Ray Terrill, art by Daniel AcuÃ±a.
|First appearance||The Ray #1
|Created by||Jack C. Harris (writer)
Joe Quesada (artist)
|In story information|
|Alter ego||Raymond C. “Ray” Terrill|
|Team affiliations||Freedom Fighters
|Abilities||Generation of light and solid light constructs,
Conversion to energy form,
Ray Terrill is a fictional superhero published by DC Comics. He is the second character to use the codename “The Ray.” Ray Terrill first appeared in The Ray #1 (February 1992), and was created by Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada.
It’s a common misconception that Ray Terrill was created by Christopher Priest and Howard Porter, who were the long-standing creative team on his solo book. While Priest did have a hand in Ray’s creation as editor Jim Owsley, Ray’s debut mini-series was created by Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada.
From a very young age, Raymond Terrill is told by his supposed father that exposure to direct sunlight will kill him. Privately tutored in his window-darkened home, he is dubbed “Night Boy” by the media.
At the age of eighteen, Ray learns the truth about his heritage while at the deathbed of his father, “Happy” Terrill. The dying man admits that he was the Golden Age Ray, and that exposure to sunlight will activate Raymond’s own light-based super powers. As a child he would have been unable to control such power, and thus had to be kept in darkness.
At the funeral for “Happy” Terrill, Ray meets his cousin, Hank, who urges him to become a super-hero like his father. When he refuses, “Happy” shows up very much alive, in his classic Ray costume and looking far younger than he should, to meet his son. He tells Raymond that he was in fact raised by his uncle, Thomas Terrill, and that he must use his newfound powers to save the Earth from a powerful cosmic light-entity. Raymond eventually decides to take up the mantle of “The Ray,” defeats the evil Dr. Polaris, and succeeds in dissuading the light entity from its destructive purpose.
Ray’s adventures continue, bringing him to battle with villains such as Brimstone, Neron, and Vandal Savage. Following the death of Superman, Ray is recruited into the Justice League for roughly a year of service. During this time, Ray has a brief romance with Black Canary. Ray is then asked to join the ranks of the Justice League Task Force, led by Martian Manhunter.
Ray’s own monthly comic, penned by Christopher Priest and drawn mainly by Howard Porter, ran for 28 issues from 1994 to 1996. In this series Ray confronts several villains and anti-heroes, including an out of control child with powers similar to Ray’s (who turns out to be his half-brother, Joshua), and a computer game villain that has somehow become a reality. His relationship with his father is strained several times as he discovers the extent of Happy’s manipulative streak, and the well-intentioned deceptions he had perpetrated concerning his own family. He is also faced with glimpses of an unpleasant possible future which he may have averted by the series’ conclusion.
After the disbanding of the JLTF to make way for the newly formed JLA, Ray keeps a Justice League reserve-member status – but is rarely seen in DC Comics for several years. Ray also joins another team, the Forgotten Heroes, led by Resurrection Man. Brought together to take down Vandal Savage, the team eventually disbands and Ray presumably continues a solo hero career.
In the Final Night incident, Ray participates in making a secondary sun in order to try and fool the Sun-Eater. He also personally watches out for a small Mexican town, using his powers to make sure it is sufficiently heated.
Around this time he is approached by the villain Neron, who attempts to gain his soul. Neron, despite being far beyond the concepts of gender, has to resort to pretending to be the villainess Circe after part of the plan involves a kiss and Ray comes to believe he has kissed a guy. In the end, Ray does not fulfill his part of the bargain and does not lose his soul.
Ray later takes part in saving the universe against the might of an ancient ultra-powerful weapon called Mageddon. Following this, Ray appears at a Titans West recruitment drive party in Los Angeles. Although he joins Green Lantern’s Justice League of Air during the “Justice Leagues” crisis (wherein each member forms his or her own minor league), he soon is back adventuring on his own.
In the fight against Imperiex during DC’s Our Worlds at War crossover, Ray is called upon as a reserve member of the JSA. On their mission, Ray, along with several other modern-day “Freedom Fighters”, fight to release the captured Daxamite people from imprisonment. Although Ray is severely injured in battle, the team succeeds in their mission and Ray quickly heals.
Ray joins Young Justice after saving a boy’s life while the team rides a tram car to F.D.R. Island. After fellow member Secret is depowered by Darkseid, Ray leaves the team. Soon afterward, he meets the Nowhere Men, the deadly figments of a writer’s imagination accidentally brought to life. With the goal of wiping out the individuality of the world, the Nowhere Men begin by attacking superheroes. They use beams that cause a type of “suspended animation.” Ray is caught in one of these beams, along with Elongated Man and a new Major Victory. After a long battle with Superman, the Nowhere Men are defeated and Ray and the others are freed.
Ray joins other JSA reserves to help contain the damage caused by the villainous trio of Mordru, Obsidian and Eclipso. He later joins a new, government-sponsored Freedom Fighters team. However, the Freedom Fighters are ambushed and soundly trounced by the Secret Society in Infinite Crisis #1. As he is dragged away by the Psycho Pirate, the barely-conscious Terrill is told that Luthor (Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth 3) needs him alive. Ray is captured for Alex’s master plan, but later escapes during a battle.
At the beginning of DC’s One Year Later event, Ray Terrill’s whereabouts are unknown. In the Superman storyline “Up Up and Away”, Ray tries to repower a weakened Superman.
Ray finally returns to action in Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #7. Wearing a new costume, he encounters and soundly defeats the traitorous Stan Silver, who has taken the name “Ray” for himself. Ray Terrill then joins the new Freedom Fighters.