The boss is coming to town, and Everything needs to be perfect. People’s lives take a sharp turn toward the surreal. Just how surreal? Find out in Everything #3 from Dark Horse Comics.
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: I. N. J. Culbard
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Karen Berger
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 6, 2019
Previously in Everything: Strange things started happening. Young Remo, who recently got a job at Everything, is working at night and spots a Mister Bear toy, like one he had when he was younger. He hits his head, gets sent home, and on his drive, he swerves to avoid a Mister Bear in the middle of the road. Remo dies in the crash. Lori, the loan officer, hears strange music, has nosebleeds and a seizure, and has started to hallucinate. Shirley, the manager of Everything, talks to an unseen voice at home.
EVERYONE MUST BE HAPPY
If Everything #3 has a theme, it is that of a veneer of normalcy thinly layered over a tangled mess of “I don’t know what’s going on.” Everyone is in their own private hell, but somehow the Everything store affects all of them. The experience of reading this book is dreamlike with a thread of paranoia. It gives even the mundane moments a horror flavor.
Lori is up at night scraping paint from the orange and blue striped fence, collecting the paint chips, and taking them home. Shirley takes a knife to her Mister Bear and removes his circuit board. Someone dressed in black goes to the morgue at night, visits the bodies of Remo and the homeless man, removes bags from their chest cavities, and leaves. And the stereo store guy closes up shop and starts making recordings around town.
Lori finds out she has a brain tumor. (Well, that would explain a lot of her situation.) She takes the day off work. She sees a lot of smiling faces around town – and a lot of Everything bags. Are they related? Eb Friendly’s kids have colds and stay home. His wife goes off shopping – at Everything. We cut to Shirley dressing for work and talking apparently to Mister Bear, who talks with her.
The story does progress, and we get a glimpse into what’s behind the scenes at Everything, but the story is told in this disconnected manner. I liked it because it felt strange, and so many things going on are strange, and they don’t seem to be connected at all. Or perhaps another way to think about it is that they are connected by virtue of being singled out as points in this story. We, the readers, may be the only people who see literally everything that is happening, while each of the involved characters only sees their small piece of the puzzle.
FINDING DISQUIET IN THE EVERYDAY
There are several characters in Everything #3 and we move between their stories rapidly. There are a lot of ways that the art, including panel breaks and page breaks, can be used to make these cuts clear. This book instead moves from one scene to the next in unexpected places. Scenes flow directly into one another mid-page leaving us trying to figure out how or even whether they’re connected. To add to the confusion, the color palettes and panel shapes remain the same throughout the page when this happens. It happens multiple times and has to be deliberate, and I think this gives you a sort of off-balance feel.
The color themes continue to play a big part. Orange and blue show up at the oddest times. But that’s been a running theme, so one assumes those things are important. I’m starting to notice another pairing, and that’s red and gray. Those are the colors that Shirley wears. As do the security guards and other employees at Everything. And we see them in the portrait of the founder. Seeing little things like this makes me feel like I’m a conspiracy theorist trying to connect the dots which might (or might not) actually be dots.
BOTTOM LINE: A STYLISTICALLY UNUSUAL BOOK
If you like your horror subtle and unnerving, look no further than Everything #3. If you want your story laid out clearly, this one is going to twist your brain. And we still don’t really know what’s going on, and it’s driving me batty!
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What hold does Everything have over the people of Holland, Michigan?