With the release of a new Blur album and the announcement of another Dragonball series, I’m really left with one question: What year is it? Nearly twenty years after Chuck Palahniuk’s groundbreaking novel, Tyler Durden lives. Fight Club 2, the illustrated follow-up to the cult phenomenon has finally graced us courtesy of Dark Horse. With its arrival come a few changes. Most obvious, perhaps, is the narrative’s form. In an attempt to fuse the source material with David Fincher’s landmark film, the tale is beautifully continued with the drawing and coloring of Cameron Stewart and Dave Stewart respectively. Though a little awkward to consume episodically, the first entry of this reality-warping masterpiece is nonetheless mouthwatering.
Sebastian, the name given to the previously anonymous narrator, lives a grueling existence downing pills and working to please his troubled son and wife, Marla. Ten years after his first bout with terrorism, Sebastian’s marriage is failing as the ghosts of his past begin to reemerge. Gradually, the protagonist feels the bloodied knuckles of his chaotic alter-ego pound beneath his temple, and his ability (and willingness) to refuse the return of Tyler tires. After violent outbursts spurred by an unknown force sprout across the globe, the imaginary scoundrel “absent” hand is far more questionable.
The narrator, Marla and Tyler still retain a semblance of their former selves, but currently they feel a bit like hyperboles of their former selves. Within the first few panels, it’s as if the odd trio hadn’t shifted much from their original forms. Marla resumes attending group meetings for ailments she’s never suffered. The narrator reverts back to his days as a passive and anxious introvert. And Tyler, well, he’s Tyler.
Still, this soft reset shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. Rather, it gives a reason for the motifs that worked so well in Palahniuk’s original work to resurface in a more contemporary setting. They do return, of course, and in spades. The writer makes haste in returning us to a world of underground anarchy and ultraviolence.
Fight Club 2 is a midlife crisis rolled into the diary of a schizophrenic revolutionary. The art of Cameron Stewart reflects this whole-heartedly. At times, his style is unassuming: Soft, quiet and a not-too-distant cousin of Archie. Quickly though, the illustrator throws us into a visceral world of psychedelic imagery hazed with horrific scenes of war. Throw in photo-realistic pills to distort select panels with a purpose–as well as a snapshot of an airborne futon–and you’re awarded a style that speaks as loudly as Palahniuk’s words.
Though not revolutionary, Fight Club 2 is definitely something to keep a close eye on. I imagine now that the stage is set, the last bit of stagnation should begin to fall off. A comic as humble as it is perverse, we may be looking at one of the most unique pieces of the last few years. Oh, and did I mention Tyler’s back? Yeah, Tyler Durden.