Welcome to the store that can sell you happiness, security, and comfort! Or can it? Find out in Everything #5 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: January 1, 2020
Previously in Everything: People in the town of Holland really love the Everything store, enough that they’ll turn on anyone who voices concerns about it. Lori meets an old woman named Sarah who tells her she can use the blue and orange flowers she’s growing to open her mind and resist having it taken over. Lori also has a chance meeting with the guy from the stereo store, who also has a resistance to Everything and they converse briefly, but she leaves. She only wants to be as happy as everyone else appears to be. Eb Friendly and his children are also not being made happy; they’re all physically ill. Shirley learns of this, and someone else from Everything reminds her that anyone not “receiving correctly” must be eliminated.
THE BOSS, THE BEAR, AND MR. GOODER
Shirley is having a conversation with Mister Bear as Everything #5 starts. She’s having a crisis. She’s supposed to make people happy, but she knows that people who aren’t receiving correctly are going to die. She saved Lori, but she can’t save the others because it would be too suspicious. Then they switch to hexadecimal code to continue, which is cool (although it may take a little effort to translate).
Eb Friendly is no longer the smiling guy we first met. He is gaunt. His hair is falling out and he has widespread skin lesions. One of his little girls in on oxygen. His home is overrun with ants. The exterminators can take care of the ants, but they need to leave the house for a few days. And the Everything parade is coming up.
Lori, cured of her brain tumor, starts working at Everything. She also wants to be friends with Shirley, who is also looking for a friend. They agree to spend an evening together, watching a movie, and a couple other things happen. Shirley is reprimanded by her boss downstairs and threatened with reprogramming. He also tells her that Lori Dunbar has been inside the Lighthouse, which is somehow significant to them. That evening, during the movie, Sarah from the Lighthouse stops by and leaves a basket on Shirley’s porch.
Meanwhile, the guy from the stereo store brings a record into the store – Schumann, the music he and Lori have both heard. He asks to try it out on one of their turntables. This interferes with the signal everyone has been getting, and we clearly see the subliminal messaging to buy more things and to be happy. He gets tackled by security, marched out of the store, and driven to a remote spot in the woods. Their plan is foiled by another man. He’s from Cleveland; he’s also not affected by the signals; he also knows that there’s something deep underground below Everything.
The narration is still circuitous as reality is peeled back one layer at a time. I think being set back in time is crucial – a story like this works better in a time when you can’t just jump on the internet and where you don’t have a camera on you at all times. It’s easier to read now that we have an idea of how the threads connect, but there are unplumbed depths to discover. This is a solid horror thriller and I love the complexity that comes with bad guys doing things that they may think are beneficial.
FEAR AND SADNESS IN HOLLAND
The color themes continue in Everything #5. I like the use of both orange and red. There are moments where the lighting shifts, and orange and red are related enough that under different light, they seem to shift. Does this reflect any actual wavering in these characters? Only time will tell, but it’s a fun thought experiment to ponder.
The horror is kicked up a notch as well. Poor Eb Friendly – his life has turned into a nightmare complete with some body horror. The ants in his house are no longer a single line; there are enormous swarms of them. His decline has been so fast and so dramatic, and worse is yet to come for him. His daughters are in awfully good spirits, considering, which makes their plight all the more awful.
Mr. Gooder arrives this issue, just in time for the parade. He looks like his portrait, a short, older man with a hint of a smile and plenty of laugh lines around his eyes. He looks kindly and benign, even grandfatherly. But there’s no doubt that he understands what Everything is all about. What lies beneath this pleasant mask?
BOTTOM LINE: COMMENTARY ON CONSUMERISM
Everything #5 is an eerie book. There’s some serious violence and killing underneath a superficial veneer of off-kilter oddness. I like how it takes consumerism to a pathological extreme and makes it creepy.
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Welcome to Everything – where you will be assimilated, or you will die.