It was the summer of 1996 that Chuck Palahniuk got his first book published. What started out as a several page short story turned into a cult-classic and one of the most notorious book-film adaptations: Fight Club. Sixteen years later, the movie’s posters are still plastered in college dorms across the country and the novel is passed around as a holy doctrine among the “edgy” groups of high-schoolers. It’s dark and brutal and is hailed as having one of the greatest plot twists of all time. And now the story continues.
Palahniuk makes his comic book debut as he introduces us to the second half of Durden’s life. Paired with a stellar artistic team consisting on Cameron Stewart and Dave Stewart, Palahniuk revisits the Durden household ten years after the end of the original Fight Club. Dark Horse has successfully built this comic’s debut up to be one of the most anticipated of the year, and rightfully so. So is it good?
Fight Club 2 #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Meet Sebastian. It’s his nine year wedding anniversary. He has a wife, a son, and a 9-5 job. But the name and the façade of a suburban life can’t erase the fact that he was once responsible for the infamous Project Mayhem and he’s only a purge of his daily prescription meds away from assuming that role once again. Still recognized on the streets as “Sir”, Sebastian seems to have difficulty leaving that past life behind him, but now it’s all catching up to him. Tyler is back.
After just a few pages in, any fan of the novel or film will immediately feel at home as Fight Club 2 replicates and references the same themes as the original worked played into. Sebastian is now married to Marla and the two of them have fallen into that mundane American lifestyle that they had so desperately tried to deviate from a decade prior. “Junior” appears to take after his dad, taking interests in questionable and potentially dangerous activities. Between Junior and Marla returning to old habits, Sebastian is heading towards another mid-life crisis and we all know how that turned out last time.
Whether it’s characters or phrases, this issue incorporates plenty of references to the original novel which creates a bit of comforting nostalgia for any fan. One problem, which is the only problem I found in this issue, was the fact that Palahniuk revisited too many references to the novel, sometimes even using exact quotes. While I recognize this is nice to have in the introductory issue I hope Palahniuk doesn’t rely on the allusions as a crutch, but rather uses them sparingly to streamline new material.
The biggest concern going into it was that the comic wouldn’t be able to replicate the same disturbed vibe or surreal tone that the original works possessed. Fortunately this issue emanates the same philosophy the novel did as Palahniuk once again pushes the manic anarchist theme. It FEELS like that same universe and that nothing’s changed over the past 16 years. The comic’s dirty and gritty and tests the boundaries of politically correct. And a dark as it is, it’s still able to implement some comedy and water down the dreary connotations.
The art by Stewart is perfect match for Palahniuk’s writing. Stewart’s art has a sullen-quirk to it that suits the tone of the issue and is able to capture the vacillating nature of the panels; one page may feature the greyscale bore of Sebastian’s life while the next features the dazzling colors of an erotic bed scene. The comic art is much like the inner-workings of our main character’s mind as it’s constantly fluctuating in activity level and sometimes features objects strewn across the tops of the pages, conveniently blocking out characters’ faces or text to add a nuance of mystery. The issue demonstrates the potential of both an excellent writer and artist.
Is It Good?
Fight Club 2 is able to remind us why the first work gained such a following. Bringing the same manic and revolutionary themes to the table, Palahniuk creates a perfect blend of dark and quirky literature to generate a thoroughly entertaining issue in his comic book debut. Overall this is a great set-up that builds a strong foundation for the much anticipated series.
Expect to see Fight Club 2 on comic stands May 27th.