Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye #1
Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye #1, by Jon Rivera, Michael Avon Oeming, and Nick Filardi (and a back up story by Jon Rivera and Paul Mayberry) brings back Cave Carson and the crew of the Mighty Mole for more psychedelic adventures and this first issue dives right in that well as Cave has to help an old friend with his final wishes.
Cave, his daughter Chloe, and their colleague Dr Marc Bartow meet up with Star Adam, an old friend of Cave’s and one of Chloe’s favorite rock stars. Over dinner, Star Adam, an alien, tells them that he’s dying and needs their help off the planet before he implodes. Using a rocket Star Adam provides, they blast off into space. Things go a little crazy and the crew is forced to escape back to Earth… but did they really escape or place the entire planet in jeopardy? The back up story is a Q&A edition of Cave and Chloe’s podcast where a listener asks about what happened to the original crew of Mighty Mole. Cave says the story starts at the end of one of crew members lives, leaving the story for the next installment.
Right off the bat, Michael Avon Oeming and Nick Filardi go all in with the trippy visuals. The first volume (Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye) was full of stuff like this and this issue feels like they took all the lessons they learned there and put them into effect. Avon Oeming is doing career-best work here. Before, his style was cartoony, but hard-edged, almost a Bruce Timm clone. Here, his art has evolved. It still can have that Bruce Timm square jaws and sharp lines look, but it’s also more fluid, which helps a book like this. His detail is off the charts as well. The establishing shot of Star Adam’s mansion is amazing, mixing an old world aesthetic with rock star ostentatiousness and the shots of it in background keep that up. There’s a flashback scene about the first time Cave, his wife Mazra (a princess from an underground civilization who is dead in the present), and Dr Bartow (albeit a different version than the one Cave brings in the present; the past Dr Bartow is dead and the current one is one that Cave and his crew picked up in an alternate universe in the first volume of the book) meet Star Adam and it’s gorgeous. It’s three pages of sumptuous, trippy visuals that get accentuated when the group eat a psychedelic pudding from Mazra’s kingdom and they begin to hallucinate.
Nick Filardi’s colors are amazing throughout, as well. Hallucinogenic pencils are always nice, but without good coloring, the effect can fall flat. He knows when to go glossy, when to keep it flat, when to use color washes. It adds to the whole effect, making everything that much more out there. It even gives us subtle little visual clues to things. Take Star Adam for example. Before he’s seen, his mansion is established and the dominant color is purple. Cave and Chloe talk about him when they get there, establishing he’s a rock star. Putting two and two together (the color purple and a rock star), gives the reader the inference that Star Adam will have a Prince vibe which sticks with the character throughout the book. Good coloring is easy to find nowadays, but it’s things like this that separate good coloring and great coloring; this is great coloring.
Rivera’s script works with the visuals perfectly. As far as it goes, it’s not a complicated story, but it’s well told and keeps the reader turning the page. The creative team has a found a perfect groove. They all work together to accentuate each other’s strengths and it makes for delightful reading. Need some exposition? Write a trippy flashback that the art team will make look amazing. Need a cool image to end on the whole thing? Trust the art team to make it happen. Trust seems to be a key word with this team. They know how to work together and make the whole thing work. In the hands of another creative team, this would all be rather cliche, but they make it special.
The back-up special starts out fun, but gets heavy quickly, as Carson prepares to tell the story of what happened to his original team. There’s a nice sense of ominousness to it. The segue feels natural, too, which can always be hard when going from humorous to serious. The art is pretty simple. It has a sketchy, very indie-comic feel to it, but it fits with the tone. It’s going to be interesting to see where the whole thing goes.
Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye #1 brings Cave and company back in grand fashion. Sure, the story is simple, but it’s a good hook for the next issue and it’s so visually intriguing that it keeps the reader turning the pages. Michael Avon Oeming and Nick Filardi are doing amazing work and it elevates the whole thing.