My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This issue picks up w. the Narrator (Sebastian) & Marla trying to pick up the pieces after Tyler’s fiery re-entry into their lives. With their house burned down & their son disappeared, both have to face facts: Marla finally admits to tampering with Sebastian’s meds, a large insurance policy has been taken out on their son a week before and the clues point out increasingly that Tyler has pulled this stunt before. Storywise, this issue is a little static & continues to build on what was set-up in the first issue. The Narrator’s decision at the end to re-enter his little Mayhem Society is a little obvious.
What this second issue makes clearer to me it that Palahniuk is writing something that is a sequel in spirit but not necessarily in function. I mentioned last time Tyler’s attitude toward Marla was a discrepancy. This time, the latest deviation from the previous story is Sebastian’s history with his parents, who are shown in flashbacks as dead pretty early in Sebastian’s life. Which is odd, considering in the previous story Mr. Narrator mentions a couple of anecdotes of failed adulthood that include conversations with his dad.
Palahniuk has also recently announced that he’ll be appearing in this sequel, which some of us suspected based on the look of a certain character Tyler calls in the shrink’s office in issue #1. I’m also struggling with Marla’s recharacterization here. At the end of the first story, she admits to liking Sebastian Narrator & assures him she know the difference between him & Tyler. While I can understand her wanting Tyler back for some spice in her dull suburban life (which parallels Sebastian’s realization he won’t be young again) it bothers me that she’s ready to dismiss S entirely. What attracted her to him in the first place? I think I’m just frustrated here because it seems too easy to turn her in a bored working wife looking for quick thrills.
Despite my problems with some of the story, I’m still enjoying Cameron Stewart’s art and there are interesting details that keep me reading. But I have to admit that my attitude right now is more, “Ok, where are you going with this?” than “I can’t wait for the next issue!!”