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‘Fight Club 2 #10:’ Advance Comic Book Review

All the world’s a stage . . .

When I sat down to read this issue, my one thought was “What’s the twist going to be?”  The final act of this story had to be something unexpected, and with Tyler and his followers being buried in salt while the world is about to burn, I wasn’t sure how Palahniuk would bring it all together.  Well, kids, there’s definitely a twist, and it’s from as far left field as Tyler’s reveal was and will connect you to an author more intimately that I had expected.  There’s no way for me to discuss the ramifications without getting spoilery, so here’s my deal to you:  The next two paragraphs will be my typical breakdown of the story and art, and the last one will be the Spoiler Zone. (You can admit that Kenny Loggins is in your head right now. It’s okay.)  I’ll mark it clearly, though my editor thinks that I’m not really spoiling anything. I’m just being cautious for those of you that really want to go in blind.

This issue starts with the end.  No, really, the bombs that were seconds from going off in the cliffhanger?  They go off, and then the ending begins.  It’s a little like the Extended Cut of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: it just keeps ending.  The “real world” and the story world collide, and we’re not sure when each became each other.  I’m not sure if the finale is more exciting or infuriating, and as such I think that it’s the perfect wrap up this tale.  Palahniuk’s didactic style is in full effect here, layering meaning into every moment and always on the verge on talking directly to his audience.  In fact, there’s one panel towards the middle of the issue that sums up both works.  It’s somewhat easy to glance over, but it arrests you and brings you back pretty quick when you realize what it was that you just read.  The story as a whole seems to have been the next level of the Russian stacking dolls, moving from the ethereal to the material.  Though it’s really the only place our mental Alexander could go (Sky’s the limit, indeed.), it’s still a surprising ending to the whole work.

Cameron Stewart gets pulled into the wall-breaking act as well this time, and to be honest it makes for my favorite panel in the whole issue.  We’re treated to more of the obstruction elements, this time in the form of rose petals in a red carpet sort of celebratory moment towards the end, highlighting the themes of the finale quite well. Throughout the series, Stewart has rendered the dirty and the glorious, at times an almost subtle nod to the manga tradition with exaggeration of joy in the most tense scenarios, lightening the atmosphere just enough to make the plunge back into the hard stuff all the more effective.  Concurrently, the last image is so shocking in its delivery that you’ll need a moment to process it.

This has been a story about Tyler finding ways to increase his reach and influence, and this final chapter solidifies that underlying thread and brings it to a conclusion that is at times rude and perfect for good discussion.  That’s why I’ve enjoyed the type of controversial antics that Palahniuk fosters in his work, because the discussions with others has been some of the most interesting parts of the experience for me.  In a way, Tyler does make his impact upon our world in a somewhat sterilized way.

*******Here there may be spoils.********

I’m really struck by Palahniuk’s willingness to utilize himself in the story.  Before this issue, I had thought it was more derived from the perception of conceit that follows him at times, but this finale really sells the reason that it worked so well.  This representation of himself is filled with condescension and high-handed intellectual bullying, and he uses it to not only speak to us but it so aptly apes the points he makes about Tyler and Sebastian that he spouts to the crowd that gathers outside his door.  I have to be honest: I absolutely hated that entire gimmick the second it developed, and showing the tattoos of Tyler’s words on the arms and lower backs of the fan mob seemed like such a slam of people that would read his stuff that I was turned off completely, but once I realized the parallels to what he was saying, I instantly went back over it and found it a fun and risky tool that worked better than I would have thought.  The twist of Tyler showing up in the “real” world pays off on every page that follows and really sold the whole series very well indeed.  I like that this felt like a connected and well-thought-out tale, told without anything seeming extraneous in any way.  It was smart, thematically rewarding, and fun to boot.

Share the stories that move you.

Erik Cheski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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