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Superhero in Exile: The Ray Goes It Alone 

Wednesday, Jan 18 2012
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If real-life superhero The Ray were to have his own comic book series, the current storyline would chronicle his fallen dark period. In a December feature, we X-rayed Roy Sorvari, a 21-year-old from Antioch, who was arrested when the Nov. 2 general strike march in Oakland turned into a late-night riot. Sorvari had come dressed up as his superhero alias, The Ray, in an all-black ninja outfit and carrying a Captain America shield. After darting between protesters and cops, he says he got knocked unconscious, and woke up to face a felony charge of resisting arrest.

The Alameda County District Attorney offered Sorvari a plea deal last week to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor. (So far, Sorvari is not accepting.) But now Sorvari's legal obstacles are mounting: He will also be arraigned in Contra Costa County on a deadly weapon possession misdemeanor charge later this month for carrying an extendable baton in his pocket while patrolling Antioch in superhero garb last August.

That's not the end of his superhero problems. Some of Sorvari's statements in this paper about his mission to foil "black" criminals in his hometown made readers cringe — including members of his Mormon church and his own superhero team, the Nor-Cal Protectorate. So much so, he says he's lost some friends — and his team went so far as to banish him.

The leader of the protectorate, the costumed hero Motor Mouth, says that before the expulsion The Ray was given the option of "team-approved sensitivity training." This entailed visiting the African American Museum and Library at Oakland and the Oakland Museum of California. "We wanted to highlight certain exhibits that were the plight of African Americans in history," Motor Mouth tells us. The Protectorate's members also said The Ray must temporarily alter his superhero identity to become "Penance," and patrol in a mostly white get-up that included skinny jeans. (Running around at night in white might not be the best choice for a white guy being accused of racism.)

But the Ray said he's already been to the museums, and he has no interest in being politically correct. The team "wanted to change me into their own image, and I'm not going to do that," he said. He looked up "penance" on Wikipedia and was shocked. "I'm like, 'what is it that these guys are trying to do to me?'"

The Ray refused the redemption plan, and the team voted him off.

Motor Mouth told Sorvari he should rethink being a superhero all together, but Sorvari, who started as a solo superhero, says he'll do no such thing. He's become a lone suburban ranger once again, patrolling the Wal-Mart parking lot in costume — not as notorious The Ray this time, but anonymously.

About The Author

Lauren Smiley

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