For regular readers of DC comics, you might be aware of the three different characters that adopted the alias “Ray” in the Pre-52 universe. That however did not increase their prominence of “Ray” to levels of B-list characters like Firestorm and Batwing. The New 52 reboot allowed for DC to once again reboot this unique character giving him yet another new origin.
This series introduces Lucien Gates, a Korean-American Lifeguard, to pick up the mantle. His racial background does add diversity to the DC universe as a whole given that I personally find it hard to think of any heroes with Asian descend off the top of my head. While the origin of his powers borders on cliché, Gates’ charm and family background was distinctively strong enough to make up for it. Throughout the series, the general feel stood right on the line between humorous and seriousness which did well for Tier 1 heroes such as Flash and Hal Jordan with his powers amplifying the fun-factor of this character. Being one of the more uniquely structured series, it allowed for the writers to tell his origin in a more excited and enjoyable manner.
The series’ major flaw was its antagonists. Since this was a mere 4-book title, having them introduce 4 different villains made it unfocused. Which three out of the four weren’t given significant attention to allow the fourth to develop, the fast-pace did him no favors. Relying too much on the hero itself and not developing a proper villain, the title fell into the same problem that his partner series ‘Human Bomb’ falls into leading to a rather anti-climactic and predictable ending.
Churning out a re-adaptation of one of the lesser known heroes in DC’s repertoire in a delightful and fun way, the New 52 adds diversity and versatility to the universe. Since the character definitely has potential, I do hope that the team-up with their partner series they would do this character justice.