With 78 years of accumulated history, the DC Universe is really a strange place, and writers Gerard Way and Jon Rivera and artist Michael Avon Oeming mine that strange side in Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #1, the latest release from Way’s Young Animal print. Cave Carson is a Silver Age era “daredevil” hero, who was created in response to characters like the Challengers of the Unknown, but with a side of spelunking. His adventures were featured in backup stories for books like Brave and the Bold and Showcase , and Cave has made cameos in comics like the villain Eclipso’s solo series and even Infinite Crisis.
Way and Rivera make Cave a compelling character by giving him the very relatable problem of dealing with grief and escaping into the hallucinations of his cybernetic eye to avoid the emotions surrounding the death of his wife, Eileen. The comic doesn’t fall into the melodramatic trap of making Cave’s daughter Chloe, a total rebel, and him being a deadbeat dad, but there is some strain in their relationship as depicted in a diner scene. Oeming draws Cave as listlessly scanning his daughter with his eye before she snaps him out of it, and he finally opens up about how all the minerals and things he discovered underground couldn’t save his wife. This panel is the melancholy heart of Cave Carson.
Colorist Nick Filardi makes Cave Carson #1 drearier than an entire year of rainy days while occasionally making the book’s color palette look like someone dropped acid when Cave uses his cybernetic eye. The grey skies during Eileen’s funeral look like actual skies and not some kind of film noir knockoff, and there is not an ounce of brightness as Cave returns to his home and lab. Oeming’s double page spread shows the sudden nature of grief as he condenses an entire funeral and road trip in two pages, and Filardi’s bleak color scheme finishes the job. However, he’s not afraid to get a little weird, like the puke green shade he picks out for the monster that looks to be Cave Carson’s first antagonist.
While keeping the story very stand alone, Way and Rivera place Cave Carson firmly into the both the science hero and mad scientist tradition of Silver Age comics where every hero was scientist, or fought them. He is more comfortable talking shop with Will Magnus and the Metal Men or running his fingers through his old spelunking vehicle than having normal human interactions. And, like in Doom Patrol, Way (and Rivera) doesn’t tip off his the twists and turns of plot too soon through the use of the Ben-Day dot filled flashbacks, a possibly extradimensional monster, and an intriguing fellow on the final page, who has the body of a superhero, but the wardrobe of a serial killer. However, Cave Carson #1 gives readers a good idea of what makes its hero tick along with his problems and interests before monsters start exploding.
Michael Avon Oeming has one of the most aesthetically pleasing art styles with his angular figures finding a perfect balance between Mike Mignola and Bruce Timm just like Cave Carson has a little superhero and a little body horror going for it wrapped in a science fiction package. Gerard Way and Jon Rivera also make Cave Carson himself a likeable protagonist with dry sense of humor and love for science buried beneath his sadness.
The combination of character study from Way and Rivera with exemplary storytelling and atmosphere from Oeming and Nick Filardi and just a touch of Silver Age whimsy are a few reasons why Cave Carson #1 is my favorite Young Animal comic so far.
Story: Gerard Way and Jon Rivera Art: Michael Avon Oeming Colors: Nick Filardi
Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.