The First Rule of Reading Fight Club is… FIGHT CLUB 3 #2 (Review)
Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I am Jack’s frantically confused brain. We’re back with the second issue to the third part of the mind melting “Fight Club 3.” In the first issue we were taken on a dark and disturbing ride of where Tyler and Marla are now, with very little details. As somebody who did not get to read “Fight Club 2”, I was a little apprehensive to take on this series. But, with little knowledge of this story other than the film adaptation of the Palahniuk’s first book, I dove in anyway. After the first issue, I was confused, but knew I needed more. Alas, the second issue is here, and it was just a weird and confusing. So far we have been introduced to a couple of characters I am not familiar with. One, being Steph, who we later learn is a corporate headhunter. Not totally sure what that means exactly, but she has some unclear intentions with Balthazar, or Tyler Durden to be more specific. I also learn that Tyler has a son, who we get just a glimpse of in this issue, along with another on the way. I feel the main focus in this part of the story isn’t Tyler, Marla, or even the slight elaboration we got on the encounter at the job carnival in the last issue with the man being dragged out by what I can only assume is Project Mayhem, and his connection with Steph. I believe the main focus is the young man named Owen, whom was ever so slightly mentioned in the last issue. I would have to guess he is the brother or some sort of relative to the woman who painted the picture of her dead dog, referred to, once again, in the last issue. His goal seems to be to retrieve the frame that was used for the painting. The same frame that was paid for in Nazi gold (in the last issue) by a mysterious old man. This same creep is luring random people into the picture frame, making them leave behind all phones, shoes, and bags. Is your mind melting yet? It gets weirder. Just as Owen is approaching the frame, which has an inviting and pleasant country setting “painted” inside, a phone on the ground rings. Owen answers to be told to immediately shoot the old man to save everyone. It is unclear who is on the other end of the line. For whatever reason, Owen listens and picks up a gun that was conveniently laying next to him, and shoots the old creepy man directly in the skull. He then grabs the frame and breaks it, thus trapping the people inside, but also keeping any other weirdness from happening…until he goes outside to reconstruct the frame to once again reveal the same setting as before. As he stares into the art, a bullet comes flying out, and not long after a barrage of gunfire and flame. He can see that all of the people that have ventured into the painting are now in chains by, once again, I can only assume is Project Mayhem. Dropping the frame in a panic, it breaks again, leaving us to wonder what the heck us going on, again. Our story leaves off with a uncomfortable and confusing interaction of Steph hinting at her intentions with Balthazar/Tyler Durden, but nothing is clear.
Anybody that is even slightly familiar with Palahniuk’s work would expect a bit of bizarre, but this book is outright confusing. I can honestly say that after reading both issue one and two countless times, I still feel to have very little grasp as to what is going on. With that being said, I have faith in Chuck to deliver based on his history of creating insane stories that I cherish. This is a story that needs to be read in a binge, but Palahniuk has warned not to wait around for the trade. Apparently, the “Ask Miss Information” news article found on the inside cover of each issue will be a key part to piecing the story together, will not be in the trade edition when it comes out, so the only way to understand is to keep up monthly. So far, these “Miss Information” have not clued me in on anything at all. They have really only consisted of grotesque ways to be a person told by a cocky and jaded news person. But once again, I forever trust in Chuck to make sure the complete story is nothing short of fantastic.
Cameron Stewart is carrying this book. I can say that because of the minimal dialogue, and the massive amount of story that has been laid out. With so few words to actually read, there is a critical need for a very specific type of artist. An artist that has been through this journey with Chuck before in the last installments of Fight Club. An artist that knows EXACTLY what to draw and when. Stewart knows when to be subtle, but he also knows how to draw the eye to the exact message or clue that Palahniuk is laying out for us.
Overall, I am excited for this title to be going again, especially in a comic book format. I feel like if I had read the second volume of Fight Club, I may have a better grasp as to what is happening here in this issue, but at the same time I can’t be so sure. Chuck tells stories like nobody else, so I should really only expect weird and confusing. This issue was a lot of messing with the reader’s head, like Chuck has been known to do. The art is right on par with where it needs to be to tell this insane brain punch of a story, and I love the hyper-realism that gets thrown in from time to time to show gravity. With ten more issues to go, I know there is plenty of room for questions to be answered. So far, I expect that understanding this story is going to take a whole lot of cross referencing and paying attention to all of the small clues that are subtly laid out, and piecing together until completion. Is that great story telling? Sure. Is that what I want in a month to month comic that wont have the complete story in a trade version? I don’t know yet. After all, it is Chuck Palahniuk.
I am excited for this title to be going again, especially in a comic book format.