Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye/Swamp Thing Special #1 – Jon Rivera, Magdalene Visaggio, Writers; Langdon Foss, Sonny Liew, Artists; Nick Filardi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Funko Horror?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Every issue of Milk Wars has featured a completely different cast, as does Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye/Swamp Thing Special #1, but the event is coming together into a cohesive whole, as a story of a sinister corporation named Retconn brainwashing the entire world with a mysterious milk-like substance emerges. Every issue, though, is driven by the sensibility of the main title it’s evoking, which means that while Doom Patrol was aggressively weird, Mother Panic was dark and noirish, and Shade was driven by stories of emotion and alienation, Cave Carson’s tale is one of high adventure.
That’s not where it starts, though – it starts with Cave, Chloe, and Jack as cubicle-bound employees in Retconn’s global offices, a cheerfully Stepford-esque workplace where everyone has collectible figurines on their desk and milk deliveries are a regular thing. The bosses are rather insistent that everyone get several pints of milk a day. Even when Cave’s stomach seems to be rebelling. What’s in Cave’s stomach exactly sets up the rest of the issue.
I’m used to Swamp Thing surviving and emerging in hilariously bizarre ways, but it still never gets old. Artist Langdon Foss does a great job with Swampy’s bizarre features, especially when he manifests in alternate, plant-based versions of the heroes. From there, the issue is alternately an escape thriller set in a giant corporate deathtrap and a horror story as elements of the workplace that should not be alive start to emerge and attack. This is definitely the most fast-paced of the stories so far, but it might also be the strongest, as it’s grounded in the relationship between Cave and Chloe. Few titles do a better job of showing how a parent and child might not always agree or get along, but there are few things that parent won’t do to ensure their child survives. A fantastic thrill ride, up with the best of the series.
The two-page Eternity Girl back-up this issue breaks the fourth wall in a very aggressive way, and it’s starting to wear thin. I’m hoping the miniseries this is teasing has a more clear narrative.
Corrina: To answer the last comment first, I suspect the Eternity Girl back-up is to showcase the various styles that C-list characters have been written in over the years. I’ve been fascinated in seeing the evolution in comics this way but I expect the miniseries to settle on a style of sorts or, at least, land the character in the modern day.
Back to the main event. “Milk Wars” deserves credit for being a product of creative vision, rather than an event simply to sell comics. I’m sure DC intends for the Young Animal line to gain new readers from this but I’m also equally sure that the stories here are showcasing the vision behind some of the best Young Animal comics. So far, I’ve only unequivocably loved one of the first three chapters, but it’s easy to see that everyone has a distinct creative voice behind it.
And, now, “Milk Wars” is hitting .500 with me, as I enjoyed this chapter a great deal. Perhaps that’s because of my fondness for Cave and Chloe, perhaps it’s because Swamp Thing fits so well in this slightly surreal story, but I suspect the reason is that the narrative is more adventure/horror than the off-kilter and disjointed style of storytelling in the Doom Patrol and Shade chapters. The good news is that, with this crossover event, readers can pick whatever chapters they want to read and leave the rest alone. Yes, each is part of the whole of the event but they can also be read as separate stories, too, as in Mother Panic/Batman. Each chapter is also representative of what the regular series is like as well.
Note: is it just me or is the creative team making a commentary on the ubiquitousness of Funko figures?
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.