I know what you’re thinking… Movie Buzzers doesn’t typically do comic book reviews. But we’re making an exception for the first issue of Fight Club 2. Obviously I love Fight Club (the movie and the novel by Chuck Palahniuk), and I’m a huge comics fan as well. On top of that, in October I had the opportunity to interview series artist Cameron Stewart and cover artist David Mack at New York Comic-Con and there was no chance I wasn’t going to hunt the series down as soon as it debuted (check out that interview here!) Thanks to Dark Horse Comics, Movie Buzzers received an advance review copy of the first issue of Fight Club 2. So, in this first issue does Palahniuk offer a promising continuation of his most famous novel?
The Narrator (who has been going by the name Sebastian) and Marla are “celebrating” their ten year wedding anniversary. In the decade since Sebastian has left the mental hospital (remember, this series is a follow-up to the novel, not the movie), the pair have attempted to live a normal suburban existence with their son Junior. Of course, they are both absolutely miserable. Sebastian over-medicates himself, while Marla misses the wild Tyler Durden persona that made her husband exciting. However, there is evidence that Project Mayhem still has plenty of devoted followers, and the truth is that Tyler is not really gone — even if Sebastian doesn’t realize it. On top of that, Tyler hints that Sebastian isn’t the first person he’s “improved.” By the end of the issue, Sebastian and Marla’s dull existence has been thrust back into chaos… and guess who is responsible for that?
This is Palahniuk’s first comics work, and unlike many “celebrity” comic writers he’s working without an experienced comics co-writer. He proves from this very first issue that he doesn’t need one. The 25-page comic is full of story, with more than half the pages having eight or more panels to convey the narrative in intricate detail (though in my interview with Stewart, he indicated that Palahniuk generally left the panel layout to him). The comic also opens with a hilarious quiz that is pure Palahniuk and sets the tone for the entire issue. One unique technique that I can’t recall seeing used as effectively in any other comic is how Sebastian’s thought boxes are often interrupted by objects or sound effects that lay over them, blocking them out. Not only does this suggest that the character’s thoughts are interrupted, but it also hides the full text from the reader, adding to the mystery of the story.
Stewart’s art captures the dull realism of Sebastian’s life, and the drab colors by Dave Stuart during the suburban scenes give the sequences an appropriate washed-out appearance. This makes the colorful scenes of destruction and chaos stand out even more. I initially would’ve suspected a more photorealistic artist to depict the grim and grit of the world of Fight Club, but Stewart’s style just fits the story perfectly. It isn’t clean, but it isn’t abstract — it has elements of normalcy and insanity, just like the Narrator.
Obviously Fight Club 2 #1 doesn’t tell a complete story, but what’s here definitely intrigues me enough to keep reading the series. If this is just a taste of what’s to come, we’re in store for another Palahniuk cult favorite story.
You can pick up a preview of Fight Club 2 on May 2 in the Dark Horse Comics Free Comic Book Day Sampler, which adapts the ending of the novel for fans who have only seen the movie. The first issue of Fight Club 2 will be released in comics shop and digitally via the Dark Horse digital store and app on May 27.