“Fight Club 2” comes 20 years after the original but does it still hold up?
“Fight Club 2” is a sequel to the twisted and dark novel, “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk that was released in 1996; twenty years ago. The story itself takes place 10 years after the original novel and, my, have things changed. Our protagonist Jack (or Sebastian) as he is now known seems to be stuck in a pill popping rut. His life is ordinary, dull and seems to be exactly where he was at the beginning of the first novel except he knows that Tyler Durden had a drastic affect on not just himself, but the people around him as well. Jack/Sebastian is now married to Marla Singer and she still attends group meetings to fulfill herself. They also have a son together and life seems to have settled down for them. Or so they thought. “Fight Club 2” takes not only our characters for a wild ride into the surreal and criminally explicit, but it takes you the reader along for trip and never lets you go.
Fight Club 2 is an absolutely WILD ride penned by master of his craft, Chuck Palahniuk. His unique style of writing and feel for the Fight Club universe is fantastic and the originality of the story is absolutely insane. I found myself saying “What is going on?” several times, but in a good way. The story twists and turns and just when you think you know what is happening, Chuck takes you for another odd revelation in the universe and whatever you thought you knew is completely shattered. I am completely confident that Palahniuk takes a great sense of joy in confusing his reader and making them think. When it comes to originality, Palahniuk delivers this in spades. He is absolutely one of my favorite writers and I enjoy his dark and self deprecating comedy that his characters exude. Later on in the graphic novel, he even breaks the fourth wall, but not with the reader more so… with reality in general. It is a hard concept to describe without offering any spoilers, but trust me when I say that it is absolutely different and well worth the ride. Now… there is a very big “BUT” that follows this paragraph.
But… the characters were not as I thought they would be. Jack, for example, seems to not have learned anything from the events that transpired 10 years ago. He is still clearly seen as the head of the notorious Fight Club circuit that is all over the states and is referred to as “Sir” by strangers who are “in the know”. While he seemed to be more in control of himself and Tyler by the end of “Fight Club”, he now needs pills to maintain his second personality in check and has no control over anything. This is also apparent in his marriage to Marla, who is actually the only character that still seems like herself, but I’ll get to her in a minute. The marriage is clearly in turmoil, Jack has no control of his son, who is introduced in the story as the product of “sport f***ing” when Tyler was behind the wheel and alone with Marla. Jack is a wimp, has no backbone and doesn’t really become someone to even remotely admire until the last act. I was really not into him.
Marla was thankfully a breath of fresh air whenever she was in the scene. Marla was harsh, greedy and completely into herself and no one else. A new and improved Marla. Seeing her exchanges with the other characters was great and she was the only character who truly felt like she had evolved over the 10 years of story. She had an odd sense of logic that you couldn’t quite follow but you understood it because this new Marla is twisted herself and truly seems to be a product of what had transpired all those years ago. Marla definitely kept me engaged while I rolled my eyes at Jack’s story.
Tyler Durden. I will spoil this. He comes back… but more so than that, it shows that he never truly left. You can read “Fight Club 2” to find out more, but one thing I will say, this is not the Tyler Durden we remember. This is not the charismatic leader of an underground fight crew who had visions of a clean world. No. The Tyler Durden we get is a full on terrorist. This is not a Tyler Durden that you would ever want to be like, let alone have possession of your body. This Tyler is a full on villain. He’s evil, maniacal and seems to have amassed heavy resources. I was definitely not expecting that after 10 story years that Tyler would have become this worldly super villain of sorts. Not that the character is bad, but not at all what I was expecting coming into the novel.
Overall, if we were to ignore that this was a Fight Club sequel, it would actually be really great. The story is whacked out, the characters are pretty interesting overall and it ends up going to a place where reality begins to blend with the narrative. It’s clever, it’s odd, it’s Palahniuk. Though… this is not a standalone story. This is a sequel to the original Fight Club… and because of that fact… I am not a huge fan of this graphic novel. Some may agree, others may not, but one thing is for sure… I did not get what I expected. For some that may be a good thing… for me and these characters though, not a good thing.
Release Date: June 28th 2016