DC Comics/Young Animal
As if the title didn’t tell you, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye (CCHACE) is a very different kind of DC Comic. It’s unsurprising, since it falls under the umbrella of Gerard Way’s new “Young Animal” imprint which is making wacky, weird updates to old DC Comics. It’s also very surprising, because while DC’s “Rebirth” program is restoring a neoclassicism to the DC Universe at large, “Young Animal” is going off in the wacky, experimental directions that the company unsuccessfully tried to do with “DCYou.” And maybe that’s OK. The success of the Vertigo line in the 90s may have been attributable to it allowing DC to flex its “weird” muscles while keeping its main characters in the realm of classic superhero tropes.
So CCHACE takes another character out of DC’s space-age treasure chest, blows off the dust, and asks what can be done with it. Classically, “Cave” Carson was one of those classical, pre-Kirby “man’s man” characters who explored strange realms within the Earth and found lost civilizations and such. The modernized creative team keeps all that intact–it seems totally plausible that the character’s Silver Age adventures happened here. But it also lifts the character into the modern era, asking what a character like that does when a bygone era is long over.
The series launches with Cave’s wife having recently died, so now his life is just down to him and his adult daughter. There’s this tremendous sense that Cave is now just a man who doesn’t know what to with himself. Worse, the titular cybernetic eye is causing him post-mortem problems. It’s an alien artifact that records everything and he doesn’t know how it works, and it keeps showing him visions of things he doesn’t want to see, including his dead wife.
CCHACE has a post-1950s melancholy to it, showing a man–or super-man, as it were–who’s lost purpose in the absence of the person who gave it to him. It’s not like Cave is retired, as he’s still developing new exploration technology and still hangs out with Will Magnus and other superheroes. It’s not that the world is moving on, it’s that life is moving on–his daughter is growing up as well–and he just doesn’t know what to do with that.
CCHACE is aided tremendously by Michael Avon Oeming’s artwork, which is very much styled in a space-age, Darwyn Cooke-manner. There’s nothing indicating that this comic is set in the Silver Age; it just feels that way the same way that The Incredibles felt very retro without actually being so. This book is wonderful eye-candy just for that reason.
As a bonus, Gerard Way has somehow roped Tom Scioli into the “Young Animal” line. Scioli is known for taking his love of 1980s toy properties and turning them into an equally insane and intelligent story. Here, Scioli takes the madness he applied to Transformers vs. G.I.Joe and does a short “Super Powers” story about the Wonder Twins which…well, just read it. If you read Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, you’ll know what to expect from Scioli…except you totally won’t, because it’s Scioli.
Rating: Four Cybernetic Eyes Out of Five