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