Never one for safe storytelling, Chuck Palahniuk continues to befuddle and bedazzle in this new issue of Fight Club 3.
At long last, the Narrator (or Balthazar or whatever you with to call him) has approached Tyler Durden to find out what Die-Off is; all the while, his family and the world slips away.
A consistent problem with this third Fight Club story is how jarring each issue is in relation to the others. One issue will focus on a magical painting while the next one mostly dwells on a sinister dating program. In #4, the painting subplot is relegated to one enigmatic page and we don’t get the same sense of chaotic scale from #3.
On top of that, not much happens in plot terms. Tyler squeezes information out of a couple people, but we already know about these tidbits. Marla is back to being seduced and Jr. is still listening to the eerie radio broadcast. A possible goldmine of a scene, when the Narrator is rejected by a support group, flies by in scant panels. It’d be unfair to say there isn’t any development, but the pacing has been so sluggish, I take the advancements with an exasperated “finally!”
Cameron Stewart is especially talented at drawing faces, which he contorts in all manner of delightfully diverse ways. Sadly, backgrounds aren’t given the same attention (which could be the script’s fault), although that admittedly has a claustrophobic result. The drab colors continue to cement us in a dreary Darwinian world where “normalcy” is regularly weaponized.
Palahniuk hangs onto the surreal, fragmented format previously established, with calendars, flies/butterflies, and newspaper clippings overlaying the borders and rising from the gutters. Fight Club 3 has aggressively pushed surrealism and we get plenty more, including a fan-servicy moment with the Narrator’s spirit penguin. Most impressive, however, is a striking scene where Durden’s iconic house is smashed by a wrecking ball.