Everything, Vol. 1

Christopher Cantwell and I.N.J. Culbard. Dark Horse/Berger, $19.99 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-5067-1492-9
The second comic book miniseries from Cantwell, cocreator of the TV series Halt and Catch Fire, plunges from its opening pages into trippy retro weirdness. The year is 1980, and Everything, a megastore promising to serve every conceivable need and desire, has just opened in the quiet suburban town of Holland. At the same time, the town is inundated with strange phenomena: bug infestations, spontaneous human combustion, music from nowhere, “color harmonics,” and physical and mental degradation among the townspeople. Lori, new in town and starved for human connection, joins the few locals investigating the mysteries of Everything, only to be seduced by its cultlike employee culture and relentlessly upbeat manager (and possible android), Shirley. Culbard’s clean art and flat, bright colors are almost magazine-ad generic, appropriate to the theme of commercial artificiality eating away at reality. The fast-moving plot is engrossing but often confusing; a baseline for the book’s fictional universe isn’t established, for instance, by the time a talking teddy bear shows up. As the narrative ends with a plot twist, it’s not yet clear if the comic’s many threads will pull together toward a satisfying resolution. Though Cantwell aims for the fun-house fearlessness of lit-pop comics creators such as Grant Morrison, at times the barrage of ideas threatens to numb rather than awe. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/15/2020
Release date: 04/21/2020
Genre: Comics
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