by Chuck Palahniuk, Cameron Stewart, Dave Stewart, David Mack
The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. Third rule of Fight Club: Someone yells stop, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: no shirts, no shoes. Seventh rule: Fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule: If this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.
This week, instead of going with a pick for the story,art, or fan-service, I chose something that spoke to me personally. Of course, it also had great art and fan-service.
Don’t forget that in addition to Cosmo’s review of Divinity #4 we have advanced reviews of Son Of The Devil #1 by Brian Buccellato & Tony Infante as well as Fight Club 2 #1 by Chuck Palahnuick & Cameron Stewart. Click on the images below to read more.
What does it say about a book written 19 years ago that its themes are as true now as when it was published? That its a fucking truthful book, that’s what.
I guess after the subdued execution of the previous issue, the next one could only be what Grant Morrison-imitating-Stephen-King-on-Acid would look like.
Marla Singer and an aged-looking child look for Sebastian Jr in Fight Club inspired knockoffs, and even a higher plane of reality, before devising a wide-spread search plan. Meanwhile, Sebastian gains entry into the Paper Street house. Hoping to move up higher into the ranks, he goes to the upcoming Fight Club looking for an opponent. He’s rejected several times because of his age, until Angel Face calls him out and brutally bashes his face in.
The art by Cameron Stewart is at its usual quality, with several experimental scenes such as the last page or every action scene jumping out of the page grid. Dave Stewart on colors helps to accentuate these scenes, making the mundane interactions and the violent conflicts immediately apparent.
My main problem lies in what is accomplished in these scenes where the plot takes several left turns away from itself. Is it to kill pages? Experiment with the medium? Show that Fight Club is taken too seriously and/or out of context? I can’t decipher the meaning behind it. Tangentially, Marla’s plan to find her missing son is purely cartoonish in it’s logic but “fits in” tone with what Tyler Durden has been doing since the book started.
We see a little more of Tyler’s grand scheme, with Space Monkeys getting assigned jobs like Doctor, Lawyer, or ISIS Bomber but this is pretty much in the background. What I found most interesting in this issue is how Fight Club has evolved. Before, Fight Club seemed more brutal, more therapeutic, and more animalistic. Now it feels gentrified, calm, more like a hobby then a passion. It seems more like a “Free to All” instead of a “Free-For-All”. This is perhaps a sign of Tyler’s main focus being outside of Fight Club and more on the global machinations. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it, it’s hard to tell with this series.
All in all, this issue only picked up for me towards the end. Aside from the great art, I don’t think I got anything out of this issue except confusion.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent
by Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart
This issue is a study in extremes, starting out as too nonlinear and fragmented imagery and ending as a mile-a-minute blow to the head.
Sebastian and Marla have lost their child, their home, and possibly their marriage. Thanks to Tyler’s actions that resulted in all three, they could stand to gain thousands of dollars if the police investigation lands on “arson”. Later on they learn that the burnt body was not their son but a down on his luck med student who was murdered. As the two reel from all these reveals, Sebastian sees a familiar house on Paper Street reenacting some familiar scenes, and Marla makes some new friends in group.
Finally, Marla comes clean about cheating on Sebastian and cutting his meds, which is how Tyler resurrected himself. Sebastian plans to rejoin Project Mayhem, and tells Marla to find a place to lay low.
Palahniuk takes some risks in terms of the story and its representation, hinting that Sebastian has known Tyler since early childhood and lost his parents early on because of this. Despite the events of the preceding book, Sebastian has never connected the dots before now. Whether this is “real” or not, all of this can seem convoluted and unnecessary to the overall plot.
Despite all that, the scenes with Sebastian and Marla sharing the truth and “fighting” are brimming with tension and he sneaks in a handful of references to the cult film.
Cameron Stewart’s art continues its measured quality throughout, only to become sharp and explosive for the action scenes. Although I didn’t care for the flashbacks to Sebastian’s childhood, Stewart conveyed his loneliness and dark humor very well. His imagery helps to sell any rough patches from the script, which is more difficult when there is zero dialogue to go with the art in some panels.
Palahniuk’s writing represents the good and bad parts of writing in comic books, switching from frenetic and questionable to concise and arresting. It makes the issue uneven, but once the plot brings the characters together it stabilizes itself. I worry about Palahniuk repeating too much of the novel and retreading himself, but this being a sequel it’s hard to begrudge that if it is indeed what he intends to do. The series continues to be fun and exciting, even though it is best when staying close to a previous work that Palahniuk wrote more than a decade ago.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent