captain_america_1_cover_1941It was a weird week for comics and genre news. Having recorded this episode one day before the announcement of the official title of the new Star Wars movie (spoiler alert: the spoiler is that the title is Star Wars: The Last Jedi), the only comics related news was whether it was still kosher, so to speak, to sucker-punch a Nazi, Captain America style.

(Editor’s Note: we discuss the Nazi-punching issue very, very briefly, only to come to the conclusion that, to paraphrase a famous American: if Jake Blues does it, it cannot be illegal.)

So this week, we skip most of the news, and go straight to the comics. We discuss:

  • Batman #15, written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads,
  • The Amazing Spider-Man: The Clone Conspiracy #4, written by Dan Slott with art by Jim Cheung,
  • The Ray: Rebirth #1, written by Steve Orlando with art by Stephen Byrne,
  • Angel: Season 11 #1, written by Corinna Bechko with art by Geraldo Borges, and:
  • Curse Words #1, written by Charles Soule with art by Ryan Browne!

And, as always, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to find out why, thanks to Catwoman, Batman is no longer the M Night Shaymalan, turn back now.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t want your significant other to learn what happens when you mix juniper and romilar, get some of those Airpods or something.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

Let’s get the good part of the review out of the way up front: Jimmy Palmiotti’s, Justin Gray’s and Jamal Igle’s The Ray is a fun comic that I intend to keep buying, at least for the time being. It has a likable protagonist, a stack of interesting supporting characters, and an old-school, “Wrong place, wrong time, boom! Dude gets superpowers” attitude toward it’s origin story that reminds me of comics like Nova and Firestorm when I was a kid back in the 70s.

The bad part of the review is that The Ray feels like the obligatory “black best friend” that DC Comics will trot out at SDCC 2012 to prove to extremists in Batgirl costumes that they’re not racists. But we’ll come back to that.

Our hero is Lucien, a lifeguard in San Diego who gets blasted by something called the Sun Gun – probably because if it was the actual Large Hadron Collider that it’s clearly meant to be aping it would imply that he got his powers from something called a God Particle, which would draw out a whole different kind of extremist to SDCC – and gets the power to control light. All of this happens in three pages, and one of them is the opening splash page. Compare that to, say Ultimate Spider-Man, where we’ve gone four issues without even putting Miles Morales in his own costume, and you can tell we’re looking at a fast-paced origin book like, say, the original Spider-Man.

Of course, it takes a little longer than for Lucien to get his costume on because gaining the control of light apparently means losing the ability to wear pants. Everything he touches burns, which means that The Ray will be the first superhero to die of a backup of semen to the brain stem. In fact, a large part of this issue revolves around Lucien’s pants problem, meaning that we spend a lot of time in the company of a naked young man, and that there is a particular demographic who can use the book to make sure they are in no danger of death by semen accumulation.