Thursday, April 16, 2020

Justice League of America: The Ray Rebirth #1 (2017) Review

A Ray of Hope

Written By: Steve Orlando
Art By: Stephen Byrne, Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 18, 2017

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

While I have a decent amount of knowledge about all the rest of the characters getting one-shots to get us ready for JLA in February, it's this issue that I've been most excited for because man, I don't know shit about The Ray.  He's one of those characters that just escaped me....... Hell, The Ray had himself a mini-series around the beginning of the New 52 and even that I passed on....... and I didn't pass on much.  Here I am though, finally getting redemption for my ignorance by getting the chance to know all about the character and what he'll mean to Rebirth as he stands alongside some major characters in my mind when he joins the JLA.  Let's jump into this one-shot and learn together shall we?  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our issue begins outside of Philly, with a young boy watching movies in the dark and his mother bringing him a birthday cake with no candles.......... woah, woah, woah........ Is Steve Orlando getting inspiration for this from my childhood?  Well, maybe initially, but we soon find out that this young boy is named Ray Terrill and he's not allowed outside or really.... he's not allowed to do anything that involves light because as his mother puts it, he's allergic to light and could die if exposed to it for a length of time.  Judging by her reaction when Ray asked if his friend Caden could come over makes me think that it's something more than an allergy though because we see a flashback to the last time that Caden was around, when he brought his polaroid camera and the flashes causes Ray to........ well, explode in a flash of light, possibly killing Caden or at least hurting him.  We don't know right away, all we know is that Ray is a lonely kid, a lot like little Eric Shea and after spending his adolescence indoors, he finally gets up the courage to defy his mother and run away.  

At first it seems like a dream to Ray because yeah, it's nighttime, but he's still okay, but everything turns bad when he's met by a group of kids, who offer him a light........... even though he doesn't have a cigarette and Ray explodes again in a flash, but this time become invisible........ and chooses to stay invisible so he can go around the world and just watch people, which ultimately makes him believe that people aren't worth it to actually let them see him.  All throughout this story, we have a narration going on with Ray writing his old pal Caden letterers, even though he's not sure he's alive and eventually after what seem like years of Ray wandering around, he comes across his old pal, running for Mayor in the city of Vanity.  

In the end, Ray watched his old friend give a speech, but after years of being invisible, he finally chose to let himself be seen when a radical group member pulls out a energy sword and shield and plans on hurting Caden.  With his reveal and his heroic act, he's thanked by Caden, who calls him a Ray of Hope for the city and I guess the name stuck because all the papers started calling him The Ray.

That's it for this issue of JLA: The Ray Rebirth and for the most part, I enjoyed this issue.  The biggest problem that I had was since I didn't know anything about the character going in, I found I didn't really understand our hero's power set all that much or what he's fully capable of.  Maybe that's something we'll explore more in JLA, but I just found myself wanting more info out of this and maybe have him do something a little more than just float around for years at a time just watching people while he was invisible.  I'm still interested in the character, I just wanted to see him do more.  Ultimately though, I had a decent time with this issue and I liked the art a lot.  Hopefully The Ray has a big part to play in JLA because seeing how much we had in common growing up, I want to see what else we have in common............ you guys don't know this, but I'm really the Pennsylvania Night Boy.

Bits and Pieces:

The Ray was an enjoyable issue that gave us an interesting and lonely backstory to Ray Terrill that really got me feeling for the character right away, but not knowing a whole lot about our hero going in, I just wish that we could have gotten a little more info about his actual power set....... and maybe that's just me.  We've got some decent art though and only a few slow spots throughout so ultimately, I had a good time reading this issue.



  1. Did you read the New 52 (kinda) series with him?

    1. No, I passed on getting The Ray's mini-series when it came out.