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August 6, 2017

Character Spotlight: The Ray

It all started with an air balloon ride gone bad and turned into so much more. Isn’t that how life always goes? It certainly does if you take on the mantle of The Ray. Several people have taken the name over the years. Who are they? Let’s find out!

Lanford “Happy” Terrill

A reporter who got tricked into an air balloon ride so he could be transformed into a half-human, half-light being to prove a bizarre scientific theory. A scientist believed that the first light in existence would eventually return back from whence it came and bring destruction with it. Changing Happy would allow for him or any of his children to bridge the gap and communicate with this light entity.

 

Not knowing that the balloon was rigged with a special device to merge him with sunlight, Happy would use his newfound powers to become The Ray and become a superhero. He’d spend many years fighting crime and strange villains, he’d even get married and have a son who also had his light powers. His son, Joshua would become the heroic sidekick Spitfire but something about the half-light/half-human physiology on a child cause him to become too aggressive and dangerous. Happy was forced to put Joshua into suspended animation, with hopes to cure him in the future. Happy’s marriage fell apart soon after this happened.

Learning the truth of the origin of his powers, Happy would retire from heroics, shaken by the truth. Remarrying, Happy would have another child, Raymond, but Happy worried about what happened to Joshua would happen to Raymond. He’d have his son taken by his brother to be raised in complete darkness so as to not activate his powers.

Happy would stay out of his son’s life and return to heroics, working with the Freedom Fighters. He’d eventually change into a new hero known as Neon taking the mantle and powers from a former teammate.

Raymond Terrill

Up until his 18th birthday, Ray was forced to stay inside his home, he was told by his father he was allergic to the sun. Always desiring to explore the outside world, he’d learn the truth when he turned 18, the man who raised him was actually his uncle, his biological father was the superhero The Ray and the sun wouod activate his superpowers.

His uncle would die soon after and Happy would arrive to help teach him his powers. Confused and amazed, Ray would take up the name his biological father had gone by. He’d take on more than his mantle though, it turned out that scientist that transformed Happy was right. A Light Entity arrived, intent on destroying Earth, thankfully, Ray was able to talk it down and leave the Earth alone.

Grabbing the attention of the Justice League, Ray would become a member for roughly a year before entering their reserve program, deciding he still wanted to see more of the world he’d been deprived of for so long. Only being 19 now, he’d get an invite to Young Justice and even apply for their leadership role when they held elections for the spot. Finding that while still a teen, he was much older than the other members and leaves to join his father’s old team, the Freedom Fighters.

His time with the Freedom Fighters is nearly cut short as the Infinite Crisis begins. All but Ray and two other members of the team survive being attacked by the Secret Society of villains. Ray learns of the former multiverse and how he should have been born on Earth 8 had the multiverse not been rewritten into a single universe. One year after the Infinite Crisis, Ray is aiding Superman return to full strength thanks to his ability to redirect solar radiation. He also returns to the Freedom Fighters to defeat the team’s traitor and take his place among them again.

Stan Silver

After the Infinite Crisis, the Freedom Fighters were reforming with many new members due to the former team either being killed off or needing time to recover from the Crisis. Stan Silver was a former reporter who had been exposed to strange atmospheric energy allowing ┬áhim to turn into a living laser at will. He’d be recruited by the dangerous government agency, S.H.A.D.E., whose goal was to create and control metahumans, often through black ops works. He’d eventually defect to join the Freedom Fighters but this was discovered to be a double agent mission to destroy the Freedom Fighters. Fortunately, Raymond Terrill, would arrive to fight him off, causing Stan to return to S.H.A.D.E.

Lucien Gates

In the New 52, Lucien Gates is a lifeguard in San Diego who gets shot with an experimental particle beam from a government energy cannon. It transforms him into being able to change between human and a loving beam of light. He learns how to deal with his new powers as he becomes the latest hero to take on the mantle of The Ray.

There you have it! The Ray has often been a team player, especially since Raymond took over his dad’s job. He’s often showed up in small roles in animation but will be taking the leading role in his own series soon. Oddly, he’ll be facing off against Nazi versions of Falsh, Green Arrow, and Supergirl while his ragtag team of Freedom Fighters try to save the world. Will we see him make the jump to the small or silver screen of live-action? Time will tell! See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Smash Comics #14

The Ray Vol. 1&2
DCU Brave New World
Freedom Fighters

Dr. Bustos
drbustos@comicattack.net

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