So far, I’ve been enjoying “The Ray” limited series, rebooting the character into a Korean-American named Lucien whose biggest problem is dealing with his girlfriend Chanti’s parents. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s writing style has been a fun, loose tale hearkening back to Jack C. Harris and Christopher J. Priest’s time with the previous incarnation of the character, and it’s been a lot of fun.
With this issue, Palmiotti and Gray appear to be transitioning into a more straightforward superhero story; in a four-issue limited series, this shift in the third issue is a bit odd. Gone are the chapter titles, which were plentiful in the first issue and appeared briefly in the second. Also missing is a lot of the playfulness we had on display; instead it’s a lot more fighting bad guys and attempts to deal with personal life getting forever sidelined by villains appearing. While Palmiotti and Gray do a good job with a typical superhero story (because this issue is still a good read) it’s missing a bit of the spark that had set “The Ray” apart from most of the current books at DC.
On the bright side, the events of the first two issues finally start to converge here with the first issue’s cliffhanger getting addressed and shown in the larger scheme of things. There is certainly something entertaining about a hero who isn’t remotely interested in the super-villain because he needs to try and persuade his girlfriend’s parents to like him. If I’d picked up “The Ray” #3 without reading the first two issues, I suspect I would’ve still been pleased with what I got because it’s told in a good manner.
More consistent are Jamal Igle and Rich Perrota, who serve up a smooth, pleasing art style. I like the way they draw the Ray in action; the way he slides around the page makes him feel like a character who really is composed entirely out of light, and considering how few features they have to work with he’s surprisingly expressive. The villain himself looks ridiculous but I gather that’s exactly the point, considering his background and powers. New comics penciled by Igle are always welcome and “The Ray” is no exception.
“The Ray” #3 is a good comic but I must admit I’m a little sad to see the previous two issues’ whimsy set aside. Hopefully it’ll return for the conclusion next month, because it definitely set “The Ray” apart from just another superhero comic — because while it’s a good superhero comic, it’s great when it goes for the more offbeat style.