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Fight Club 2 #2 Review

"Conflict with Conflict"

Whether you think that a comic book sequel to the novel Fight Club (which was of course adapted into a movie) is a good idea or not, it’s currently happening. While the first issue of Fight Club 2 seemed to tread familiar ground and have problematic story ideas, it also ended with a literal bang, as the house of Sebastian and Marla Singer exploded. That sets up Fight Club 2 #2 to have more direction and also tell its story in a more interesting method.

 

Fight Club 2 #2

 

After suspecting that his son was killed in the explosion, Sebastian figures out that he’s being held hostage by his alter ego/split personality Tyler Durden. Marla confesses that she was cutting Sebastian’s medicine doses to feel the excitement of life with Tyler. With their son’s life at stake, though, Marla agrees to beat Sebastian to a bloody pulp so that he can infiltrate a new Fight Club, one that he thinks will lead him to his son. Meanwhile, we get small glimpses of a sinister Tyler. His goals seem lofty, but his methods are still rather confusing.

 

If we look back on the original Fight Club, the story is not actually that revolutionary. More than anything, Fight Club succeeds because of storytelling cleverness and the literary device of “unreliable narrator” taken to an extreme level. It does those things quite well. So it’s perhaps fitting that Fight Club 2 #2 introduces a great deal more indirect storytelling. The narrative in this issue is told cryptically, and it actually makes the issue more compelling.

 

Fight Club 2 #2

 

The kidnapping plot is strange and it’s hard to tell what the endgame would be, but it still gives the series much more direction and energy than was displayed in the first issue of Fight Club 2. By contrast, Fight Club 2 #2 has a much more fluid and impressionistic way of telling the story – something that is actually not utilized that much in mainstream comics. So these elements indicate that Chuck Palahniuk may have something to offer the comics medium.

 

However, there are still a number of problems with Fight Club 2. Although the story is told in a compelling way, the actual story so far doesn’t seem exceptionally interesting. There is a mysterious subplot in this issue about Sebastian’s youth and his dad, but it’s unclear how that will play out. Furthermore, as I mentioned in my review of Fight Club 2 #1, the whole notion of revolution through masculine violence feels not as innovative and counter-culture as it once may have. That weakness is still felt in this issue, though it could be worthwhile if Palahniuk uses Sebastian’s re-entry into a new Fight Club to take the idea of Fight Clubs apart or at least make them fresh.

 

Fight Club 2 #2

 

Another weakness so far is Tyler Durden, who in his brief scenes (almost cameos) comes off as a cartoonish villain more than a charismatic devil. Most adventure stories live and die based on how good the villain is. The original Fight Club didn’t really make Tyler the villain, but Fight Club 2 seems to be heading in that direction. If that is Palahniuk’s decision, more care needs to be taken with his characterization.

 

Artist Cameron Stewart does strong work in this issue. His illustration style is pretty straightforward, but he actually makes (along with Palahniuk) really original choices about what panels to show and which things to leave out. Taken individually, his panels look good, but it’s really his storytelling throughout Fight Club 2 #2 that elevates the issue to a higher level than was seen in the first issue (though his art was a good part of that comic).

 

Fight Club 2 #2

 

There are some encouraging signs in Fight Club 2 #2 that this series is not just revisiting past triumphs with nostalgia. While the series still has a problem with the concepts and characters feeling a bit dated, it’s at least starting to emerge with a real story. If Palahniuk and Stewart can continue to offer a different type of comic storytelling while also freshening up the central elements of Fight Club, then this series can turn into something more than just a reunion tour.

Rating
6.2
Pros
  • The storytelling is somewhat impressionistic, which is an interesting choice
  • Cameron Stewart makes some good choices with his panels
  • The story has more movement and direction
Cons
  • Tyler Durden still feels like a stock bad-guy
  • All of the characters feel stilted
  • Some of the details, like Marla's support group, fall flat

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