Fight Club 2
By Mikee Riggs
Fight Club 2
Dark Horse Comics
Let's skip the “first rule of Fight Club is … ” jokes and dive right in. Fight Club 2 is an attempt at appeasing the masses while telling them to go to hell at the same time. With this new installation of Fight Club, creator and writer Chuck Palahniuk is saying, "I will give you what you want, but on my terms." Or at least that's what he's trying to do.
Fight Club 2 picks up 10 years after the events of the original book/film (pick your poison). In it we find Sebastian, the narrator of the original book (Jack in the film), heavily medicated and heading home to surprise his wife Marla, the crazed love interest from the original. He catches up with Marla only to find her at a support group discussing how empty her relationship feels and how she misses Sebastian's "better half”—Tyler. In an attempt to help bring Tyler back, Marla has started giving Sebastian placebo medication. From here the book trumpets the return of Tyler Durden, who, due to the help of a crooked shrink, hasn't actually been as gone we may have previously thought. The game of cat and mouse between Sebastian and Tyler spirals out of control and leads us to a larger-than-life finale.
Yet, the story struggles under the weight of its own legacy. Palahniuk feels compelled throughout the whole book to be overly self-referential, to the point where it seems not only forced, but almost like pandering to the film fan-base by making the book quotable. Palahniuk also integrates the ridiculous revival of a dead character, Robert Paulson, as a ghoul of sorts, which only serves to undermine the story and its pacing. This is an example of what overall hurts the book—which is Palahniuk's attempt to make the story as big and grandiose as possible. In the end, this makes the whole thing feel not only like a parody of the original, but a total mess of a stand-alone read.
However, Cameron Stewart still manages to do an amazing job on pencils. He captures the pacing of the story well while defining Sebastian and Tyler incredibly. The only issue with the art is the use of symbols and images as "extras" tossed on the page. What this means is that occasionally throughout Fight Club 2, the reader is given a page of panels where a heart-shaped pill has been placed over the word balloons making some of the text illegible. As the book progresses these "extras" become more and more cumbersome and, while meant to add to the surreal feel of the story, they hinder the ability to get lost in it.
Palahniuk and Stewart craft a world full of explosions, drugs and sex, but in the end can't seem to find the sense of rebellion that made the original piece so captivating. Fight Club 2 is an attempt to make lightning striking twice, but in the end does not seem to be worth breaking the first and second rules of Fight Club.
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