Sebastian should be no stranger to grief, yet somehow, denial always seems to catch the protagonist off guard. Issue Five of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club 2 draws heavy attention to a jarring lack of control each character possesses, coupled nicely with the consequences of trust administered by Mr. Durden himself.  Appropriately snuggled in the thick of the narrative, this installment finds most of the cast at their lowest. Sebastian has suffered a severe beating at the hands of an unrecognizable angel face while Marla and her “young” companion hunker down in the midst of a restless battlefield.

Tyler quickly emerges after the savage assault, apparently with little to show for the preceding brawl. The Mayhem chair quickly dispatches of Angel Face before taking a private jet to his personal sanctuary, a castle hidden in a mountainous, undisclosed location. The contrast between Sebastian and Tyler grows starker, but this episode illustrated that the organization members have come to terms with seeing them as synonymous; the former just the unfortunate, beta male bane of an otherwise dauntless figure.

After a brief reunion with his son, Sebastian quickly realizes that the discrepancy between him and his other half is even less clear, as his son doesn’t feel endangered at all. Rather, he is proven ecstatic by the sight of his father, which is in fact not Sebastian. A well-illustrated fear sets in, and the most pressing issue of the entire tale is revealed: Tyler never lost, for Tyler never loses. Even in Sebastian’s death, it could seem, Durden prevails.

Marla and her partner continue their Magic Wand-funded quest to take down as many Durden-corrupted dictators as possible. Though their time spent with one another has been visually described, this installment is the first to really flesh out the duo’s similarities, and it does so in noticeably few panels. That, paired with a not-so-subtle allusion to a familiar face, piques the curiosity of what’s in store.

Palahniuk seems to find few qualms with surgically rewriting his history, but the self-awareness of Fight Club 2 likewise lends itself to that. In the review of the first issue, it was suggested that Palahniuk may be short on a few ideas, as almost verbatim thoughts and musings were echoed from his novel. However, this issue makes it clear that the author is doing something far different. As of right now, it’s not entirely clear what this may mean for the remaining episodes, but it does confirm that this sequel is less independent from its source than most considered.