Right Club 3 #2
Fight Club 3 #2 is an unforgiving test for the reader. You have to be prepared to buy in wholeheartedly to the narrative being shaped, or if not, be ready to be left behind as the whole mad construct pinwheels off into the distance.
Fight Club 3 #2 opens with the worst advice columnist ever, and spirals down rapidly into an incomprehensible mess that only the most die-hard of Fight Club enthusiasts can stomach. As for the rest of us, this strange tale of a picture frame that gives access to another dimension, coupled with multiple narratives telling the same basic tale from multiple participants will leave you stupefied, or pondering your life choices that led you to spend your hard-earned cash…
Story: Chuck Palahniuk
Art: Cameron Stewart
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 27th, 2019
Previously in Fight Club 3: Marla and Balthazar (think Edward Norton from the movie) and Tyler Durdan are back! Writer Chuck Palahniuk brings back his main characters after the events of Fight Club 2 – and instead of facing off against each other; they must work together in the face of a greater foe.
I loved the movie adaptation of Fight Club. Even hunted down a copy of the script, such was my devotion (never read it, but then I have a garage bay full of books I’ve never read). Watched the movie with a friend at a late night screening, and such was the weirdness of it, when the sound inexplicably dropped out at the key moment of revelation about Tyler Durdan, we both thought it was part of the movie’s mind-bending ethos. Great days.
Fight Club 3 #2 isn’t great. It’s mostly incomprehensible. Admittedly, I haven’t had a chance to read the first issue, but even so, with the story just getting started, there should be a chance for new readers to be able to get on board without feeling they’re stumbling around in the dark while crazy people shout crazy things in their ear.
It appears there are several stories going on at once in this issue. There’s a kid who has tracked down a picture frame that gives admission to an earthly paradise. At the same time, Marla (though not named) appears to be seducing several men at different times, infecting all of them with something, while at the same time plying them with reasons why they should all have plastic surgery to the extent they turn into the idealized man, Tyler Durdan.
It all has Palahniuk’s trademark meta storytelling that your reviewer usually enjoys. When done well, an author using the technique can really jolt a reader out of their complacency and make them question their assumptions about storytelling. There’s some of that here – the picture frame looks onto an idealized, beautiful looking creation, much like what movies or television do, with all the grittiness and uncertainty air-brushed out. It’s only on closer viewing later in the issue, that we the reader, and the young boy tasked with retrieving the frame, realize that things are not as they seem.
Similarly, the Marla storyline is an interestingly twisted tale of seduction told from different viewpoints – at one point, she’s looking on as her conquest of the night before vomits into the toilet. The next page, it’s Marla doing the vomiting, and it’s the conquest looking on in sympathy. Balthazar is the conquest, though he sometimes wears slightly different faces, but the result is always the same – the reflection in the mirror always ends up being Durdan.
THE FIRST RULE…
All the rules of storytelling seem to go out the window Fight Club 3 #2. There are no sympathetic characters. The plotting is discontinuous and disorienting (which is clearly the aim). The dialogue, particularly between Marla and Balthazar makes no sense, increasing the sense of frustration and making the issue less enjoyable than it might have been.
Cameron Stewart’s art, happily, is like a soothing balm on the forehead of a fever sufferer. The naturalism of his work calms the disjointed storytelling, somewhat. He makes clever use of larger panels on one page contrasting with smaller panels on the same page to move the story along at a greater pace than the actual writing. Coupled with Dave McCaig’s coloring, the artwork makes the issue worth looking at, if nothing else.
BOTTOM LINE – FRUSTRATED
I started the review by saying Fight Club 3 #2 isn’t great. That’s more a function of me jumping into this issue without reading the first. Putting that aside, if you like Palahniuk’s approach, which definitely doesn’t bow to the reader, then you might enjoy teasing out what exactly is going on. Fight Club 3 #2 pleasingly is happy to leave the book and the movie well behind it, striking off on its own with bold ideas and imagery. Balthazar and Durdan working together after this issue should take the story down interesting paths. It may be that Palahniuk has some crazy stuff planned for the rest of the series – which is great, if you like that thing, but if you don’t, then this isn’t the series for you.