Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye #2 Review
Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye #2, by Jon Rivera, Michael Avon Oeming, and Nick Filardi (with a back-up by Jon Rivera and Paul Mayberry), continues Cave, his daughter Chloe, and their friend Marc outer space adventure. After escaping the implosion of the Cave’s old friend, Star Adams, what stellar mysteries await them?
Cave and company crash-land in the middle of a conflict between between the Lazer Monks and the Nejire, two alien species. The Lazer Monks mistake Cave for their Progenitor, who was prophesied to come back to them to help them defeat the chaos-worshipping Nejire. Cave, though, is interested in the crystals on the Lazer Monks’ heads, and the group of them journey under the surface of the planet. The Nejire, learning of the “Progenitor’s” return, hatch their own plan to capture Cave. In the chamber where the crystals grow, Cave and friends find a parasitic life form that could be controlling the natives of the planet and swear to get to the bottom of things. In the back-up, Cave begins to relate the story of the end of his first crew to his podcast listeners. Cave and the crew of the Mighty Mole find themselves under Sarasota, Florida, helping a stranded crew of extra dimensional explorers. A member of the crew’s pet runs off and Cave tells the crewmember, Blake, to get her back and meet them back at the Mole. Before going back to the Mighty Mole, though, Cave’s wife Mazra calls him to the explorers’ ship, where Blake is trapped in a tube with Lena. Their host, an antheaded scientist named Antwerp has some bad news for the crew, though.
Much like the last issue, this comic is an artistic tour de force. Oeming’s page layouts are great. Most of the time, he eschews the traditional rectangular panel for more interesting shapes, giving the pages a unique feel. That’s not the only visual element that makes the comic feel different than other comics; instead of white or black space surrounding the panels, the margins are filled with colors, dots, and shapes. Oeming isn’t the first artist to have cool stuff in the margins, but it’s rare and it gives Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye a hallucinogenic feel that fits the narrative.
At one point, the Lazer Monks are describing their history and Cave’s mind wanders, thinking back to a time with his friend, Star Adams. The panels are encapsulated in Cave’s head, giving readers a literal look inside Cave’s mind. It’s a brilliant bit of page layout and a perfect example of a writer and an artist using the comic medium to masterfully show what’s happening. It’s little moments like these that make this book so much fun. Another cool thing is the Nejire, beings who worship chaos and constantly kill their leaders and replace them. It’s a clever little gag.
Unfortunately, there are problems with the book. First off, besides Cave and Chloe, it’s hard to keep track of who is who. The Lazer Monks all look alike and don’t really have any personalities and Cave and Chloe’s friend Marc is also hard to remember. He’s been in the books since the second volume of the antecedent series Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye, but he’s completely unremarkable. The Nejire killing and replacing their leaders is funny, but has the potential to get real old very fast. The issue sort of abruptly ends, as well, with the introduction of the parasites that are, perhaps, controlling everyone on the planet. It’s a twist, but it comes out of nowhere, so any reaction a reader is supposed to feel is nullified. Sure, it’s not a twist that anyone is expecting, but it’s so abrupt that it feels like a twist for the sake of having a twist.
The back-up story is cool, as well, but it suffers from the same thing that main story does. Besides Cave and Mazra, the other members of the crew of the Mighty Mole are non-descript. There are probably some readers out there who know all of them, but, for those who don’t, the only reason they are important is because of their relationship to Cave. That said, this is an intriguing little story with a much better cliffhanger ending than the main story.
All in all, Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye is a wonderful-looking book that suffers a bit in the character department. Cave and Chloe are obviously the stars, but none of the other characters are memorable enough to care about. The cliffhanger ending comes out of nowhere, nullifying any impact it should have. It’s a shame that the writing isn’t as great as the art, but it’s not a bad book. There’s some very cool stuff going on, but there are enough drawbacks to tarnish the luster of this book.