Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 Review and **SPOILERS**

Life Isn’t All About Fun and Cybernetic Eyes

Written By: Gerard Way and Jon Rivera 
Cover and Art By: Michael Avon Oeming 
Cover and Interior Colors By: Nick Filardi 
Letters By: Clem Robins 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: October 19, 2016


Here it is, folks: the first Young Animal title featuring a character I know precisely nothing about. I mean, I’ve done a little bit of research, so I know about him now, but I’ve either never read comics featuring Cave or haven’t recalled his inclusion in the books I did read, so I’m going into this almost totally blind. Now we see what these revivalist comics are made of! If the issue is well-written, then I shouldn’t need to have read prior issues to put the pieces together—or, at least, be intrigued to read more. If It’s poorly-written, then I will probably come away as confused as some of you did after reading Doom Patrol. So let’s find out, shall we? Check out my review of Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye number one!

Explain It!
Cave Carson’s had one hell of a life, full of bizarre adventures and death-defying feats, as a career miner with the tendency to pop into underworld dimensions and the tenacity to take on robot dinosaurs. But though the spirit may be willing, the flesh is weak—except for his handy cybernetic eye, which scans everything and stores what is viewed like some endlessly expandable security hard drive—and so Cave Carson shifts to a quiet life with his wife Lena and his college-age daughter Chloe. And then his wife died. This put a real kick in Cave’s retirement plans. Not only is it damned depressing, but it seems to have coincided with his mechanical eyeball going all wacky; transmitting cruel hallucinations and making good use of Photoshop filters. After the wedding, and bidding his daughter goodbye, there’s nothing left for Cave to do but head to his secret bunker of monitors and super computers. Probably.

Though a life may end, life doesn’t, and Cave still meets with a friend of his to get some free automotive repair and shoot the breeze. This guy—who we find out is actually Wild Dog later on—is a good friend, asking after Carson and giving him Credence Clearwater Revival albums and bourbon. Seems like a good recipe for mourning. We also find out that Cave is still employed: he works in an advisory capacity to foreboding corporation EBX. There, they develop machinery to make mining a lot cooler than it is presented in those creepy pictures of coal-faced children from the early 20th century. Everyone at EBX is glad to see Cave, and they’ve implemented his procedures and taken his advice about mineral collecting to prove that they can fairly well operate without his further input, thank you very much. While at EBX, Cave’s eye wigs out and he sees Technicolor versions of his wife, but this passes.

That eye is quite a machine, I tell you what. While idly eating dinner with his daughter Chloe, she prods Cave to reveal that he can tell that the tires are low on her car, she snuck a drink in the bathroom, and there’s some weed on her jacket. Though that last bit could really just have happened due to regular collegiate activities. Chloe isn’t thrilled at being scanned by her dad’s robot eye, but she is very sympathetic to his loss, and tells him that it’s just the two of them now. Cave isn’t without his friends, as stated: he visits with Dr. Wil Magnus, creator of the Metal Men, for an optometrist’s check-up. Problem is, even Dr. Magnus’ amazing apparatuses can penetrate it—he says it’s “basically a mysterious mineral coated in a delicious shell of unidentifiable metal.” It’s taken root in his head, and to remove it would kill him. I wonder if this is like Spider-Man’s symbiotic suit that turned into Venom? Magnus gives him a “Magnaband,” which he thinks should clear up the hallucinations Cave has been having of late. That evening, while wearing the Magnaband, a Muldroogan, which is like a white-haired skinny refugee from a Genndy Tartakovsky cartoon, seeks Cave’s help because EBX is up to something. While Cave converses with the Muldroogan, it bursts open to reveal a much scarier green monster! Cave thinks it’s the eye, but when the monster starts tossing him around he calls it “Mazra” and grabs a drill. Then Cave drills that motherfucker in the fact until it spits out three gallons of glowing green goo. This is definitely something Carson needs to tell his best buddy, the Credence fan, who is there for him as always—and suggests they hit the town together, as Cave Carson and Wild Dog! I kind of gave that away earlier in the recap, but in the book it was a pleasant surprise.

Indeed, this whole comic book is a pleasant surprise. The art is highly stylized and seems to embody several visual formulas used in traditional mid 20th century animation. The story was reasonably easy to follow, even for a complete Cave Carson neophyte like myself. This looks to be a more human story than the other two Young Animal books, at least thus far, and I am interested to know how Cave copes with the loss of his wife while his employer simultaneously wages a secret war against…something. I guess Muldroog, or at least Muldroogians. All I know is that some bad shit is gonna go down, and I want to see what it will be!

Bits and Pieces:

I had no history with this character going into the book, and I find I didn't need to. It was pretty intriguing and, at times, emotional enough to make me interested to know more. The artwork is highly stylized and has a very 1960s advertising aesthetic, though it straddles several styles that work more often than not. Very curious, Mr. Cave Carson. You drew me in with your cybernetic eye, but I think the organ we might learn more about is his heart.


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