CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #1 is the third title from DC's Young Animal imprint to come to shelves. It's both similar and different from DOOM PATROL and SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL. Similar in that the comic plucks an obscure character out of DC Comics history and puts him in the spotlight of his own somewhat off-kilter story. Different in that it has a vibe and look all its own. It's something I'm very much liking about the Young Animal titles so far—they connect to each other thematically in a big picture sort of way, while living in distinct and varied worlds. And the worlds depicted in DC's Young Animal series aren't like other places we regularly see in comics; they feel more grounded. The sense of realism enhances the fantastical elements. Make sense?
Let's focus on Cave Carson. He's appeared in a handful of comics before Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye, and I want to call out his origin because he was introduced alongside a character with a name you're more likely to recognize: Rip Hunter. The adventurers known as the Challengers of the Unknown were successful enough to trigger the creation of two other sci-fi characters, Cave and Rip. The latter gained more of a foothold with fans and now appears in DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Cave hasn't faded away into nothing though. In fact, he's the coolest character I've met in DC's Young Animal.
The first issue, written by Gerard Way and Jon Rivera and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming, throws us squarely into Carson's pain. The first few pages establish Cave has a cybernetic eye (in case you weren't positive after reading the title) and that he's recently become a widower. He lost his wife, and their daughter lost her mother. Setting the stage in a place of grief—a stage that, by the way, is colored in a gorgeous brooding manner by Nick Filardi—puts a cloud over the comic. I mean the statement as a compliment. By beginning the story in Cave's shoes, sad and distraught, we can more easily understand his struggles.
And oh boy, does he have them. His cybernetic eye is causing him trouble, and it can't be removed without serious consequences, namely Cave's death. The strange visions the eye is showing Cave are cut between images of Cave's normal life. His familiarity with aspects of the eye's operations make it clear to anyone unfamiliar with him that he's been stuck with it a while. He involuntarily scans the world around him and can pick up the most minute details. It seems like a gift, especially in Cave's line of work (which I'll get to in a moment), but in a conversation with Chloe, we learn the eye is a taboo subject. If one’s eyes reveal the truth, one has to wonder what a cybernetic eye reveals about a guy like Cave.
I said I found Cave to be the coolest character we've met in Young Animal. His eye and its abilities and mysteries certainly reckon into the assessment, but so does his job. As part of the Mighty Mole team and an employee at EBX, Cave is a student of rocks. He went spelunking, he discovered, and he adventured. To him, being underground is like being home. What's happening beneath our feet opens the door to the possibility of the unknown, and that element combined with Cave's endeavors to lead a "normal" life despite an extraordinary past give this book a strong beating heart.
Can you believe we're lucky enough to have another first issue of DC's Young Animal ahead of us? Keep your browser pointed here so you can meet Mother Panic with me. Since you have some time until she pays a visit—MOTHER PANIC #1 is scheduled for a November 9 release—visit the comments and share your thoughts about Cave and his unique situation, or about DOOM PATROL #2, which was also recently released. Anyone else out there really excited to visit Dannyland?