By Alex Wilson
My first introduction to the world of Chuck Palahniuk and Fight Club was through the film adaptation by David Fincher. My friend's older sister renting the DVD back when video stores ruled the Friday night entertainment industry. I fell in love and eventually found a copy of the book to dive into, not telling my parents of the content, of the anarchy and nihilism and violence and honesty. I consider Fight Club one of my coming of age novels that helped shape my adolescent years and formed part of the foundation of who I am today.
Fight Club 2 has rekindled that spark of determination the first installment raised in me. The first issue keeps with the chaotic absent story telling present in the now iconic novel while balancing the familiar world and tropes previously established. There's a feeling of excitement for the new and nostalgia for the old.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Fight Club, where have you been? This is one of the most notable underground phenomenon hits of the last 15 years.
The original Fight Club story follows a man navigating the world of adulthood without purpose or direction. He meets a man named Tyler Durden and finds his bliss through organizing a group of men to fight on a regular basis. Eventually these destructive tendencies turn into acts of anarchism and borderline (or flat out) terrorism. As things spin out of control the man realizes Tyler is an alternate personality in his head slowing taking over. The man wins out over Tyler in an act of desperation but with Fight Club 2, Tyler has started to step back into the light of reality.
The first issue of Fight Club 2 starts out establishing that the effects of Tyler Durden haven't disappeared from the world and The Narrator, now named Sebastian, hasn't yet escaped the underground fame of his alter ego. We also see Marla longing for her past life, for the rougher love of Tyler. She's become distant and bored with the timid, ordinary, predictable, and stable life Sebastian has given her. In the first few pages we see a nice throwback to the origins of The Narrator and Marla and how they first met.
Palahniuk tells the story through broken moments. Things happen outside of The Narrator's conscious mind and he occasionally finds himself receiving answers to questions he didn't remember asking. Some might consider this style of story telling disorderly but it fits the Fight Club manner of storytelling very well and, I feel, translates to the world of comic book story telling in a unique way.
The new medium of story telling translates well from the original prose methodology. Palahniuk's dry humor carries well from the written word to a stagnant visual medium. The jokes can be viewed just as well as read.
An interesting element that's been incorporated into the narrative is the addition of a child between The Narrator and Marla. From the first moment we meet him we see how much like Tyler he really is, especially with his love for taking ordinary items and unleashing the danger within.
Palahniuk masterfully progresses the characters ten years while still keeping the essence that made them resonate with readers and filmgoers alike. The character redesigns by Cameron Stewart also create fresh looks for the characters without straying too far from what we all imaged or saw. The characters might not look like Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, or Helen Bonham Carter, but Stewart captures the aesthetic those actors embodied and portrayed.
Stewart's style fits the book well. His panel layouts are masterful. There's an equal importance to what is seen as to what isn't seen. This can be most notable in covering action and faces. He draws attention to aspects of those introduced in the story before we see their faces, giving us a sense of who the character before we ever really meet them or see what they have to say.
Like with the original novel and most of Palahniuk's stories, images of societal mayhem are present throughout. If you're new to this world then you might find yourself a bit lost or shocked at the content within. I think most know this isn't a book to leave on the coffee table for your kids to find. There's sex, some drugs, and, big surprised, violence in the world of Fight Club.
For fans of Fight Club, the comic book is fairly easy to pick up and run with. There weren't any points where I felt disconnected from the narrative or as if I were missing some prior knowledge needed to understand what was happening in the story. However, to be fair I watch the Fight Club film around six times a year and usually reread the book in sparing passages quite frequently.
I admire Dark Horse due to the inventive take on story telling, switching mediums from sequels. I think they've pulled off the transition well while bringing their own brand of creative expertise to the table.
Though, I can't help but wonder what medium the third installment of Fight Club will take. Maybe a Jazz album. Maybe a traveling puppet show.
If you're a fan of the original Fight Club you'll love the continuation of this world. If you're new to this universe than consider reading the original novel or at least checking out the film before diving in.
No matter how you get caught up, you'll enjoy this story and the unique way it's being told.
Fight Club 2 #1 arrives on May 27th, and is currently listed in Previews World with item code: MAR150014
You should also check out our big interview with Cameron Stewart this week on Bleeding Cool and look out for Dark Horse's Free Comic Book Day special featuring Fight Club.
Alex Wilson dropped out of cub scouts at an early age after he refused to sell popcorn for "the man." Since then his life has entered into a downward spiral. He lives in the sinful world of comic books, folk punk, and seedy tattoo shops. You can find him bare knuckle boxing to pay his rent or tweeting about Teen Wolf on his Twitter, @mralexwilson.