“They took everything.” A statement uttered by a character in the town of Holland, Michigan, your average, middle-American town where a newly opened store called Everything is taking its toll on everyone… by giving everyone exactly what they think that want. Consumerism and, as an extension, unfettered capitalism are the villains in this new, genre-bending sci-fi comic book series by Christopher Cantwell and I.N.J. Culbard.
This issue begins with a quote from a Sears Catalog, urging you to look carefully through the book, knowing that if you do you’ll find something to buy that you know you don’t need, but, in the moment, you want. Consumerism may be the villain here, but a spiritual conflict is at work in Cantwell’s comic books. The characters’ souls are the pieces on the board. One such conflict is in Shirley, the floor sales manager at Everything. She has been programmed to make people happy at the expense of the lives of those who are unable to be made happy, but she feels a sadness in her. A sadness she senses in one of the residents in Lori Dunbar only amplifies that conflict.
There is spiritual entanglement at play: the beauty of sadness and hope and the frivolous desire to fill those open voids with every want until your happiness is actually feeling nothing at all.
These spiritual themes are wrapped in a science fiction mystery, as Everything seems to be controlled by machinations that readers are only beginning to learn about. A massive underground structure of sci-fi origins lies beneath the store itself.
Cantwell excels at creating the ever-increasing feeling of madness for the reader; thousands of ants inhabit one character’s home, appearing as large black patches covering the walls. You feel his loss, his decline, his surrender, and his anxiety. You see him as Job from the Bible, but to whom is he experiencing sacrifice for, certainly not the “god” we need, but instead that “god” we think we need.
Creative Team: Christopher Cantwell (writer), I.N.J. Culbard (artist), Steve Wands (letterer) Karen Berger (editor)
Publisher: Darker Horse Comics and Berger Books
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