“Ideas are real. We are not.”
— Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club 2
Wait. What? Fight Club 2? II? As in T-W-O? When did that happen? Where was I? What was I doing? Don’t worry, buddy! You might not be the only one! Who else would’ve imagined that the classic masterpiece that is Fight Club would ever get a sequel in our lifetime? Chuck Palahniuk did. But this isn’t a novel. And it isn’t a movie either. Mr. Palahniuk wanted to explore new territories and bring his creative genes to the comic world. You heard me right. What we’ve got here are 10 comic issues, released at an almost monthly frequency, and all written by Chuck Palahniuk and illustrated by Cameron Stewart. When I first heard of the series, I jumped on the opportunity to collect every single issue and not wait one moment for the collected edition. Diving into each issue every month was fun at first, but the real problem that presented itself is how easily you could miss elements and forget others. Rereading the issues in one shot was the only key remedy to the situation, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s the best way to enjoy Fight Club 2.
Set exactly 10 years after the famous events of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk brings fans a healthy dose of innovation through a brand new medium. This story does not follow the events of the movie, but instead continues where things were left off in the book. After all, how messed up would it be to continue Edward Norton and Brad Pitt’s adventure in a sequel? Right. Our famous protagonist now lives an absolutely excitement-free life with his wife and son (say what?). Dealing with his issues thanks to pills and figuring out his life post-Project Mayhem, he now lives under the name of Sebastian. A stagnant and boring life is a great premise to a great story, but leave it to Martha to spice things up once again. Fight Club 2 is not your traditional messed up story with a load of philosophical content. No, no. Fight Club 2 is your unorthodox, messed up creation that not only tells a story, but grabs you by the hand to revisit the joys of its predecessor. Fight Club 2 is the beginning of a new project. One that hovers around three words. Rize or Die.
When you decide to pursue this path, you know you have to bring your A-game. Fight Club was initially a ground-breaking, mind-blowing and conscience-opening masterpiece. Jumping into a sequel meant that Mr. Palahniuk would have to seek divine levels of originality and bring brand new ideas to the table in order to reach up to every fan’s expectations. And fellas, he sure did bring new ideas! But was it enough? The story isn’t something to rave about day and night, but it was solid enough to give readers a bridge to cross on. Along your way, you were bound to be entertained while Chuck Palahniuk and friends were busy testing the waters and figuring things out. In fact, I strongly believe that Fight Club 2 was more of a tribute for fans of the original classic. This whole graphic novel felt like it was living by the awes and wows that Fight Club instigated in readers way back when the book/movie came out. The number of references to the original piece are innumerable—sometimes unnecessary and too much—but were easily enjoyable. Fight Club 2 could’ve still benefited of more development in several fields. There are elements that couldn’t be felt otherwise but lacking. These plot holes rise out of the blue, but also play on your imagination. They let you decide how to interpret them. Simply put, making the plot holes cohesive or not ends up being your call.
On the philosophy front, the story was a lot lighter, but that didn’t stop Chuck Palahniuk from finding new treats to serve his loyal fans. One of the biggest fun that he reserved fans with Fight Club 2 lies in him being meta throughout the comic. Hints are given early on, but when the real deal happens, it could never be undone. Being meta doesn’t only add a new character in the game, it also breaks the fourth (maybe fifth?) wall in comics. What I enjoyed of this new ingredient is how it felt like readers were interacting with Chuck himself and he knew exactly how they would react. It definitely breaks norms in the comic medium and explores new depths in story-telling. This clever way of telling the story does however come as a surprise, especially when a person diving into this graphic novel would probably be expecting something much more literary, if I might say it that way. The story itself could’ve been a lot better if it had more issues, more dialogues, more direction in plot. The inclusion of this whole meta feature definitely throws off any hope fans had in getting a story that could survive the test of time. In the end, Fight Club 2 felt more like a quick breath of fresh air between two smokes. Nevertheless, Fight Club 2 is a great gift for fans of the original creation. It will make you reminisce and appreciate the ideas of Fight Club with the help of vivid and bright images.
Speaking of images, Cameron Stewart’s contribution to Fight Club 2 cannot be overlooked. If there’s any reason for Chuck Palahniuk to try a new medium, it’s to explore new ways of telling a story, of living an adventure. The choice of having Cameron Stewart as illustrator for this series was no mistake, but a daunting decision. She didn’t disappoint though. Having had the movie gave us a gloomy dark feel to Fight Club, and jumping into the comics might feel nothing short of overwhelming. Colors are vibrant, characters are sharp and lively, and objects cover panels and jump into the faces of readers. The series also doesn’t rely on an obvious dark pallet of colors, but rather seeks the sinister and chaotic through stunning visuals. Effects that come seek you (quite literally sometimes) instead of you having to discover it. In fact, Chuck Palahniuk’s idea of overlaying objects on dialogue or characters (see picture below, bruh) brings a new perspective to understanding characters and the general mood of certain scenes. At first random, these elements have interesting purposes and are thoroughly enjoyable when looked at them beyond the first degree.
Fans of Fight Club and comics can definitely find joy in tasting this sequel. Although it felt like a tribute to the success of its predecessor, Fight Club 2 remains a captivating, marvelous and poignant sequel. It has its fair share of plot holes, but still manages to remain relevant by drawing upon the content of the first installment. The humor is a lot stronger with this volume and plays a lot with the personalities of each of the beloved characters we’ve come to know. If anything, the series needed more content and more novelty (plot-wise). I believe the vision Chuck Palahniuk had for this graphic novel wasn’t something to blow your minds. I believe the intent was to show the power he had on the whole Fight Club universe. If you ask me, the real God in all this remains Chuck Palahniuk and not Tyler Durden; and all his malicious and infernal plans. This storyline definitely showcases it and serves it on a silver platter. In all honestly, Fight Club 2 felt like an experimental project that had no intention to deliver the next big thing. It was a curious and enthralling experience that any fan should check out for the love of reliving the glorious days of Tyler Durden—and everyone that came with him. After all, finding out what he has planned for all of us after the events of Project Mayhem is must. What could it be, you wonder? Rize or die, friends. Rize or die.
Did you read Fight Club 2 yet? What did you think about it?
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