Review – Fight Club 3 #1 (Dark Horse)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Colours: McCaig
Release Date: 30th January 2019

Chuck Palahniuk is a writer of extremes. Known for delivering intense stories of violence and loss of identity in an ever shifting society, as well as providing intense layers to his characters, both those with a single identity and those with multiples living in their psyche.  He’s also well-known for giving an intense response to fans when writing a sequel to one of his most loved creations.  And now, following the fantastically meta Fight Club 2, he has responded in typically extreme fashion with the first issue of Fight Club 3, on sale this week from Dark Horse Comics.

Rather than giving the reader answers or updates about where the characters are and how the events of the last series has affected their lives, Palahniuk instead delivers an issue with almost no dialogue or explanation at all. At first this seems like a good joke, particularly given the anticipation many readers have expressed for this threequel, but it soon becomes clear that, much like some of the issues of Fight Club 2, he’s happy to simply take a step back and let Cameron Stewart’s striking artwork do the talking here.

Our protagonist is going by yet another chosen name, Balphazar, and trying to find himself new work. But is this merely an excuse to run away from his family just like the generation of fathers did before him? Marla is slaving away at home, raising a seemingly unaffected junior, quite unaffected it seems with his time with Tyler who himself seems to have once again disappeared into the psyche of Balphazar.

While this is happening, a strange subplot plays out involving a frame, a dead dog and Nazi gold. Quite what the hell this has to do with the main story I have absolutely no clue, but like the rest of the “Space Monkey” disciples I’m waiting with bated breath to find out.

Ambiguity is the main theme of this issue. Much like the ending of Fight Club 2, Chuck throws a whimper rather than a bang at the reader, expecting them to find their own meaning by filling in the blanks between a flash of a newspaper article or the artistic clues which cover the pages.  It’s a bold move indeed, and one that not many comics would get away with, but it’s also exactly what we’ve come to expect from Fight Club.

Palahniuk doesn’t give us what we want here but rather what we need. Namely a story that makes the reader think not just about what’s going on but also about their own expectations of the archetypes portrayed in the story; the flies buzzing on the page hinting at a character’s intent; the name drop of “snowflake” for a caller I.D.; a subtle tattoo on the neck. All raising enough questions to leave us staring at every panel with the steely focus of a seasoned detective combing a crime scene for clues.

A leisurely return then, featuring more of what we’ve seen before, although that’s probably not a bad thing if it continues in a similar vein to the previous series.

Rating: 3.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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