Freedom Fighters: The Ray is a CW Seed cartoon that shows how Ray Terrill, aka The Ray, became the superhero that was introduced in the Crisis on Earth-X cross-over event. There are six “episodes” but I’m going to review the series in its entirety.
It gets off to a rollicking start as we are introduced to the Freedom Fighters (The Ray, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, Doll Man, Red Tornado, and Vibe) as they fight Overgirl, Dark Arrow, Blitzkrieg, and their army of Nazis. The Freedom Fighters are outmatched and Red Tornado gets damaged badly. The Ray takes Tornado’s cortex which contains the whereabouts of the resistance’s base. Vibe opens up a portal for him, but not before he is gravely injured.
We are then introduced to Earth-1 Ray. He works for a government housing agency and is fighting for protections against minorities since it is legal in many states for LGBT Americans to lose housing simply because of their sexual orientation.
This Ray is a meeker version. He’s 22, living with his parents, still in the closet to said parents, and trying to live up to the shadow cast by his older brother, who was a Marine who died in combat. His life changes forever when Earth-X Ray shows up in Ray’s backyard and transfers both the cortex and his powers to Earth-1 Ray.
Overall, I liked these six episodes. I do wish they had just been combined into one episode since breaking them up does hurt the flow somewhat.
Russell Tovey does a good job voicing his character. I still can’t get used to his American accent, though. It’s not bad, just so different. Melissa Benoist, Danille Panabaker, and Carlos Valdes provide the voice for their respective characters, which was nice.
I like the story, though it does feel rushed. I will say that despite the time limitations it does a good job of introducing us to Ray and showing us his early attempts at mastering his powers and becoming a superhero.
As a gay man, I liked the fact that Ray’s sexuality was part of his character and wasn’t just brushed aside. He is living with conservative parents and is afraid of disappointing them since he is now the only child. Being more or less closeted has also hurt his love life, like when he has to sneak out of the house to talk to his date on the phone. His date replies that he stopped having to sneak around his parents once he graduated high school.
The Earth-X portions are nice, showing us the devastation the Nazis have caused. I also found it interesting that instead of Reverse-Flash, the evil speedster is apparently Barry Allen going by the codename Blitzkrieg. I am assuming something happens to him between this series and the cross-over.
The action doesn’t disappoint, though the majority of it takes place in the first two episodes. Things slow down once Earth-1 Ray is introduced, though we do see him using his powers to stop a mugging and a bank robbery. There is also a Vibe vs. Blitzkrieg battle towards the end.
The series does end on a cliffhanger. I hope we get a second season because there’s still a lot they need to fill in. The Ray hasn’t made his war to Earth-X yet. The status of the cortex is still up in the air. The Earth-X villains have just discovered that the cortex is on Earth-1.
Freedom Fighters: The Ray is a nice addition to the Crisis on Earth-X event that gives a little more back story to The Ray and the Nazis. Hopefully if it does get a second season more connections will be made between the cartoon and the crossover.