Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: FIGHT CLUB 2 #1

DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

WRITER: Chuck Palahniuk
ART: Cameron Stewart
COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Nate Piekos of Blambot
COVER:  David Mack
VARIANT COVERS: Lee Bermejo; Amanda Connor; Steve Lieber; Cameron Stewart; and Chip Zdarsky; Joëlle Jones; Paul Pope; Tim Seeley
EDITOR: Scott Allie
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (May 2015)

The Tranquility Gambit #1: “Keep The Home Fires Burning”

Written by Chuck Palahniuk, the novel, Fight Club, was first published in 1996.  It was subsequently adapted into a film of the same title by director, David Fincher, that starred Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in the lead roles.  Released in 1999, the film was not a big box office smash, but it has since gained cult status and continued popularity.

Fight Club the novel follows an unnamed male protagonist, who is struggling with insomnia and is unhappy with his workaday life as an office drone.  The turning point in his life is when he meets a mysterious man named Tyler Durden, who has established an underground fighting club, which becomes a kind of radical psychotherapy for disaffected males who are unsatisfied with the modern, industrial, consumerist world.

Last year, Dark Horse Comics and Chuck Palahniuk announced that Fight Club was getting a sequel, but that sequel would not be a novel.  It would be a comic book, and thus, we now have Fight Club 2, which is written by Chuck Palahniuk, drawn by Cameron Stewart, colored by Dave Stewart, and lettered by Nate Piekos, with cover art by David Mack.

Fight Club 2 #1 (“Keep The Home Fires Burning”) reintroduces the unnamed protagonist of Fight Club, who now calls himself “Sebastian.”  A decade ago, he had an army of men ready to take down the modern world.  Now, Sebastian is surrounded by assorted pills and medications.  His wife, Marla Singer, once his co-revolutionary, is deeply unsatisfied with the suburban, TV Land life they lead.  Even their son, “Junior,” is now more interesting than his dad.  Marla just wants to fuck Tyler Durden again, and she just may get that chance...

I think I saw Fight Club the movie before I read the novel.  Both are good.  The film is a bracing, exhilarating trip through the dissatisfaction of the kind of Gen-X males that, having generously supped on the tit of White privilege, suddenly found themselves overfed and bored.  The book is nuanced, probing, thoughtful, and provocative.  It demands that its reader engage it, and each reader takes from the novel what he can understand or absorb.

Fight Club 2 retains the voice of the novel, which might seem obvious considering that the originator of Fight Club is also the writer of the comic book.  However, popular culture is littered with the disappointing or uneven results of creators returning to a creations some considerable time after they first began working on them.  Some of you, dear readers, will immediately think of the original Star Wars films and compare them to the “prequel trilogy.”  In comics, a good example would be Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which disappointed readers because it was so different from the original, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.  So the voice is not always the same when it should obviously be the same.

Discounting the film, there was more to say about Fight Club, and although this is only the first issue, Fight Club 2 seems as if it will be both a worthy successor to the original and also a solid narrative in its own right.  Artist Cameron Stewart captures the banality and the fragility of Sebastian's current life, as well as its surreal and unreal nature.  David Mack's cover art for this first issue evokes the sense that Tyler Durden is both alluring and dangerous. This cover alone should earn him an Eisner Award nomination in the “cover artist” category.

So after one issue, I heartily recommend Fight Club 2 #1, at least, to anyone who has ever read Fight Club the novel and/or seen the film.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux (This review first appeared on Patreon.)

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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