tek's rating: ¾

Freedom Fighters: The Ray, CW Seed
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Caution: spoilers.

This is the second animated webseries (after Vixen) to be set in the same fictional multiverse as "Arrow," "The Flash," etc. (I have to be careful not to say "fictional universe," because part of this series takes place in a parallel universe within the shared fictional multiverse.) The first six episodes were released on December 8, 2017, though I didn't realize that until January 2018... and I didn't get around to watching it until near the end of April. Which is kind of weird, because I had been looking forward to watching it for I don't even know how many months before it premiered. Anyway... when I finally started watching it, the six individual episodes were still on the website, and I was going to watch them one at a time, over the course of a week or so. But when I went to watch the fourth episode, all six had been combined into a single video, and the individual episodes were gone. (The new video was itself divided into four segments, with commercial breaks in between. The first segment contained the first two episodes, and the second contained the third and fourth episodes.)

Season One: A Hero Rises
Well, it starts on Earth-X. We quickly see that the Axis powers won World War II, though even in the present there is a resistance. A group of super-powered Freedom Fighters try to get "undesirable" citizens of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to safety, and away from the Nazis who have occupied the city. The Freedom Fighters include The Ray, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, Vibe (an alternate version of Cisco from The Flash), Dollman, and Red Tornado (a robot). They end up in a battle against super-powered New Reichsmen, led by Overgirl (an alternate version of Supergirl). Her group also includes Black Arrow and Blitzkrieg, who seem to be alternate versions of Green Arrow and The Flash. Anyway, Red Tornado gets destroyed. The Ray gets wounded while trying to help him. Then Vibe transports the Ray to Earth-1 (the universe in most of the Arrowverse shows), along with Tornado's neuro-cortex, which they mustn't allow to fall into the hands of the New Reichsmen, because of information it contains.

Meanwhile, on Earth-1, we meet a guy named Ray Terrill and his friend John Trujillo. They work for... I guess a local agency or something, that wants to help disenfranchised citizens, or whatever. But the group gets shut down, so now they'll have to find new jobs. Also, Ray wants to tell his parents that he's gay, but he hasn't worked up the courage yet. And John tries to get him to work up the courage to ask out a guy at a bar, but Ray doesn't do that (yet). Later, the Ray from Earth-X (who looks just like this world's Ray) falls through a portal into Earth-1, where he hands Ray the neuro-cortex, and then his body turns into pure light, which gets transferred into this world's Ray. Later, Ray demonstrates his new super powers to John, who helps him practice using them. The neuro-cortex also shows them a hologram of Red Tornado, who wants them to destroy the cortex. But Ray doesn't do that, yet. (Also in the hologram, John notices that Black Condor looks like himself.) Subsequently, Ray becomes a superhero and starts fighting crime. But his activities are noticed by this world's Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow. And Ray does finally ask out the guy from the bar, whose name is Jacob. Also, back on Earth-X, the New Reichsmen are trying to learn where the Ray disappeared to, so they can retrieve the cortex. And after Blitzkrieg fights Vibe, they learn the Ray's location. And then... there's a cliffhanger in which Ray Terrill is captured, but we don't quite see by whom.

Season Two: Earth-X
(This season was released July 18, 2018, but I didn't see it until a bit later.) Ray awakes to find he's been abducted by Green Arrow, the Flash, Cisco, and Curtis Holt. (Holt is a character who was introduced in season 4 of "Arrow," and in season five became a superhero called Mister Terrific, though I haven't seen that far in the show, so this webseries is my first time seeing Holt as a superhero.) Anyway, the team have barely begun introducing themselves to Ray, before they get a call from Vixen about trouble in Detroit. So they all go there, along with Ray, to help her fight a giant robot. At the end of that battle, Green Arrow agrees to begin training Ray. However, when Ray goes home that night, he gets attacked by Overgirl, who takes the cortex from him. So Ray goes to see Cisco, who transports him to Earth-X to help the Freedom Fighters. (But before that, he finally tells his parents that he's gay, and they fully accept him for who he is.) On Earth-X, there's a big battle between the Freedom Fighters and the New Reichsmen, as well as ordinary humans in both the Resistance and the Nazis. The good guys win in the end, and Ray decides to stay on that world and help them take the fight to the leader of the Reich, which sounds like it's setting up another season. I'm not sure if that will happen, but I hope it does.

The first two seasons were released on Blu-ray/DVD on August 28, 2018. I don't really plan to get that, but I suppose I might, someday. Anyway, on the whole I think I enjoyed season two a bit more than season one, though I still didn't like it quite as much as I liked "Vixen." But if the series does continue, I definitely think it could keep improving.


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