JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: THE RAY REBIRTH #1
Justice League of America: The Ray Rebirth #1 is a so-called one shot by Steve Orlando with Art by Stephen Byrne.
In the wake of the DC event “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad” DC will launch a new ongoing Justice League of America Book by Steve Orlando. In preparation for this, Orlando gets to write 4 different one shot Issues for some of the team members. One of them is “The Ray”.
Orlando splits the book up in 3 parts and time periods leading up to the formation of the Justice league of America telling the story of the Ray and how he becomes a part of the team. In the first part we meet the boy called “Ray” sitting in a dark room. after a few panels we realize that the hole apartment in which ray lives is dark and his mother is very particular about him not coming into contact with any kind of natural light, even the light coming from the TV seems to be a problem since he is only allowed to watch one hour at the time. It is here we find out that Ray seems to be allergic to light so he has to stay inside at all time. Also is it hard for him to connect to other people since he is locked away all the time, and the one time Ray got a visitor, it ended in a bad incident. We see that this allergy is taking its tall on the family, and that Rays father had the same illness and it got him killed.
The second part takes place 10 years later. Ray is now a teenager but still prisoner of his one home. The relationship between him and his mother is visibly stressed due to the situation and the fact that Ray is a teenager after all. After cutting his own hair and a fight with his mom he decides to go to the roof of the apartment complex no matter the consequences. At the rooftop he realizes that he does not instantly die if he is exposed to light and the danger is not that big as his mother made it to be. Surprised by this revelation and exited about the possibilities this brings. He decides to go on a walk in the neighborhood and have a look around. There he meets a group of teenagers who ask him to join them. This is the situation he steps into the light of a nearby Streetlight. This leads to Ray exploding literally in they faces. We then see that Ray did not explode but changed into light!
In the third part we jump ahead another four years to present time, Ray stayed in his Light from the whole time. Invisible to the rest of the world he wanders around looking at all the things he missed during his childhood and his inner monologue tells us that he is searching for a reason to become visible again but did not find it yet. While on his search he finds a political poster advertising for a “Caden Zapote”. This is the same Caden that was his only childhood friend and the one that got hurt in the incident. So Ray decides to visit his speech. It is during this speech that a bystander attacks Caden in the name of “the Sons of Liberty” a group of villains from the 1990’s. Ray still invisible, has a conflict if he should do something or not. As the attacker uses some sort of Light weapon Ray steps in the way and in so doing so absorbs the attack and turns the attacker into light, turning himself visible again. Shocked by what just happened, Ray then turns to Caden to apologize for what he has done. Caden is not frighten at all what again shocks Ray. After the realization what good he can do with his powers Ray decides to go to his favorite Movie theater to watch one of the classic Hero Movies that he watched during his childhood. It is here where we as readers find out that the inner monologue is indeed a letter to Caden that Ray wrights in this theater after the events took place. In the last part of this letter we then get the confirmation that Ray has decided to use his powers to make “Vanity” the city he lives in, a better place. This then seemingly directly leads into the start of “Justice League of America”.
Steve Orlando uses this one shot to alter the origin of a “forgotten” hero of the 90’s in the classic DC Rebirth way. Most of Rays origin stays intact with a few changes here and there to make it fit into this new universe. He also manages to give the reader all the necessary information to care about the character in future stories. All in all this is a very good starting point for new readers who are interested in the justice league of America but do not know all the characters that are in the new raster. It is a 25 page self-contained origin story that at the same time leaves you wanting more!
I can totally recommend this comic to DC Fans and newcomers alike, and it left me hyped for the JLA book that launches in February!