I am FCBD Fight Club’s review. Chuck Palahniuk’s novel was first published in 1996 and David Fincher’s movie adaptation of it came out in 1999. It’s hard to think about that story without thinking about the times when it was produced and what it meant to be a “man” in the 1990s. Twenty years later, Palahniuk writes the sequel in comic form and hardly misses a beat in this year’s FCBD offering from Dark Horse. Offering a slightly different ending of the novel, Palahniuk’s story offers a transition from the novel to the upcoming comic series with the narrator once again at the mercy of the dangerously charismatic Tyler Durden. Cameron Stewart’s artwork and Dave Stewart’s colors captures the brutal world, alternating between the narrator’s love and hate relationship with it. This story serves only as an appetizer though as Palahniuk and Stewart use it to remind us of the world of Fight Club as they prepare to unleash the full sequel on the 21st century.
The second story in Dark Horse’s FCBD issue features Eric Powell’s The Goon in a short story about the Goon’s travelling circus entering a town of Confederate vampires. Powell’s story is fun as he has his villains obviously in over their heads as they don’t realize who they’re dealing with. Powell’s artwork is at times reminiscent of the great Gene Colan as he uses his pencil to sketch out the settings of the story. Look up Colan’s work on DC’s Nathaniel Dusk and then look at Powell’s shot of an old, decrepit southern mansion. It’s the pencil work that’s similar in both comics but Colan’s horror work, particularly his Dracula comics, sets up so much of the horror and action in Powell’s comics.
David Lapham and Mike Huddleston provide the final story, The Strain. Unlike Fight Club or The Goon which don’t presume too much knowledge of the reader, Lapham’s story only means something if you know the vampire mythology of the series this is from. It’s hard to get invested in this as Lapham and Huddleston are creating a piece that’s more driven by mood and suspense than character or plot. Powell’s story didn’t need much other than what was on the page to pull the reader in while Lapham’s story maybe doesn’t need as much either but it also doesn’t give that much of a reason to care about another vampire story. Huddleston’s artwork drives the mood and anxiety, leading to a final image that’s far more interesting than any other moment in Lapham’s story.