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Justice League of America: The Ray Review

Written by Steve Orlando

Art and Colours by Stephen Byrne

Letters by Clayton Cowles

Reviewed by Lorna Maltman (maltmanlorna@gmail.com)

Out of all of these characters in the standalone lead up issues to Justice League of America, the Ray is probably the most obscure. Ray has been locked away without any light for all his life, leaving him watching cheesy superhero shows. Then, as teenager, he decides to go against his mum’s wishes, like so many teenagers, and he ventures outside. The smallest amount of light sets off his powers of light absorption with explosive results.

Orlando does a great job of injecting emotion and character into Ray, so that when, in the final pages, he reveals himself, it is a joy to behold and has real impact even though, for many who read this issue, this will be their first introduction to the character.

Byrne’s art makes, appropriately, great use of light and colour. With most the book being in muted colours or shades of blue and grey, it makes the bursts of yellow and orange of Ray’s light powers stand out and, literally, light up the page. The art is also very expressive, helping convey a story that could have very easily seemed clichéd or disingenuous if the wrong team had been on the book.

This comic is a really good getting to know you issue, where Orlando smoothly both introduces Ray as a character and  why he would want to be a part of the JLA as well as adding some diversity into the DC line up without overstating stereotypes.

Verdict:

Give it a shot. Look, if you are going to read JLA I would definitely recommend you buy this issue (and even if you aren’t) as it is a well made emotional origin story; but the fact it is a origin story is why I cannot say you have to go out and buy this as, whilst it is artfully done by Orlando and Byrne, it is not a necessity.

 

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