Palahniuk continues his warped mind’s free play as usual, and we are constantly reminded that Tyler is always a step ahead of Sebastian and has been for a long time. Every time we think he’ll get ahead, Tyler pops in to revel in his chaotic dominance. It’s interesting that Sebastian can’t figure out that Tyler’s had ten years to work, and he goes to the place where he thinks he can climb up again. We find out this issue that Marla may understand just how outclassed they might be, so she takes a sideways run at the issue. A fun moment where she breaks the fourth wall to have a powwow with Chuck and the writing team for a little “Men in Tights” script consultation just goes to reinforce the fact that Palahniuk is willing to play with the media he’s working in. Paying close attention helps, as there are tiny moments everywhere that call back to the dense jungle of fiction that he’s put out in this series and the original work.
Cameron Stewart has just the right kind of sick mind to bring the script to life in alternately horrifying and hilarious ways. The visceral sense of every moment brings everything into sharpest focus; there’s no pulling back from any panel in this issue. It feels, at times, like entire pages are the single frames of porn that Tyler would delight in sliding into family movies, but there’s no fluffy bunny on the other side of the graphic moments we’re subjected to. Maybe it’s better that way. Either way, the final page of this issue has a huge statement, and I think that it’s maybe the best image thus far in the series. It’s subversive, it’s haunting, and it’s a perfect fit for this twisted and warped world.
This book is beginning to stand on its own, which is noticeable when callbacks to the first work feel more like they're simply adding depth to what we’re seeing now rather than propping up the narrative. This series is standing on its own feet now and is ready to pick a fight.
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