Comic Review – Fight Club 2 #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

Chuck Palahniuk published Fight Club back in 1996, with the cult classic film adaptation starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter coming out in 1999. 19 years later, Palahniuk has returned to the story, continuing it as a comic book rather than another novel. This week I picked up the first issue of Fight Club 2, written by Palahniuk and drawn by Cameron Stewart, with art by Cameron Stewart, colours by Dave Stewart and letters from Nate Piekos. Fight Club 2 was published by Dark Horse Comics.

We pick the story back up around 10 years after the events of the novel. The Narrator, now going by the name of Sebastian, is married to Marla and they have a son together. Sebastian keeps himself numb with drugs, while Marla has lapsed back in to attending support groups for diseases she doesn’t have (this time it’s progeria), complaining about Sebastian, his drug use and how their rapidly falling apart marriage has left her bored and unfulfilled. Her solution? She has been slowly switching out his meds for aspirin and sugar pills.

Meanwhile, as Sebastian moves through his day to day he continues to encounter members of Project Mayhem, who treat him with the respect that Tyler Durden commands, refusing to call him anything else or accept any money when he tries to pay for flowers for his anniversary or drinks at a bar. When confronting a neighbour for throwing dog excrement into his garden, something seems to wake back up in Sebastian. Marla pushes his alter ego Tyler Durden to come back out to make love to her, and the next day he gets in touch with his doctor/psychiatrist. He is hypnotised and emerges again as Tyler, who has been continuing to run Project Mayhem and apparently the world with these brief moments of clarity. But this time, he wants more. He appears before Sebastian again, to tell him goodbye… before burning down his house and kidnapping his son.

It has been a few years since I read Fight Club, and this issue does a fairly good job of reminding those who have either read the book or seen the film (despite the few differences between the two) with a few words and visuals from Marla that at least gives a general idea of the plot. As for anyone who has never experienced Fight Club before… well this is called Fight Club 2. There is little detail of the background given for those unfamiliar, no idea what Project Mayhem is or how Tyler Durden manifested beyond that Sebastian had a “little psychotic break”. Despite that, and assuming that if you are picking this up you must have at least a passing interest in Fight Club, this was very well written. As far as I know this was Palahniuk’s first comic book work, and he has had no problem in the transition between straight prose and comic scripting. Pacing and dialogue are both good, and there certainly seems to be a story worth telling here.

Stewart’s art full of bold line work and close up facial work, and here it really excels. The cast seems to be constantly exasperated, but it looks great. The creative team at some point made the decision to have plot items, like pills or flower petals, scatter across the pages as if superimposed or physically on top of your copy. It is an interesting idea, but I felt that it didn’t quite work. Sometimes it obscures the art, others it obscures the dialogue. It seems to represent the gradual unravelling that Sebastian’s mental state is experiencing, but I felt that it was a little irritating at times. But aside from that, the issue looked great.

Fight Club 2 is off to a good start, and as a big fan of the original book I’m definitely going to keep up with the series. If you’re not a fan of the original or the film, or just haven’t read or watched it, there may not be a big draw for you here and you probably won’t get the most out of it. If you are, check this book out at your local comic book shop or digitally. Tyler Durden Lives.

Score: 7.5 Sugar Pills out of 10

 

Comic Review – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #6

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of his favourite one, with potential minor spoilers.

There were a lot of great comics this week, but as it was ending (and I forgot to pick up Outcast #1) I decided to review the finale of the Serenity: Leaves on the Wind mini-series. It was published by Dark Horse Comics, as I think all or most of the Serenity comics have been. Leaves on the Wind #6 was written by Zack Whedon, with pencils from Georges Jeanty, inks from Karl Story, colours by Laura Martin and letters by Michael Heisler. I don’t think we’ve made it a big secret at The Lost Lighthouse how much we love Firefly and Serenity, so it was pretty much guaranteed that I was going to pick up this series.

Leaves on the Wind has been the first story, after a couple of one shots, that follows on from the events of the Serenity film. For those unfamiliar with the short lived Joss Whedon sci-fi series Firefly and the feature film Serenity that continued the story (though I find it hard to believe anyone reading this site hasn’t seen either), the story follows the crew of the ship Serenity, led by Captain Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds, as they take odd jobs both legal and illegal to try and make ends meet. Nine months after the events of the film, where Mal and his crew unleashed damning information about the ruling Alliance government to the whole ‘verse, they are laying low. Following complications during child birth, the crew are forced to leave Zoe at an Alliance hospital to save her life, even though her status as a known criminal ensures her incarceration after medical treatment. The series then becomes focused on finding and rescuing Zoe, taking care of her newly born child and encountering the new resistance born out of the signal Mal released. This final issue sees the crew finally locate Zoe and stage a grand rescue from a prison planet. A pretty simple, but very well executed conclusion. The twists and turns in the story, a few of which come to a head in this issue and particularly in the cliffhanger at the end, are really where the meat of the story comes from and I don’t really want to spoil any of it.

The story is really solid, and there are some great appearances from old favourite characters that are unexpected and completely serve the story rather than feeling like fan service. Zack Whedon nails the dialogue and personality of every member of the crew, getting the almost lyrical quality in the speech that served the show so well spot on (“This job can’t go but one way. Turns out you’re beyond your depth, I ain’t gonna drag you back.”). The art is great too. Jeanty captures the look of each of the actors who played River, Kaylee, Mal, Zoe and the others without making it photo-realistic, which often looks clunky and a little bit valley-of-the-uncanny. As with his work on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer continuation comics, his faces resemble the actors they are based on but as they would be in an actual comic, so it fits well. The rest of the art team do a great job bringing this all to life, especially the colours from Laura Martin. The pick up in issue #6 looks gorgeous, and considering how may people are wearing brown and it takes place in a desert, everything is really clear and vibrant.

The only drawback, if there is one at all, is that this comic very much depends on you being familiar with these characters. The story is written well enough that you can entirely follow what is going on through the series without having ever watched an episode of Firefly, I’m just not sure you would care about anything that happens. I’d still recommend checking it out, and if you like it then try the show. If you are a Firefly fan, definitely pick this series up. It is a really strong continuation of the series we all loved, and I really hope there is more. Check the series out, and try to track down all 6 issues of the mini-series if you can (or read it digitally!). If you can’t manage it, or can’t be arsed, Dark Horse will be releasing a hard cover of the whole of Leaves on the Wind in November. So check it out then!

Score: 9 Powers in the ‘verse out of 10