Anyone who comes into Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 with any knowledge about the title character has to be pretty deep into obscure DC comics. Cave Carson was one of DC’s sci-fi heroes in the early ’60s who never quite reached stardom. In fact, Gerard Way and Jon Rivera‘s new ongoing comic is the first time that Cave Carson has ever headlined his own series.
The short version of Cave’s backstory is that he was one of the foremost explorers of Earth’s hidden underground realms, but he retired to start a family. The first issue opens several years later, as Cave mourns the death of his wife, Eileen, while their daughter, Chloe, deals with their loss in her own way. Some of the most effective moments in this story deal with the collective grief of Cave and Chloe. Their pain resonates and makes them sympathetic.
As you might expect, the titular cybernetic eye does play a rather large role in this issue as well. Artist Michael Avon Oeming has a few clever page layouts that depict the eye constantly scanning things and sending information to Cave’s brain, even if he doesn’t want it. One of the best scenes in the comic revealed that Chloe can’t keep many secrets from Cave, simply because the eye picks up on everything. It’s a sensory overload, and it may be driving him crazy. Even on the first page of the series, the eye gives him a rather unsettling hallucination.
For most of the issue, Oeming’s artwork felt oddly restrained. But his facial expressions and body language are great. His characters say a lot without actually saying anything at all. And sometimes Way and Rivera simply let Oeming’s images do the talking. The issue itself feels like a cross between a normal DC Rebirth title and a Vertigo comic that kinda shares some continuity with the larger DCU. But aside from a Superman reference and a very fun cameo from Doc Magnus and the Metal Men, it feels more like a standalone title than something that fits into a larger whole. That’s probably the correct approach to take with this book, although we’d love to see Doc Magnus’ “bootleg boom tubes.” Those little touches added a lot to this issue.
For an issue that only has 22-pages, this is a surprisingly dense read. It also gets a little crazy near the end of the issue, as Cave encounters a threat that may or may not be real. That’s where Oeming cut loose with a truly disgusting creature and the book’s only real action sequence. It’s really good, but the cliffhanger is a bit of a head-scratcher. Instead of keeping the focus on Cave, the issue jumps back to a minor character and reveals that he’s someone who is currently showing up in one of DC’s live-action adaptations. It’s such an out of place moment that it actually detracts from the rest of the issue. Cave and Chloe seem like they can handle their own story, so it’s like a special guest star is suddenly stealing their thunder right at the moment that the actual leads of the book should be stepping up.
But overall, it’s a pretty strong beginning for one of the flagship titles of the Young Animal line. Cave Carson may finally be a star after this series takes off.
RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
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Images: DC Comics