The Ray: Rebirth #1

DC’s rebirth line has struck so many of its characters with proverbial (and literal) lightning. With most of the main books charting their second and third arcs, new books have been arriving to the shelves to join the fun. The Ray is next to be reinvigorated and true to form, he shines.

Writer Steve Orlando is no stranger to introducing characters that readers may not be immediately familiar with (have you read Midnighter?). Orlando gives us a new history of the character that’s darker than one might expect. Even so, the tone of the Ray’s inner narrative channels a positivity that (these metaphors are getting hard to avoid) glows forth. While some of the dialog can get a bit awkward, it’s mostly justifiable given the character’s isolation. He’s a hero raised on heroes, apart from society. There’s something pure about it that should attract youthful readers. Still, it serves mainly as an excuse for any lack of relationships Ray will suffer from when he joins his upcoming team book.

Artist Stephen Byrne impressively matches the tone with a fun combination of cartoon-like motions and strong details. While some of the panel layout may get muddled, the contents of the panels themselves are crisp and enjoyable. Colors by Clayton Cowles bring a powerful contrast that really helps this issue stand out. From the brilliant moments to the doldrums of lightless years gone by, Cowles gives readers an ample reminder of how colors can enhance a story.

While this issue may not be spinning into a solo series for the Ray, this issue gives a special introduction to what is shaping up to be a special team in Justice League of America. Under Steve Orlando’s pen, the Ray may find a way to shine with the (last one, I promise) brightest of the DC Universe as Rebirth moves forward into the unknown.

Positivity amidst sadness
Creative reimagining of character
Youthful, cartoon-tinged fun

Some cheesy lines
Forcibly shallow relationships

Final Judgement: 8.2

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