Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye by Gerard Way, Jon Rivera, and Michael Avon Oeming – A Book Review

You may remember from last November that I loved Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 (click HERE if you want to read that particular review).  Life got in the way of reading subsequent issues, but I made a point to purchase the collected edition of the first six episodes which has been titled “Going Underground.”

Everything I adored about the first issue continues with each additional installment.  Yes, this title gets weirder and weirder (which is a total compliment), but it also gets funnier, more sentimental, and even more full of action.

Way and Rivera pack this volume full of everything a reader could want.  There’s melancholy and loss regarding Cave’s wife, Eileen.  There’s science fiction and mystery regarding his cybernetic eye.  There’s a family dynamic and father/daughter tension regarding his college-aged daughter, Chloe.  There’s intrigue and corporate turmoil regarding his former employer, EBX.  There’s fantasy and philosophical conflict regarding the underground kingdom known as Muldroog.  And there’s lots and lots of gunfire regarding Cave’s unlikely friend and obscure blast from the past, Wild Dog (a personal favorite of mine).

But, even with all of these different things going on, Way and Rivera deliver a cohesive story that seems to be going somewhere specific.  I won’t lie — this book travels to some strange places and doesn’t always make obvious sense.  That’s part of what I love about it.  However, the authors have revealed enough to make me trust their vision and skill.  I suspect this will be an epic story that unfolds slowly amidst more immediate action, and that’s just the way I like it.  Best of all?  There is a dark humor always present, one that is sometimes delightful, sometimes disturbing, but always funny.

Michael Avon Oeming’s art suits this story perfectly.  At times, this book gets really, really violent.  Oeming’s art is a little on the cartoonish side, so it’s always shocking when he depicts one of those intense moments.  However, even though his art has a simplified look, his characters are always in motion, his panels flow smoothly, and the implied movement is always conveyed interestingly.  In other words, he’s very good at this medium.  I particularly enjoy the angles he chooses and his creative use of space upon the page.  At times he employs the traditional panel grid, but he is also unafraid to subvert that convention and do something more experimental.

We can’t appreciate Michael Avon Oeming without also crediting Nick Filardi’s coloring.  There are certain teams in the industry that enhance each other’s talents to create something incredibly special.  Oeming and Filardi are such a duo.  Filardi’s colors in this book are subdued yet extreme, strange yet beautiful, traditional yet innovative.  His use of the dot matrix looks customary but feels revolutionary, which is probably a great way to describe Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye as a whole.

It’s also a great way to describe another element of this book — Tom Scioli’s Super Powers.  Allow me to take a trip down memory lane … Once upon a time, I enjoyed a cartoon called Super Friends.   The Super Friends had a few kid members, particularly Zan and Jayna — The Wonder Twins.  That cartoon eventually evolved into Super Powers, which also had a comic book and a toy line that I still revere to this day.  Finally, comic books used to have backup stories featuring less popular characters that couldn’t always support their own series.

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye features such a backup story called Super Powers by Tom Scioli that features Zan and Jayna — The Wonder Twins.  It is absolutely bonkers and marvelous.  It embraces beloved elements and designs of that era, yet it also undermines those elements to create something mutinous and captivating.  It is unorthodox, daring, and strangely charming.  In an industry where we seem to keep getting the same stories over and over, Super Powers defies established methodology.

By now you’ve probably guessed this, but I highly recommend you add Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye: Going Underground to your bookshelves.

(Did you enjoy this review?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

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Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye by Gerard Way, Jon Rivera, and Michael Avon Oeming- A (Comic) Book Review

It’s not often I buy a single-issue comic book (or, as I affectionately refer to them – floppies), but I could not resist this issue due to the title alone.  Cave Carson would not have garnered my curiosity, but Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye?  Yes, that’s the kind of title that demands my attention.

I remember Cave Carson from my old Who’s Who comic books.  I don’t think I ever actually had a comic book with Cave in it, but reading about him in Who’s Who made me consider him a strange character.  Not quite a hero, but not quite a regular guy, either.  I categorized him in there with the Challengers Of the Unknown or the Sun Devils.

Gerard Way and Jon Rivera have taken what I would consider an obscure character and made him riveting.  Part of the fun of Cave Carson is that most of us don’t remember a single thing about him.  I’m 39, and I recall from my childhood him having underground adventures with his team, but that’s about it.

Cave Carson is now a widower.  His wife, and also teammate, died of an illness, and his daughter has grown into an independent college student.  Strangest of all, he has a cybernetic eye, something new to the character.  Why does he have a cybernetic eye?  That has yet to be revealed, but the eye is causing him all kinds of problems because it’s acting almost of its own accord.

Carson is depressed, purposeless, and suffering psychedelic visions that may or not be real.  Way and Rivera set up ample plot opportunities, develop interesting, engaging characters, and provide several satisfying guest appearances.  I won’t spoil it for you, but the very last page offered the return of a much beloved, equally obscure character from my childhood.

But do you know what really sets this book apart?  Micheal Avon Oeming.  Way and Rivera’s script might have been rather pedestrian in the hands of a lesser artist, but Oeming has a unique, weird style to his art that suits a book such as this perfectly.  His art is slightly cartoonish due to odd perspectives and angled characters, but it sets the tone so perfectly while catching the eye’s attention – it’s magnificent to behold.  Somehow Oeming makes characters simply taking to each other dynamic.  That’s the sign of a great sequential artist.

Best of all, there’s some really fun stuff in the back of the book.  Again, I won’t spoil it for you, but they did something totally fresh that took me back to my younger days of DC readership.

Though it’s been out for a few weeks, I absolutely recommend Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1.  It’s one of the most original comic books I’ve read in some time.  In fact, this title has made me enthusiastic for the other Young Animal imprint’s titles.  I’m going to see if I can still find some of those first issues.

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