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Advance Review: Fight Club 2 #1

Written by: Neil Davies, Special to CC2K

Chuck Palahniuk brings us back to the dark and miserable world of Fight Club, and I couldn’t be happier.

Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Illustrator: Cameron Stewart

Author Chuck Palahniuk’s latest literary venture, Fight Club 2, is the sequel to the immensely popular novel and film Fight Club. This comic book, illustrated by Cameron Stewart, returns to the world of its protagonist, whose name we have still yet to learn, and his alternate personality Tyler Durden, nearly ten years after the events of the original story. This introductory issue updates us on the events of the past ten years and then sets us off on a new journey into insanity.

Palahniuk efficiently catches the readers up with the events of the past decade, implying that the Fight Club movement is still alive and well. However, the radical leader of the infamous Project Mayhem is living a dull quiet life in the suburbs and taking anti-psychotics around the clock to keep the extremist Tyler Durden locked away in the dark depths of his psyche.

We learn that our protagonist, going by the supposedly false name of “Sebastian” (but is that truly his name?), has since married his romantic partner Marla and the two have had a child together. But for Marla, this simple life in the big house and stable job is driving her up the walls. Bored of her circumstances and wistful for the excitement Tyler Durden’s eccentricity once brought to her life, Marla decides to take matters into her own hands and tinker with “Sebastian’s” dosage.

While reading this series’ first issue, I felt like a passenger along for the ride in a swift descent into madness. Palahniuk forces the reader to contemplate whether our protagonist is slowly losing control of his life, or coming to the realization that he never had the control to begin with; making it impossible to do nothing more than sit and sympathize with “Sebastian” while hoping and praying that the worst does not happen.

Cameron Stewart’s art style makes this comic immensely intriguing. Not only does his style capture “Sebastian’s” life inside the bleak cloud of his medicated haze, but it also starkly contrasts his breaks of insanity with bright, adrenaline-fueled imagery and striking colors. However, Stewart’s art truly shines by purposefully disorienting the reader by scattering the pages with pills, rose petals and other distractions in a successful attempt to block out chunks of information. This bold move shows a high level of teamwork between Palahniuk and Stewart to make the story and the art separate entities, and constructs a struggle for the readers as whether to believe the written word, or to put their faith in what the art is saying.

Palahniuk’s smartest decision in making this comic was not trying to recreate the plot twist or wow factor that made Fight Club such a success. Rather, he leans into the reader’s foreknowledge of “Sebastian’s” split personality and keeps the readers on their toes by not allowing them to know what’s real and what is perceived. Palahniuk and Stewart instill in the readers a sense of unease and completely eliminate your lack of confidence in what’s actually happening.

However, to play devil’s advocate, one of the issues with this comic going forward will be trying to top or match the same unforeseen plot twist that was given to us in the original Fight Club. The audience is well aware that “Sebastian” and Tyler are the same person, which leaves us wary and searching for potential plot twists and turnarounds. This humble reviewer can only speculate that rather than trying to recreate lightning in a bottle, we will see these characters grow together in a way that previously was not possible.

Ultimately, this hotly anticipated comic does not disappoint. The artwork is spectacular and the story is gripping and spurred by moments of intense adrenaline. While this story might not be fully appreciated by newcomers, this new series is a must read for fans of previous iterations of Fight Club, either written or filmed. Fight Club 2 is published by Dark Horse Comics and is set to release on May 27th.

4.5 out of 5.0