At the San Diego Comic Con this weekend, the CW Seed, the CW network’s streaming website and app, announced a new animated series, Freedom Fighters: The Ray, which features Raymond C. “Ray” Terrill, a flying, sun-powered superhero that came out as gay in his later comic appearances. If the show retains his gay sexuality, he could be the first ever openly gay superhero to have his own animated series.
Who is The Ray?
DC Comics introduced The Ray in February 1992 as a young boy who was literally kept in the dark until his father died at age 18. At his father’s funeral, his actual biological father appears and reveals that the man who raised Ray was in fact his uncle and that Ray was kept in the dark as a way to keep his sun-powered superpowers deactivated until he was older and able to control them.
The Ray appeared in his own 28-issue solo series and various DC Comics team-ups and crossover events like Young Justice and Infinite Crisis. In his solo series, he had a brief romance with the superheroine Black Canary, but in the 2016 DC Rebirth release, he was reimagined as openly gay.
Will The Ray really be the first openly gay superhero with his own animated series?
It depends on whether CW Seed uses The Ray from the solo comics or from the DC Rebirth series. The show will have openly gay TV writer Greg Berlanti as its executive producer, and Berlanti’s ongoing, live-action Supergirl TV series has featured a same-sex relationship, so it’s conceivable that he might introduce the same in an animated series.
Interestingly, CW Seed has released an entirely new biography for The Ray, suggesting a complete reimagining of the character. He also lives on Earth-X, “a parallel world where the Nazis won World War II and ‘The New Reichsmen’ rule over present day America:”
Raymond “Ray” Terrill was a reporter who discovered a group of government scientists working on a secret project to turn light into a weapon of mass destruction. But before he could report on his findings, the project head exposed Ray to a “genetic light bomb.” The bomb failed to kill him and instead gifted Ray with light-based powers. With these abilities, Ray realized he could go beyond reporting on injustice — he could take action to help stop it. Calling himself The Ray, he was recruited by Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters to fight violence and oppression wherever it exists.
As seen in the trailer above, Ray and his other Freedom Fighters will face off against Nazi versions of The Flash, Green Arrow and Supergirl.