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Published on May 27th, 2015 | by Noel Thorne

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Fight Club 2 #1 Review

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I am Jack’s sense of elation! That’s right, space monkeys, nearly 20 years after Tyler Durden began making soap and started a revolution, Chuck Palahniuk is back with the long awaited sequel: Fight Club 2 – in comics form!

9 years after Project Mayhem…

He calls himself Sebastian these days. He married Marla, they bought a house, they have jobs, they even have a kid. Everything is tediously normal. He gave up an army for nothing. Sebastian is so doped up on anti-psychotics, Marla’s become bored with him – she wants the crazy man she married back to bring chaos to her world. So she’s been swapping his medicine with sugar and aspirin for a while now. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Project Mayhem is now Rize or Die. He’s returned. The Frankenstein’s Monster.

Tyler Lives.

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While I did mostly like the comic, I’m going to start with an unflattering comparison: did you see Dumb and Dumber To? If you didn’t (and a lot of people didn’t and they’re happier for it!), they basically repeated all of the same jokes from the first movie in the second. The same lines, in many cases the same actors – it was a ridiculous copy done 20 years later for nostalgia only.

Fight Club 2 #1 feels a bit like Palahniuk shamelessly repeating his successes from 20 years ago. I became wary when the son started listing the ingredients for homemade saltpeter and winced when he said “You know you can make nitroglycerin from fat?”. It got more alarming once Marla went to a support group for sufferers of progeria syndrome, and random members of the public started calling him “sir”. Remember those great moments, guys? Here they are again!

I was hoping for something a bit more original than the same things trotted out again, nearly 20 years later. Seeing all those same things exactly as they were back then, it’s almost like someone imitating Palahniuk’s writing. On the other hand, this is the language of Fight Club and this is its sequel so it’s acceptable even if it felt a bit disappointing at the same time.

But enough negativity – what was good about this issue? More than a few things, I’m pleased to say! The inside cover has a 12 question multiple choice test, “Are You Space Monkey Material?”, which is really funny. Sample question: “The greatest threat facing our current government is… d) Me”.

Palahniuk chose a great collaborator with Cameron Stewart, an experienced and brilliant artist, who draws the comic and I’m sure helped advise him on his first foray into graphic literature. Matt Fraction also lent his expertise in helping Palahniuk translate his story into a comics format and I suspect Stewart and Fraction both played a large part with the superb pacing and layouts.

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The panels aren’t crammed with chunks of text; instead the pages have the natural rhythm and flow of a great comic, using silent panels to build atmosphere or put across a point (keep an eye out for the graffiti) and the dialogue is used effectively so there isn’t too much exposition overwhelming the issue. Palahniuk’s easing us back into the world of Tyler Durden, he’s not gunning it too hard right from the start, and that’s good.

The sense of disintegration and an intrusive outer world to the comic is well put-across by the carefully positioned objects like Sebastian’s pills or the petals of the flowers he bought to celebrate his wedding anniversary. The pills and petals obscure captions, faces, as do tactically-placed panels to keep Tyler’s face hidden until the right moment.

A lot of the issue is the regular grid format, which is fine, that’s still the most effective way to tell a comics story, but Stewart shines in the looser pages. Like when Marla begins describing Project Mayhem, seeing Sebastian’s mind exploding, and Tyler and Marla having sex (characterised by two trains crashing head on!). I was expecting Stewart to go in a moodier direction (maybe that’s due to David Fincher’s film) but colourist Dave Stewart’s opted for quite a light look. David Mack’s cover (if you got the regular edition) looks awesome too.

While Fight Club 2 #1 isn’t the most explosive return of Tyler Durden that I hoped it’d be, there’s also 9 more issues to go and Palahniuk can’t burn through things too quickly in a single issue. And the great thing with iconic characters, particularly with unpredictable Tyler, is how seeing what they’ll do next is almost as fun as the story itself. Fight Club 2’s doors are open and I can’t wait to continue exploring inside, looking for what’s hiding in the shadows this time around. Sir.

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Publisher: Dark Horse

Writer: Chuck Palahniuk

Artist: Cameron Stewart

Colourist: Dave Stewart

Noel Thorne

Probably reading comics as you're reading this.

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