You might have heard that there is a new miniseries from DC about a new incarnation of the Ray. You might have been led to believe that it is a superhero story featuring the exploits of a larger-than life hero. The truth is that this is a young adult romance with superheroics as window dressing.
The narrative path that the writing team of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti construct is a bit scattered, probably meaning to mimic the featherbrained nature of the protagonist, Lucien Gates. It only makes sense that the same guy who cannot stay honest with his girlfriend’s parents also has trouble telling his story to the reader in chronological order. Lucien as a narrator is as upfront and simple as he can be.
The book has a plain, goofy tone to it. The concept behind the villain is silly to begin with (his evil plot is to make a movie), and the flying stingrays do not feel very threatening either. The most frightening characters of the book are Chanti’s parents. This can only be true in a comic that really is not about punching villains but surviving the mundane situations of life.
The art team of Jamal Igle and Rich Perrotta cut absolutely no corners in bringing this story to life. The story proceeds at a fairly brisk pace, only really getting bogged down on page 13 for a moment, but the line art compels the reader to slow down and appreciate the details in every panel. The backgrounds are lush and featured, but not with useless lines that only add texture. San Diego jumps off the page and the characters, both named and cannon fodder, are fully developed. The nightclub scene especially allowed for some cool coloring work from Guy Major.
Readers looking for a fun, happy hero with a splash of goofy heroics should be well-satisfied here. It does not look like the Ray is going to be taking on any missions as serious as defeating Darkseid anytime soon.