Review - Fight Club 2

"Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth."

The rules of Fight Club are pretty clear and well-established. There's a honor amongst its members, adhering to the code and maintaining a level of devotion to the cause that rivals many cults and religions. It's a fascinating paradigm and Dark Horse Comics is publishing a further exploration of it in Fight Club 2. The issue is written by Chuck Palahniuk, illustrated by Cameron Stewart, colored by Dave Stewart and lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot.

Ten years after starting Project Mayhem, he lives a mundane life. A kid, a wife, pills to keep his destiny at bay. But it won’t last long; the wife has seen to that. The time has come...

Fight Club is a fantastic book that was made into a movie that garnered a cult following upon home release, touching on themes of anti-establishment and delusions of grandeur. Fight Club 2 maintains many of those same themes, but realizing them is something of a payoff that the reader has to earn. Palahniuk picks up after the book's ending, with Sebastian struggling through a seemingly mundane life with a bored wife in Marla Singer, a seemingly psychopathic son and a routine that's a far cry from the chaos Project Mayhem is used to inflicting. Palahniuk structures the issue so that reader follows Sebastian's steady decline into Tyler Durden, although the joke's on Sebsatian because Tyler never really left in the first place. There's a certain elegance to the vanity of Tyler and his arrogance in his beliefs, courtesy of Palahniuk's ability to present those ideals in a way that's more subtle than overbearing.

The flow of Stewart's illustrations add to the overall atmosphere of the book. His lines are very clean, eschewing curves for sharp, angled faces and body structures. The creative use of insets and things like pills blocking out parts of pages is innovative and accentuates the declining mental state of the book's protagonist. And each page relies on a unique page structure appropriate for the events on that page, as Stewart refuses to rely on traditional panel layouts for the entire book. The muted color palette by Dave Stewart casts a pall over the lives portrayed in the book, adding a level of griminess to their interactions that's "brightened" at points by blood or bruises.

Fight Club 2 is really everything fans of the property could hope for and then some. It picks up after the book (not the movie) and maintains the personality that made the property so intriguing when it burst on the scene in the late 90s. Palahniuk's pacing relies on a steady crescendo from calm to all-out panic, nudging the reader closer and closer to the edge before finally pushing them off. Stewart structures each page in a way that mirrors Sebastian's mental state at the time, serving as an extremely powerful mechanism for presenting the staggering mediocrity of life that Tyler Durden finds so abysmal. Fight Club 2 continues exploring the darker side of humanity in a way that makes everyone feel a little dirtier about themselves.

Fight Club 2 is in stores May 27.