Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have been writing the hard-bitten, grisly chapters in the no-bullshit bounty hunter Jonah Hex's life for years now, and keep doing it with aplomb in All-Star Western. However, given how effervescent The Ray #1 is with flowing, snarky, modern-day dialog, it looks like they've had a lot of light-hearted fun ideas stored up that are all excited to get out on the page now.
Lucian Gates was just a Korean American lifeguard in San Diego with adoptive hippie parents who got zapped with crazy particle beam light from a science "sun gun" experiment gone wrong (natch) and had to figure out a bunch of new energy powers that left him naked and unable to wear clothes without incinerating them. And his girlfriend is surly about it. Hence, comedy hijinks!
There's little to no angst at all going on here, and that's by design. His identity is fairly public, his family knows and he's not hiding anything from anybody. Also, he's fighting giant jellyfish. J&J have set out to do something completely fun and free-wheeling, and that's what they've accomplished. In fact, the garrulous narration tends to mock some of the traditional superhero conventions by treating the relation of his origin story, such that it is, as kind of a chore, outright stating he's going to skip the standard montage of 'hero learning his powers and looking like an idiot.'
The art from Jamal Igle is pretty decent but, unfortunately, the new design for The Ray's costume is really stupid looking, even moreso considering it's really Lucien mentally projecting the notion of clothing to everyone else. Meaning he could pick anything, and what he's wearing is almost a lame 90s headwrap thing, but not entirely as ugly-dorky, but still just as dumb-useless. Then there's pointless purple drapes on his inner thighs. It just ain't as cool as his old look.
Overall, The Ray #1 might be a little too self-aware for it's own good, but so far, it's a breezy good time.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 7.9