By Shawn Warner
Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye is possibly the best comic book on the racks today, the only problem is that it is most likely one of the most consistently overlooked offerings from DC. Now to be fair it is part of their Young Animal group of more eclectic books, however unlike the Vertigo titles that came before them and dominated the 90’s pre-hipster comic book era with such series as the legendary Sandman by Neil Gaimen, The Preacher by Garth Ennis and countless mind-blowing mini-series by the great Grant Morrison, Young Animal and its leader the uber-cool Gerard Way seem to be stumbling in the dark to find its target audience. In fact, the flagship title, Doom Patrol also penned by Way has just recently been all but officially cancelled. Things seem bleak indeed for Way and his Young Animal cohorts, but that’s the ironic thing here, these books are darn good reads, all of them. However, we are here to speak of Cave Carson so, shall we begin?
In recent issues of the eponymously titled series Cave’s titular Cybernetic Eye has taken leave of its socket, it has run off under its own power and decision it seems. After the events in issue #6 were Cave and his team faced the Whisperer and his cult, the eye seemed to have its own plan and off it went to follow it to completion over the next few issues.
Issue #9 is written by Jon Rivera from a story by he and Gerard Way. The pair of scribes share a chemistry that works well, particularly on this tale of time twisting pursuit of Cave’s renegade eye. The antagonistic Whisperer continues his emotionally vampiric onslaught aided by his cult. Much like Brother Power the Geek which sadly only lasted two issues back in the 60’s Cave Carson owes much to the mind bending, reality warping visuals, here created by psychedelic artist extraordinaire, Michael Avon Oeming. To say this guy can’t draw a straight line is in no way an insult, his lines are anything but straight, he contorts the characters physically while Rivera and Way warp them with words. This is such an excellent creative team.
The issue opens with a serene picnic scene, lovers holding hands and share a snapshot, by the way the couple is green skinned and rather amphibious in appearance. The dialogue is written in the lovers’ alien vernacular; however, the universal language of love informs the scene. The quietude lasts but a single page before the chaos of Cave’s chase tears the silence asunder. He and Wild Dog are attempting some vehicle repairs while the rest of Team Carson fight through a storm of bullets while all but running out of ammunition themselves. The tension is palpable in these action-packed panels, cinematically laid out by Oeming, each panel explodes into the next, not just with imagery and color but with plot progression. The team is up and running once more not just through space but hurling through time. Oeming does one particular splash page the so adeptly illustrates the crews voyage through eons as he renders an era of warfare between the monstrous tendrils of one of the Whisperer’s creations. The idea that the crew is reliving the same lives only slightly changed begins to weigh heavily upon them, except for Cave’s tough as nails daughter Chloe and Wild Dog who has fallen asleep at this point as the battle rages just outside the car windows.
The newly eye patch sporting Cave looks more pirate than spelunker as he pilots the craft containing everyone he cares about. The absurdist action continues from here and if you are already an indoctrinated fan of this series you know that not even the laws of physics can hamper the excitement faced by the most eclectic team this side of the Doom Patrol. Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye is admittedly not for everyone, but oh to live in a world where it was. The elements that Grant Morrison brought into his runs on Doom Patrol and The Invisibles are at work here in this series as well, Dadaism, absurdism and even a bit of chaos magic, all the things that should be making this book fly off the racks. The visual style of Michael Avon Oeming is taken into the stratosphere by Nick Filardi’s colors, the final effect is like watching the Saturday morning cartoons of our youth only this time around they were created by Salvador Dali. Rivera and Way work extremely well together, although admittedly I am a bit lost at this point as to Way’s actual involvement in the writing process, I’m not sure if he plotted it out and then maybe phones some dialogue in, either way the result is, to quote 90’s pop icon Matthew Sweet, 100% fun.
Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye #9
Writter: Jon Rivera
Story: Gerard Way & Jon Rivera
Artist Michael Avon Oeming
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Clem Robins
Publisher: DC Comics