Part One – Going Underground
Writer: Gerard Way & Jon Rivera
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Special Thanks: Shelly Bond
Cover: Michael Avon Oeming & Nick Filardi
Variant: Matt and Brennan Wagner;
When is comes to heroic adventuring, Cave Carson is a veteran.
The days of fighting alongside Superman, Rip Hunter and the Time Masters are all but gone.
His ‘Cave Crew’ of Bulldozer Smith, Johnny Blake and Christie Madison long ago went their separate ways.
As the story begins Eileen, his wife and co-adventurer has passed away and today is the day of her funeral.
With their daughter, Chloe at his side, they say their goodbyes.
In his grief he calls someone on his cell phone and reveals the government has been covering up geological discoveries of aliens that could form flexible alloys.
Cave drives to his old underground base and sits in the darkness. Where once it was filled with excitement and energy, now it is a cold and lifeless place.
That night at Chloe’s apartment, she and her boyfriend Daniel are watching the old Team Carson documentary while Cave has his old car serviced with his drinking buddy Jack Wheeler, ready for a meeting the next morning.
Many years ago Cave worked for EBX. His genius designed and created The Might Mole. The Mole was an amazing car that could burrow underground and travel at speed with amazing on board tech, Cave stole it once for his teams adventures, research and exploration. Today, the old car sits in the foyer of EBX gathering dust. Cave pats the trusty old machine and heads down to the laboratory.
CEO of EBX, Paul shows Carson the Mark II Might Mole, superior to the original in every way. A lot has been going on while Cave was away. A research team is on an assault course when Cave enters to greet his successors, Cave is suspicious as to why a team of scientists would be going through such military like training but just then his cybernetic eye begins to malfunction with a strange vision of Eileen seemingly beckoning him.
Later in a diner Chloe and Cave argue over him, seemingly ill because of the eye. A family rule is never to talk about it but Chloe is worried it might be malfunctioning. Cave retorts by telling Chloe her tires are deflating slightly, he can tell by her blood levels she had had a drink and that he can see the chemical make up of marijuana on her jacket.
Chloe simmers down and promises to visit her father more regularly, now that he is on his own. As Chloe drives off a man hiding in the shadows watches Cave from a distance.
Later, Cave stops into Magnus Laboratories, for him to check on why the cybernetic eye is malfunctioning. Magnus is annoyed that he can’t seem to figure out it’s technology. But what he does discover is that is a strange mineral has embedded itself into his head and can never be removed. The technology surrounding it isn’t anything he recognises as Kryptonian, Exorian or Metan but just as, if not more so, advanced.
Magnus can’t explain why it is distorting Cave’s digital memories and forming hallucinations out of them, but as they greet the Metal Men in the lounge Magnus hunts for a powerful device called a Magnaband. Cave is skeptical, but Magnus insists that the Magnaband should help drain the hallucinations while he sleeps when worn on his head.
Cave has taken to sleeping in the base, but his sleep is again disturbed but this time by a sub surface dweller called a Muldroogan. Cave questions the panicked man. Withered and weak the Muldroogan rasps in an dialect only Cave knows that EBX is up to no good. They’ve done something to the underground city of Muldroog and only Cave can help them now.
The Muldroogan vomits, transforms into a horrifying creature and tries to eat Cave. Another vision appears to Cave showing the Mark II Mighty Mole, Eileen and the Muldroogans. Cave defends himself with a power drill until the monster is a puddle of ooze and then swearing to uncover the mystery he calls another of his friends.
A friend that takes no prisoners… Wild Dog!
To Be Continued…
Cave Carson is a classic DC character that has not seen a lot of love in many years. This cover doesn’t deny the original stories but uses them as a launch pad. It makes sense as Rip Hunter is enjoying new life on TV with the Legends of Tomorrow, that his comics buddy returns to action.
These is a lot of love and nostalgia poured into the book and a sense of a bigger picture. I would have liked some subtitles to translate the Muldroogan and to identify who is who for the newcomers, especially as this is a first issue in a modern series. Also the book could have given the reader a little background on Cave. I had to read through the profile at the very end of the book and look up back issues to really realise how good this story really is.
I love it but I don’t know if it will progress if they don’t elaborate for the non informed comics reader more in further issues.
The book kicks off with a very DC animated universe feel. The vibe is a welcome one as it has a comforting feel, is easy on the eye and feels like a still from an animated show. Michael Avon Oeming has worked hard to make it feel familiar. Despite me not reading Cave Carson stories up until today, he now feels familiar to me.
Nostalgia is there. Flashbacks of old stories and visions of the present day really give a taste of history to the book. The cover is a striking image but the colour scheme is migraine inducing.
I really dislike the Sienkiewicz cover. I don’t dislike it because it looks bad, but because it just doesn’t feel like a Cave Carson cover. Just be reading the book and back issues, something feels strangely off. The elements are there but not the nostalgia. The one by Matt Wagner and son Brennan is better, a bit more Silver Age-y.
BACK UP FEATURE:
The Wonder Twins
Written and Illustrated by Tom Scioli
On the planet Exxor the citizens had worked hard for centuries to cultivate ‘The Chosen One’ a child through whom all the best of Exxor would live through but when Queen Rayna gave birth, instead of the chosen one, there were twins.
Zan, a boy, and Jayna, a girl, were strong healthy children but exhibited none of the powers that the Exxorians had expected.
Years later the children grown to teenage are full of adventurous spirit and have taken in a pet monkey called Gleek.
Their father disapproves that they are not embracing their royal responsibilities and their mother approaches noticing something wrong with the children.
Zan and Jayna are suddenly developing scaly skin and lizard like eyes.
Elsewhere, on Earth in Gotham a Joker tank crushes everything in it’s path on the way to the bank. As The Joker unleashes an army of Joketroopers Batgirl answers the call of the Batsignal.
The Joketroopers make the streets a battleground with the police struggling to fight back. One of the troopers gets so close Commissioner Gordon that he is about to deliver a fatal gunshot if not for Batgirl!
With her help they are able to turn the tide but the Commissioner turns to Barbara and warns her that Gotham has a new Crime Boss…
To Be Continued…
Tapping solely into the nostalgia factor of the animated series and toy line Tom Scioli explores the origins of the Wonder Twins and follows up with an attack by the joker in the present day.
The narration is a little confusing with the jump between the timeline but otherwise it is a genuinely fun jump back in time. It feels a little truncated forced into just three pages but hopefully when all the parts are put together it will flow a bit better.
There is clearly a lot of effort for the art to match the paper stock of older comics, the colouring process, hand lettering. It looks great, again with that nostalgia running through it. I don’t feel I can give the art a full rating, it is just so crushed into the three pages. As time goes on and there are more pages perhaps I can give a fairer analysis but so far it’s going in the right direction.