Hey guys! I hope you’re all rugged up and out of the cold, because with the coming week (at the time of writing, at least) looking like it’s going to be absolutely bloody freezing, it seems like we’re all going to want to be bundled up with a good book.
Funnily enough, this week’s book definitely qualifies, and it’s the kind of book that this column was created for. This week, I’ve picked up Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye, written by Gerard Way (Doom Patrol, The Umbrella Academy) and Jon Rivera and drawn by Michael Avon Oeming (Powers, Portal’s Lab Rat). It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that truly fits into the pulp category, and hot damn, is it pulpy.
Cave Carson, once the world’s greatest underground adventurer, was thoroughly enjoying the ins and outs of suburban life. While he spent his youth exploring the deepest caverns of the earth, he has since settled down with his wife, Eileen, to raise their daughter Chloe. He’s traded in his trusty vehicle, the Mighty Mole Mark 1, for a desk and keyboard and a quiet life. He’s constantly distracted by his cybernetic eye, but things are good – until a sudden illness claims Eileen’s life.
When his employer turns on him and attempts to kidnap Chloe for some nefarious purpose, Cave finds himself thrust back into his old life, complete with cults, hidden civilisations and a terrifying elder god attempting to break free from its prison. There’s only one man that can stop all hell breaking loose – and he’s got a cybernetic eye.
Like the rest of the Young Animal imprint, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye is a freakin’ weird book. It channels all of the Kirby-esque, camp, bizarre tales from the 60s – think early Fantastic Four or even the weirdness of Flash Gordon – and updates them for the modern era. That kind of pulpy, far-out sci-fi stories have died out in modern times, and Cave Carson really ramps up the nostalgia factor and demonstrates the best of their mania.
One of Cave Carson’s standout features is its artwork. Michael Avon Oeming maintains a blocky, cartoonish style for most of his character designs, which contrasts beautifully with some seriously trippy scenes scattered throughout the book – special shout out to colourist Nick Filardi – that would make Jack Kirby proud. Avon Oeming is responsible for one of the trippiest yet engaging comics I’ve read – the Portal tie-in comic, Lab Rat – and while Cave Carson doesn’t quite reach the artistic heights of Lab Rat (Avon Oeming had help on that one) his artwork is still fantastic.
You have to be aware of what you’re getting into when you pick up a book like this one, especially when it’s from the Young Animal imprint. The books are unashamedly weird, and while it can leave you feeling a bit disconnected from the story, this is the kind of book that the weirdness is absolutely perfect for. Cave Carson is the perfect book to switch your brain off with, and enjoy the ride – it’s pulpy, camp and thrilling all in one, and I definitely recommend giving it a go.
Written by Alastair McGibbon