strange is an interactive fictional game that delivers a powerful message about choice and how it will affect the lives of others. Unlike other time travel stories, Life Is Strange’s time travel elements are not explained and is much stronger for it. Rather than wasting time discussing what causes the time travel, the game focuses on the characters and the struggles they face. While the game has only two major possible endings, the choices the character makes will greatly determine how the story will unfold. Because the player plays through the perspective of Max, the player will experience the relationships and choices the player makes directly through her eyes and see how it affects her and the people around her. The time travel and clue based puzzles along with dialogue options pushes players into this world and discusses important topics like bullying, suicide, and euthanasia.

As the events of the story unfold, the protagonist Max quickly learns that there is much more going on in Arcadia Bay than what it seems at first glance. She  tries to uncover what is happening while trying to keep her personal and educational life in check. The game does this by providing gameplay that primarily involves dialogue trees, exploration, and puzzle solving either through dialogue or to progression through the story. Most of the game’s choices are not morally binary and are presented to be morally gray. They are not designed to be right or wrong answers, but choices between what Max wants and what others want, which quickly becomes an important theme and is contextual to the last decision of the game. Chloe’s character throughout the story evolves from being selfish and stubborn to being a great friend and companion, and when the narrative comes to a close, she will lose her selfish attitude for the benefit of the ones she loves. Max’s journey takes her to several locations and themes. She begins the story as a shy introvert who wants to be cool and popular. But throughout the game, she is encountered with friendship issues, moral dilemmas, and life threatening events that strengthen her character so that when the end of the game arrives, she would have learned about the power of friendship, sacrifice, and the potential dangers of using time to get what you want.

Hawkeye #19

In Hawkeye #19 Clint Barton goes deaf after his encounter with The Clown, and this issue depicts his hearing loss by cutting out almost all the dialogue in scenes where Clint is the focal point. Empty word balloons indicate when people are talking (and occasionally reflect heightened emotion with the shape of the balloon), and panels of sign language show how Clint and his brother Barney are communicating, but they aren’t translated. In an issue where the script doesn’t make the dialogue explicitly clear for readers that don’t know American Sign Language, the visual elements need to do extra work to keep the audience engaged.  The most remarkable thing about this issue is how these ideas are conveyed in a challenging way that invites reader interpretation. The script stimulates the imagination by having the reader make connections by following visual cues and drawing conclusions based on their own personal opinions. People that know ASL will get more information from the artwork, but even then, there’s still plenty that is left open for interpretation thanks to the empty word balloons.

I like that the script depicts a hero with a disability as it demonstrates that one does not need to be all powerful in order to save lives as it’s ones unique traits that adds to strengthen their character and add depth.  Clint Barton provides a role model for deaf children and teaches hearing children that those with disabilities are not lacking or less then those who fit society’s idea of normal and healthy.

Doom Patrol

   Doom Patrol is  a comic that I would describe as unique and bizarre and this applies to it’s unique  artwork, storyline and characters. The writer uses  comedy and intriguing scenes, and it becomes apparent that what may seem as random in fact has a point by the end of the story as the Doom Patrol comes together to fight a powerful and mysterious force. The heroes in Doom Patrol are also viewed as odd balls themselves as their powers alienate them from the traditional superheroes and it is this aspect of accepting oneself and doing all one can with what they have that readers may connect with.

In this story  two new characters are introduced  to the Doom Patrol: Casey Bricke and Sam Reynolds, two EMTs who get dragged into the crazy world of the Doom Patrol just as Casey discovers her secret history. Both are great additions, but Casey is the real star of the show as the story largely follows her. There’s a quirkiness to her character and something funny about the way she just accepts everything that’s happening in a nonchalant way. The other characters are entertaining as well. Classic Doom Patrol mainstays like Cliff Steele, Negative Man, Flex Mentallo and Crazy Jane all feature in the story while Niles Caulder gets a few hints at his involvement. Each start out separately from each other, but by the end of the book they, along with Casey and Sam, come together. The various plot threads intermix well with each other, even if readers might not have the clearest idea of what is actually happening due to the craziness of it all.

The art in Doom Patrol was one of my favourite aspects of the comic as I think the bold and bright illustration reflected the wakiness and zeal that is Doom Patrol and helped the keep readers engaged and connected to the characters.