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Fight Club 3 #1 review: Breaking the rules

Palahniuk fits right into the comics medium with this risky sequel.

Chuck Palahniuk is back to the comics medium with another sequel to his iconic book, Fight Club. While this issue isn’t wildly experimental, it’s an ambitious opening that illustrates a great confidence in storytelling from the creative team.

We open a tad like Fight Club 2: Sebastian (now going as Balthazar) is struggling to live a suburban life. He’s failing to get a job and being tempted by ladies and booze–despite his pregnant wife, “Snowflake,” desperately calling trying to give him support. But as you can predict, Tyler knows how to crawl his way out from “The Narrator’s” id.

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Yet, that’s just a fraction of what’s going on here. Without giving all the details away, there’s several scenes that we cut between giving off a surreal vibe. But the story they tell is of an adorable painting of a dog that morphs and renders crowds and people overwhelmed with emotion. All the while, mysterious figures in black and/or black hearted tattoos run amok.

How do all these things fit together? I don’t think we’re supposed to know fully. Not yet. This points to the ambition I previously mentioned. Despite Palahniuk never working in comics before these Fight Club sequels, he continues to take risks in this other medium. Yes, he takes narrative risk like in Fight Club 2 (although it remains to be seen if he’ll get that meta again), but here he’s using the unique pacing of comics to his advantage right out of the gate.

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Cameron Stewart has grown even more since 2. His line-work is even more assured than before. His specialty is in expressions. Even in crowd scenes, he gives each civilian observer unique features. Stewart has to jump around a lot of different locations and convey many tones and emotions, but he makes it flow and seem as effortless as the script.

Fight Club 3 #1 review: Breaking the rules
Is it good?
Yes, a Fight Club comic is still a strange concept, but its confident execution in both story and art makes it an enigmatic read that tantalizes us with the story to come while laying down solid groundwork.
Art handles the mundane and surreal with assured care
Fragmented, teasing narrative
Solid reintroduction to Sebastian, er, Balthazar
Doesn't advance the main character's arc a ton.

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