The Original Ray (1940-1992)
Langford “Happy” Terrill operated as the Ray after a scientist from an experimental branch of the government known as RONOL (Research on the Nature of Light) tricked him into interacting with a cosmic being known as the Light Entity.
Happy was granted light-based superpowers and joined the wartime team known as the Freedom Fighters. After the war, Happy attempted to settle down, but learned upon the birth of his first child, Joshua, that his abilities could be passed to offspring. Unable to control his own abilities, Joshua was placed in suspended animation at just 10 years old, and Happy’s marriage was shattered.
Later, he remarried and had a second son, whom he named Raymond. Ray began exhibiting abilities similar to Joshua’s, which prompted his father to fake his own child’s death and put Ray into the protective care of Happy’s brother. In order to prevent his son’s powers from manifesting further, Happy invented a fiction about his son being allergic to natural light.
Meanwhile, Happy went on to discover more about the nature of his own abilities, adopting a new code name, Neon, for himself.
The Ray II (1992-2011)
After the death of his “father” (who was actually his uncle), Ray was finally able to activate his powers. In 1992, around the time of Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday, Ray was recruited to active duty with the Justice League of America, where he served alongside Super Heroes like Batman, Aquaman, Hippolyta and Black Canary. He later went on to join the Justice League Task Force under the leadership of Martian Manhunter.
Following the disbanding of that team, Ray was moved to the JLA “reserve,” meaning he could be called in to assist with JLA activities should the situation call for it. While on reserve, he interacted with various other teams throughout the DC Universe, including Young Justice, the Justice Society of America and the modern incarnation of the Freedom Fighters.
The New 52 (2011-2016)
The continuity-rebooting events of 2011’s FLASHPOINT introduced an all-new Ray, a Korean-American lifeguard named Lucien Gates. Lucien was struck by a particle beam, granting him metahuman abilities. Unlike the Rays that preceded him, Lucien’s light-based powers were far more restrictive, and grounded in real-world physics. He was able to transform himself into living light and fly, but only in a straight line like an actual ray of light. His ability to turn and change direction in his light-form was contingent upon striking reflective surfaces, similar to the way laser beams can be angled and moved with mirrors.
Following DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1 (2016), Ray Terrill was given a new origin story and returned to active duty with the Justice League of America. Similar to his previous origin, Ray was known as the “Night Boy” and raised to believe he was allergic to sunlight. He discovered the truth, however, not through his father, but after running away from home as a teenager.
Ray’s explosive entrance into the public eye and subsequent work as a local hero garnered the attention of the Super Hero community and, shockingly enough, of the Batman himself, who eventually approached Ray to join the newly created Justice League of America. Alongside Black Canary, the Atom, Killer Frost, Lobo and Vixen, Ray has begun working to protect the world from the more ground-level threats that the Justice League might lack perspective on.
Ray also spends his time both in and out of costume working to promote the ideals of equality and tolerance as an openly gay man.