The Ray IV

New 52

Created by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Jamal Igle

Lucien Gates

Unnamed parents

The Ray v. #3 (February 2012)


  • The Ray v.3 #1-4 (2012)



From The Ray v.4 #1 (2012). Art by Jamal Igle and Rich Perrotta.

The third volume of DC's The Ray was created by writing partners Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti for the so-called "New 52." This universe jettisoned most of DC's previous continuity in late 2011 and sought to reinvigorate its most viable properties. Gray and Palmiotti were the appropriate choice to handle the legacy of a former Quality Comics character. Their Freedom Fighters series—which featured DC's second Ray character—had wrapped earlier that year. Along with artist Jamal Igle, they created Lucien Gates, a San Diego lifeguard of Korean descent.

Gates was transformed by the energies of an experimental military "sun gun." It fired across the planet's surface, affecting living things in various ways. In San Diego, it transformed Lucien into a living light construct. Use of his powers came instinctively and he found himself accelerating up the west coast, landing in Seattle. To his embarrassment, Gates also found that his clothing had burned off and he could not don any new clothes, either. But he soon figured out that he had the ability to create the illusion of clothing by manipulating others' perception of the light around him. His parents recommend that he seek out help from other super-heroes and his girlfriend, Chanti that he go to the emergency room.

The news media dubbed him "the Ray," and Lucien found that his experience in martial arts and yoga helped him to focus and control his powers. In no time he was effectively battling giant flying jellyfish and settled back into his day job, too. Gates' supporting cast was rounded out by his best friend and fellow lifeguard, Darius Williams.

The Director, from The Ray #3 (2012).
A visit from "Uncle Sam," from The Ray #4 (2012). Art by Jamal Igleand Rich Parreta.

Elsewhere, a new menace was brewing. Film footage of the explorer and filmmaker Thaddeus Filmore surfaced which shed light on the man's death. He was known for making gruesome real life films, and a new reel showed him being sacrificed to a Lazarus Pit in South America. Upon viewing the footage, Filmore emerged and slaughtered the viewers. (The Ray v.3 #1)

When it finally came time for Lucien to meet Chanti's parents, he made the ill-advised decision to change his appearance to appear Indian. This infuriated Chanti and did little to gain favor with her father. Later Chanti was kidnapped by a cadre of insectoid robots that fell from the sky. (#2) The Ray managed to free her, but afterwards at the hospital, they encountered the mastermind behind the kidnapping—Filmore aka the Director. Lucien refused Filmore's invitation to be Filmore's film star, and so the Directory unleashed his reality warping powers and killed Chanti's father. (#3)

Lucien's only hope against an opponent who could warp reality was to reach the Director's mind. In a moment of weakness, Filmore complained that he's always been a failure, but Lucien encouraged him to his own powers and alter his own destiny. As a last resort, the Ray used his powers to affect a sort of psychodelic hypnotherapy and compelled the Director to undo all his damage. He would go back and erase the bad things he'd done, and also fix a key event for Lucien—restore Chanti's father's life.

It was made to be so. And now when Lucien visited Chanti's parents for the first time, he approached them more honestly. As for Filmore, he became an acclaimed filmmaker, and one of Chanti's clients. She and Lucien attended the premier of his new Ray of Hope, which generated an Oscar buzz.

Later, after averting a terrorist kidnapping, the Ray was approached by a very tall man who offered him an opportunity. He ran a special division of Homeland Security comprised of people with metahuman abilities, and handed the Ray a card that read "I WANT YOU." (#4)

+ Powers

Lucien Gates is empowered by ambient sunlight. He is more powerful during the day, and the power can subside at night. As the Ray, he can manipulate white light energy in various ways. His primary ability is flight, which he affects by "riding" extant light waves. He can focus light energy into forceful energy beams, and manipulate others' perception of light to create "clothing" for himself (though in reality, all fabrics burn when in contact with his body). Gates has also found that his thought processes move faster, to keep up with the speed of his body.