Fight Club 2’s second issue continues to bring its A-game with every page, and I could not be more pleased with it. “Sebastian” and Marla Singer are living in a motel after their house was burned down at the end of the last issue, while pretty much everyone is trying to get Sebastian to go away so Tyler can come back. FBI agents show up to investigate the arson of the house, and they have telltale kiss marks on their hands. Sebastian and Marla’s son disappeared in the house fire, and Sebastian is pretty sure he knows who took him; and he’s going to have to go back to some dark spots from his personal history to get him back.
I was apprehensive starting this series, and even after my initial reading of the first issue, with the choice of Cameron Stewart for the art duties. Not that I don’t dig his work--Sin Titulo is great, and his parts of Morrison’s Batman saga are stellar. I just thought I would find his artwork too clean, too bright for the world of Fight Club. I should have known I was wrong when he drew a full splash of an exploding head in issue 1; I didn’t know for sure until this issue that he was the right man for the job. His pacing and sense of mood are some of the strongest ties that put this comic in the same family as its novelistic predecessor. Stewart’s use of repeated imagery, especially in montage sequences like the weddings about halfway through the issue, gives the comic the feeling of a novel, without making it feel like it’s just an illustrated manuscript.
Palahniuk gets my admiration for this book as well, for being completely unafraid to go back down the rabbit hole with this story again. He’s not being precious about his original work, and he’s really taking to the comics medium in a way that makes him seem like a natural. The series doesn’t seem like it’s going to be an unconnected sequel, but rather a redoing of an old song with new variations. You replace the slick synthesizer with a horn section, add a minor key gospel choir accent, and it becomes a different animal. This book seems like it’s going to a similar place on a different path, and it’s been fun to read so far.
Dave Stewart’s colors are, perhaps unsurprisingly from a guy who’s won like a dozen Eisners, stellar. He gets to do a lot more nuanced work than he usually does on big ticket Dark Horse books (read: Mignolaverse books); less flats here, and more detailed shadowing. It’s books like this that remind you why he’s won a buttload of Eisners--he’s one of those invisible masters who can move from genre to genre and shine in any of them.
Where the original Fight Club tried to pose Tyler Durden as a kind of anti-hero (he’s the clear antagonist in the book, but he’s constantly talking about using violence for redemption, on a personal and society-wide scale), this book is jumping right in with him as a class-A douchenozzle. Even the people who kind of like him (coughcoughMarlacough) come off as people who know they’re making a horrible decision. This is no longer the story of a lost man searching for redemption in all the wrong places; this is a man who’s committed to cleaning up the messes he’s responsible for, even if he doesn’t remember doing them.
And that’s what I love about this book.
Fight Club 2 #2 Writer: Chuck Palahniuk Artist: Cameron Stewart Colorist: Dave Stewart Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/24/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital