"Fight Club 2 #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Chuck Palahniuk
Illustrated by Cameron Stewart
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 27th, 2015
Where do you go after creating Project Mayhem? “Sebastian” is living a mundane life with a boring job and living in a boring house. This isn't the righteous leader that Tyler Durden was, so what happened? He's trying to move past his mental illness and start again, but the world won't let him and his wife, Marla, is about to make things far more interesting around here. Welcome back to Fight Club.
Before we get any further into this review, I want to assure you that I'm not going to fall victim to the ploy that every other news piece about this book has done. I'm not going to say that I broke the first rule of Fight Club. Do you get it?! It's because I'm talking about Fight Club! HAR HAR! Let's just pretend we all had a hearty laugh and move on, shall we?
Now, the story. Fans of Chuck Palahniuk's book and David Fincher's movie will know that the endings for them are different. Dark Horse included a short story in its Free Comic Book Day issue that clears that right up. Our unnamed protagonist has been married to Marla Singer for ten years. They have a son together. Marla's getting bored with this home life, so she's messing with her husband's medication. She wants to get that fun Tyler back again. Why she waited a decade to do this is anyone's guess.
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I've gone back and forth on Palahniuk's writing. He's definitely a talented author, but sometimes he gets bogged down in the shock value. This issue follows Marla as she's up to her old tricks visiting a support group for Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome. The room is filled with a bunch of children that look like senior citizens. Jaws drop as Marla uses the group to complain about her life, her husband, and basically everything, throwing out phrases like, “He gave me orgasms that shave years off your lifespan!” Remember, she's speaking to children. Shock!
What Palahniuk excels at is the instant polarizing between Marla and “Sebastian.” The former is an utterly despicable human being that thrives on chaos, while the latter has all but given up. He's become a cog in the machine, keeping his head down and staying out of trouble. The thing is, sometimes trouble is exactly what someone needs. It's no wonder that Tyler Durden was lurking inside this guy waiting to get out and terrorize the world. At the very least you want him to stand up for himself.
The real shining star in Fight Club 2 is Cameron Stewart's artwork. It's exemplary and really expands on what the medium is capable of. A big part of this is the art direction, using precise panel placement to amplify the story. For example, some flashbacks are shown during Marla's support group. She's in two panels that are placed strategically over the faces of the two characters in a familiar image from the “I want you to punch me as hard as you can” scene from the movie. There is also an incredible full-page spread that shows a man's head exploding with everything he's ever known or loved spilling out.
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There's a strange effect throughout Fight Club 2 that at first annoyed me, but grew on me over time. There are objects such as pills or rose pedals that are placed on top of the pages. They often cover up part of the images and at times, the actual dialogue. The hiding of the text is what got to me, but once you get used to it, this makes sense in a way, as if the main character's mind is clouded by this prescription medication to the point where he can't narrate his own life in the way most comic characters do.
I'm intrigued by this new addition to the Fight Club mythos. The original novel spoke to someone in their mid-20s, looking to rebel against authority. The comic book sequel is a stark exploration of a “normal” life and the pitfalls it can contain. “Sebastian” might have turned his back on Project Mayhem, but the Space Monkeys carried on and it's clear that they may have some help from an inside source.