Story: Chuck Palahniuk
Art: Cameron Stewart (art), Dave Stewart (colours)
At last! After so much anticipation and so, so very long, we finally get a sequel to the violent, blood-soaked ode to anarchy and madness. And unlike a lot of comics nowadays, this is very much written by the man himself. The thing with such projects though – the hype can be deadly. Does it live up? Do we expect too much? Is it good enough to be worthy of the legacy? Read on and find out.
Ten years after starting Project Mayhem, Tyler Durden lives… a mundane life. A kid, a wife. Pills to keep his destiny at bay. But it won’t last long, the wife has seen to that. The time has come . . . Rize or Die.
BE WARNED! THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD! Skip to Verdict to avoid the same!
It was hard to approach this comic without expectation – and as a big fan of the original book (and the movie too) it was harder still. Though I suppose I’m happier that this doesn’t pick up after the movie because I do actually like the books ending better, coolness of The Pixies playing over destruction aside.
That said, the book has a lot going for it and Palahniuks almost trademark style does come through. There’s a feeling of numbness, being disenfranchised, disconnected and lacking any hope or anything “real” as we are reintroduced to our faithful narrator – now named Sebastian. He is married (unhappily) to Marla and they have a child and not unlike Kevin Spacey’s character Lester in American Beauty, Sebastian is just… there. It’s pitiable, but fits so well with the medicated, sedate, unintrusive and barely noticeable man who he was when we first met him – the kind of man he has become again thanks to his time at a mental hospital and the meds since then. But he had started something… special… and even now, years later, he cannot avoid the faces of Fight Club that cross his path every so often, showing a hidden world still alive and (literally) kicking.
While she is not likeable (not that she ever was), the character of Marla is pretty well rendered as well and is an interesting evolution from what she was in the first book. Then there’s their kid – we don’t get to see much of him in terms of his personality (which I’m VERY curious about) but his “playtime” has me even more intrigued and we finally see is because secretly (DRUMROLL PLEASE!):
Tyler Durden Lives! But I’m not going to spoil that yet. It was bound to happen either at the start or during the series, but his influence seems more prevelant than explained here and I’m intrigued to see them flesh it out more. Of course Marla’s playing with Sebastians meds will also have its part to play in all this I imagine.
I also enjoyed the artwork quite a bit – the colour palette is a bit bland and boring, but maybe that’s intentional for the start of the story, but the style of art, the density of panels on many pages and the overall simple but fast-moving structure of it all works really well. In particular, I was very pleased with the facial work, something a lot of comics suffer from because especially in stories like this, the right expression can make such a difference.
There’s not a whole lot that I didn’t like, however one thing did stand out as a choice I wasn’t crazy about: having Sebastians shrink be a member of the Space Monkey army who is hypnotising him and letting Tyler loose once a week and apparently has been for ages. I can see this happening and I can understand the choice – but I think a part of me was hoping for a tale where he has been subdued all this time and is finally unleashed again, instead of this mad genius who’s been pulling strings and doing shit unchecked for a decade. I’m hopeful they’ll play it out well in future chapters, but as a start, this is the one choice I didn’t like.
All in all this is a good opening salvo for a sequel to one of the biggest cult-books/movies of the past couple of decades.
There is scope for immensely crazy things to happen and the stakes have never been higher – but it all hinges on the characters and their evolution and I hope that Palahniuk and team remain up to the task.
Story Score: 7.8 / 10
Art Score: 8 / 10
Overall Score: 7.9 / 10