Christopher Cantwell’s second foray into comic books doesn’t ease you into it; you’re catapulted into its chaos. His previous series which ended last month, She Could Fly, was about one girl’s mental illness and her desperate journey to be free of it. It was amazing, heart wrenching, surreal, absurd, and one of my favorite series of the last two years. Everything ups the ante.
Holland, Michigan (which upon looking up has a population of about 33,000) is the perfect example of middle America. Quaint and beautiful, in the middle of it all drops a supermarket called Everything. Throngs of people, in fact seemingly the entire population of Holland, have gathered for the grand opening. At the center of it is Shirley, a strange woman who is presented on the cover of the issue. She’s the store manager. She seems so pleased with the people at the threshold of her store that for anyone outside of the mania (the reader), it’s off-putting.
We’re introduced to several other characters of this quaint town: Lieutenant Dunbar (who seems to have gone through a traumatic experience and is now in a deep depression) sells property; Remo (a teenager with an abusive dad) has a job interview set up; Eberhard Friendly (the city manager) has an ant infestation in his modern-day mansion, and the for-now-nameless salesman at a stereo store. There’s very little connection between these characters, but it does set up a sort of Needful Things vibe. Each of these characters is looking for something… that Everything may provide.
Christopher Cantwell masterfully avoids all of the tropes of an expository first issue by relying on dreamlike visuals, quick dialogue exchanges, and a hefty dose of foreshadowing. I.N.J Culbards takes the reigns Cantwell gives him and, with his art and beautiful colors, holds the skeleton of the series together. The first issue is almost musical in its rhythms, which makes sense since a sort of musical element permeates the issue.
This is my kind of first issue. It may not be everyone’s, but based on She Could Fly, if Everything is even half as good, you’ll want to get in on the ground floor with me. Pick up the first issue, and then the second. Give it a shot.
Creative Team: Christopher Cantwell (writer), I.N.J. Culbard (artist), Steve Wands (letterer), Karen Berger (editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics, Berger Books
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