By Mike Badilla
Fight Club: You've probably seen the movie, you've possibly read the book, you can definitely quote that line about what not to talk about. Here is the sequel to that story. The original was obviously well received and is a cult classic, so making a part 2 in a comic book format is odd. However, if you've read or watched anything from Chuck Palahniuk, you know that's the kind of thing you should come to expect from him and his work: odd, violent, funny, philosophical, odd. Whatever happened to everyone's favorite nobody with the split personality and his kooky love life? Find out here.
We begin with a man that calls himself Sebastian. He works, he self-medicates, he leads an average life. A life that he chose for himself over his past life, his army, and although the soldiers of that army still exist and treat him with the highest honor, he dodges his past. Sebastian comes home to a knife-wielding babysitter that tells him his son is in time out for attempting to make his own gunpowder. Marla, his wife, is enjoying her old sport of showing up to different support groups. She arrives at a progeria support group and is told she is in the wrong place. Sebastian uses their computer and finds the group she's at and heads for it. Marla explains that she has progeria, although only on the inside, and is very bored with her relationship with Sebastian. We see a few callbacks to the first book and Sebastian arrives in time to hear Marla say that she is sick of who he is now and that all he does is take pills to keep himself even-keeled, but she wants the crazy man she fell in love with back. She reveals that she has been replacing some of his pills with aspirin, asking herself "what could go wrong?"
After taking some pills and driving off, we find Sebastian at a bar. The bartender is one of his past followers and asks what he would like to drink. We see Sebastian reach across the bar, in a failed attempt to pay, and we are shown that iconic lye-burned kiss mark on the back of his hand. He drinks his water and watches television.
Back at their home, we find Marla filling up Sebastian's capsule pills with sugar when he arrives home. She confronts him about the day (it's their anniversary, she found flowers that he left at the progeria meeting) and asks him to mow the yard. He does and is interrupted by constant barking from a neighbor's dog, eventually running over dog poop with the mower. Their sun peers down from the second floor and tells him it is Mr. Coffey, from next door, throwing their dog poop over the fence, all the while Marla is yelling for everyone to come in for dinner. Sebastian takes a pill and goes to confront the neighbor. Cut to the dinner table, Sebastian's face is swollen and bruised, and everyone is eating in silence. Cut to the bedroom, where Sebastian is having insomnia. Marla insists they do some sex, and they do.
The next day Sebastian is at work, playing games on his computer, when he calls his psychiatrist, Dr. Wrong, and asks to be seen that afternoon. Cut to the doctor's office and Sebastian is explaining that he thinks Marla is having an affair. The doctor uses that swinging watch hypnosis trick and awakens Tyler Durden from Sebastian's psyche. For the sake of the story, Tyler looks drastically different from Sebastian, long blonde hair and a strong chin. The first thing Tyler does, and I'm not 100% sure, but uses Sebastian's cell phone to call Chuck Palahniuk (the author, at least that's who it looks like to me) to say that his Frankenstein's monster is back. He then uses the computer in the psychiatrist's office to cause all kinds of mayhem around the world. We find out that for 50 minutes, three times a week for the past ten years, Tyler emerges from Sebastian to 'run the world.'
Tyler appears to Sebastian late at night in a dream, telling him that he is there to say goodbye the same way he said goodbye to his father; by burning down the house. Sebastian and Marla awaken to the house engulfed in smoke and flames. They escape, but Sebastian tries to go back in to save their kid, burning his palm on the front door knob. Their son dies in the fire. The FBI discovers that it was arson and not a simple house fire, and the insurance company thinks it was Sebastian and Marla that purposely killed their son as they put life insurance on him only a few days ago, at 4:17 am when they were both sleeping.
We find out through the coroner that the body found in the fire was not at all their son, however, but instead the body of some med student. Kidnappers have taken their son, and it's up to Sebastian to find out who and why. Marla reveals to Sebastian that she is having an affair. With Tyler. Yes, Sebastian's split personality. She tells him that she has been cutting back his meds in order to bring Tyler out. There is a fight, and Sebastian tells Marla that he knows who kidnapped their son: Tyler. Sebastian reveals more the more he is hit, so Marla beats him with the toilet tank cover. Sebastian heads for the old house on Paper Street (from the first book) to find out more.
Sebastian approaches the porch, where all new recruits must prove themselves. He quotes Joseph Campbell and is immediately embraced by the group, although he still must prove himself by remaining on the porch until invited in. Marla, on the other hand, is panicking, back in her progeria group, about what could be happening with Sebastian. Sebastian falls asleep and is visited by Tyler, who discusses with him the idea that perhaps the group kidnapped the boy in order to bring Sebastian back into the group.
Let's go ahead and leave the rest of this book up to you, and here's why: there is so much flipping back and forth between Sebastian and Tyler that it is near impossible for me to tell you this story, and it only grows more complicated the further in we go. I feel that this is a great book. I loved the first movie, and I love Chuck Palahniuk's books. I feel the same way about this one. The story took some real attention to keep following the story, but it wasn't terrible. In fact, I actually kind of enjoyed how focused I had to stay in order to keep up with what was happening. The art did a fantastic job of keeping everything tied together as well. One fun thing I saw in this book that I've never seen in others is that there will be pills or flower petals or random items on the page covering up parts of word balloons or panels which I felt was a unique and nice touch.
I liked this book. I couldn't have read it in monthly issues as easily as there is just too much going on, but this collected volume is great. If you liked the last book (or movie), check this out. It's probably not as enjoyable for someone that isn't familiar with the last book in that there is so much tied to the last story that I feel one would be lost if this was their first foray into Fight Club. For me, I am very impressed and glad that this sequel happened.
Fight Club 2: Library Edition HC
Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Artist: Cameron Steward
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics