The day is quickly approaching for the world to receive the sequel to a story that has defined a generation in its own way. While Fight Club did not rally large groups of men into anarchic terrorist cells, as some feared it would, it did touch on existential woes facing men in the mid-to-late-’90s. Now, 16 years after Brad Pitt reminded us not to talk about Fight Club, the author of the original novel, Chuck Palahniuk, releases a follow-up story in conjunction with Dark Horse Comics.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Ten years after the events of Palahniuk’s original novel, the narrator, officially named Sebastian, is married to Marla Singer, and they have a son together. Sebastian is on a combination of medications to suppress the psychotic personality of Tyler Durden trapped inside of him. Marla, as damaged as ever, is not happy with her dull married life to Sebastian and regularly visits support groups like she did in the old days to wallow in other people’s misery. Sebastian arrives home early from work on the day of their ninth wedding anniversary to find out the babysitter has put his son in timeout for trying to make explosives. Wonder where he learned that?!
Meanwhile, Marla is airing her grievances to a support group for a premature aging disease and she admits to slowly changing out Sebastian’s medication with placebos to draw out Tyler, the psycho she fell in love with. Sebastian’s day is mundane all the way to his sleepless night. Meanwhile Marla is dreaming of being able to bring back Tyler for a night of passionate sex. The next day Sebastian visits his therapist who administers hypnosis, and Tyler awakens. It seems the therapist is a former member of Project Mayhem, one of many Sebastian has encountered so far, and has been waking Tyler up once a week to continue his terrorist plots. Tyler’s newest plan is unfolding, and it involves help from Sebastian’s son. The next night, Sebastian sees Tyler in his bedroom and knows it means trouble. Tyler says he’s come back to say goodbye, and the smoke alarm goes off. Sebastian’s son’s bedroom is engulfed in flames. He and Marla escape the house, but when Sebastian attempts to get back in the house, he burns his hand on the door knob, leaving a burn scar to match the one he got from Tyler all those years ago.
Note: For those that may not know, this comic is a sequel to the novel that Palahniuk wrote, and not to the film adaptation. The novel ended with the main narrator going to a mental hospital, instead of Tyler’s bombing plan succeeding.
I breezed through this issue when I read it, and that is a compliment in my eyes. It means I wanted it to keep going even after I made it to the final page. It is interesting seeing Palahniuk’s writing style translate over to comics, because it holds so much in the inner-narration of a character that it needs to be spoken instead of visualized some times. The narrative captions are just as effective as the voice over in the film version of Fight Club was, only this time it doesn’t seem to follow a first-person perspective. This could be tied to how disconnected Sebastian is from the world around thanks to his medication. The characters are all natural continuations of their original selves, which one can only expect when being written by the person who created them. The issue does a lot to help recap the key moments from the original novel and get readers caught up in case they need a refresher. I can’t comment on whether it helps someone who knows nothing of the original story or not.
Cameron Stewart’s artwork is a strangely satisfying combination of cartoon and gritty. It does not try to use the actors from the film as inspiration for characters in the comic, which helps make it easier to understand this is connected to the novel instead. The panel structure on the pages follows a rather rigid and orderly look, following the rigid and calculated way Sebastian seems to live his life, but occurrences of dreams and memories see the lines and borders disappear to create a more chaotic place inside of his mind. The world seems to adhere to rather bland and washed out colors in Sebastian’s life, another indicator of how little he actually takes in while on his medication. This is also solidified by a recurring theme of the his pills laying over panels, text, and even dialogue to obscure them for the reader. Another way of seeing just how much of a detriment his medication is to his experiences in life.
The hype for this book has been pretty big, and if this issue is any indicator, Palahniuk is delivering a worthy sequel to his most beloved story.
Fight Club 2 #1 goes on sale May 27th from Dark Horse Comics.