A Mayhem-Filled Fight Club 2 Review
Wake up, Space Monkey. It’s been almost two decades since Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club novel was released and 16 years since the film. Now, its time to rize or die as the long awaited sequel comes back to punch you square in the ear. This review will contain some spoilers to the original Fight Club, but we promise not to spoil Fight Club 2. Just keep in mind, we’re reviewing the first issue here, so some secrets need to be shared… And remember rule #1.
Fight Club 2 isn’t a second-hand cash in of a marketable brand; the comic is written by Palahniuk and he has some new things to say. The 10-issue maxiseries series picks up ten years after the end of the former novel with the Narrator (now named Sebastian) and Marla married with a ‘normal’ life. Tyler Durden, the Narrator’s radical alter-ego, was allegedly killed by, for a lack of a better term, his host. Sebastian is living his life on the straight and narrow with his regular everyday desk job, providing for Marla and their son, Junior. But can a mental construct like Tyler truly die? As far as Sebastian’s concerned, the only thing keeping Tyler at bay are his meds and his doctor appointments.
The comic, much like the book and the film, toy with perception. Throughout the film, without you realizing it on the first viewing, nobody has actually met Tyler. Or was it the narrator they never met? In the comic, people keep referring to the narrator as Mr. Durden but he denies the identity to them. It’s different, but welcomed to see him have to deal with the fallout of the original novel, which provides more of an outsider’s perspective. The comic takes readers into Sebastian’s world with an interesting technique: all throughout the book are illustrations of objects, such as pills, scattered across the page covering dialogue and even narration. It’s not long before we see that Tyler has found his way back into Sebastian’s life and into Marla… If you know what I mean. But are those scenes real, or just Sebastian’s paranoid delusions? Like porno clips, spliced into films by Tyler, the reader is made aware that this story isn’t what it seems and that both the reader’s perception and the characters’ perception should be the subject of scrutiny. Heck, I might have my own Tyler Durden lurking in me or for all I know I could be one of his Project Mayhem collaborators.
Marla is sick as ever, checking into a support group for progeria-afflicted children and debating with them as to who’s got it worse. This read like a heavy-handed attempt to pull some of the best scenes with Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal of Marla from the film into the the world of the book, but it also provides an admittedly funny vehicle to get in tune to the character’s current state of mind. Turns out not much has changed since the events that led up to her actually meeting Sebastian/Tyler. In fact, her longing for Tyler has led to her sabotaging Sebastian’s progress.
The book’s art by illustrator Cameron Stewart and colorist Dave Stewart is vivid and an inspired follow up to Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography in the original film as they both predominantly utilize color tones to guide the viewer’s perception. Tyler’s appearance isn’t the Brad Pitt you may have expected, but Sebastian’s no Norton either. Presumably the characters are more on point with how Palahnoiuk envisioned them to begin with. In many ways, it’s an improvement actually – their appearances are now polar opposites. Keep an eye out for Tyler hidden throughout the book in scenes where he oughtn’t be. It’s a great foreshadowing technique, especially when you’re talking about ‘imaginary friends’. Cameron Stewart’s illustration captures every twisted moment and really puts you in the seat of the impending doom that is the resurgence of Tyler Durden. The book is scattered with small visual cues detailing the post-Project Mayhem world Sebastian lives in.
As a fan of Fight Club, I can’t recommend this book enough. Its got guts. Its got mayhem. And it’ll leave you with an acid scar on the back of your brain. But so far there’s even more than the resurgence of a beloved property here. Fight Club 2 is one of those awesome reads that breaks the standard comics format and works with the medium to do something exciting and fresh. Even without prior experience to the film or novel, you’ll have a hell of a ride. The mayhem begins this Wednesday, May 27th at fine comic shops and digital retailers everywhere.
If you’re as excited as I am, Dark Horse has also started a viral campaign:
Dark Horse Comics has encouraged fans to further contribute to the mayhem with a guerrilla marketing campaign utilizing the phrases “Tyler Durden Lives” and “Rize or Die” in order to win Easton Press limited, leather-bound editions of Palahniuk’s novels Beautiful You, Fight Club, and Survivor. Fans are encouraged to e-mail their photos and letters using the phrases “Tyler Durden Lives” and “Rize or Die” to: firstname.lastname@example.org