It has been announced that The CW Television Network will premiere in 2017 a new animated series on its sister streaming site, CW Seed, called Freedom Fighters: The Ray.
While no voice actors have been cast as of yet, it is confirmed that it will be executive produced by Greg Berlanti (Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow) and Marc Guggenheim (Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), while it will be produced Warner Bros’ Blue Ribbon Content, along with Berlanti Productions, who produce the series Vixen and CW’s live action DC adaptations.
It will be the second CW Seed adaptation of a DC Comics intellectual property, after the previously launched Vixen. While Vixen is in continuity with CW’s live action adaptations, it is as of now unknown if Freedom Fighters: The Ray will also co-exist alongside the live action continuity.
The show will focus on the superhero The Ray and his membership in the Freedom Fighters, a team of American super-heroes led by Uncle Sam (the spiritual personification of the USA), that were formed during WWII to fight against the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany, the Wehrmacht, although their adventures fighting evil have continued into the modern era whenever the USA needs them.
Although The Ray himself, has also spent time as a member of Justice League of America, Justice League Task Force, Young Justice, JSA Reserves, Forgotten Heroes, and Justice League International. It does not appear that these will be a focus, although references may be made to his time among them.
It should be noted that the promo image used by CW Seed, does have the cover of Dave Johnson’s Freedom Fighters (2010), Vol. 2, Issue #1 –“American Nightmare: Part One!”, in the background. It depicts Uncle Sam, The Phantom Lady (Stormy Knight), Black Condor (John Trujillo), Firebrand (Andre Twist), and Human Bomb (Andrew Franklin).
The character known as The Ray, is Raymond “Ray” C. Terrill who inherited his light-based powers from his father, the WWII hero Neon (Langford “Happy” Terrill), resultantly Ray is able to absorb light, storing it for later uses. Once his body absorbs sunlight, he can direct the energy to rearrange molecules into any form, matter or energy, allowing him to:
- Light Rays: Project rays, beams and bolts of destructive light.
- Hard Light Constructs: Create constructs out of pure light, much in the vain to the constructs made by Green Lantern.
- Illusions: ‘Bend’ light to create illusions.
- Invisibility: ‘Bend’ light around himself, rendering him invisible to the naked eye.
- Light Energy Conversion: He is capable of converting his body completely into light energy.
- Light Energy Manipulation: While in his light energy form, no physical harm can come to him in this form, to such an extent that the Superman-strength level Czarnian bounty hunter Lobo punched Ray through his skull to seemingly no effect.
- Light Energy Healing:While in his light energy form, he heal damage that his physical form has already sustained. One famous example was in the story “Ray Gets Shot In The Head” where a bullet was lodged at the base of his skull and he was told by doctors he would be paralysed from the neck down. After turning to his energy form the damage was healed instantly.
- Light Speed Flight: As pure energy, he can travel at the speed of light and cross space unassisted.
CW Seed has however offered a somewhat revamped origin by stating the following character description:
“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 realised 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.”
It has been stated that this version of the Ray will be adapted primary from Grant Morrison’s and Jim Lee’s comic The Multiversity: Mastermen, Vol. 1, Issue 1 – “Splendour Falls”. Which would mean that this version of the Ray will be openly gay.
This will be the first ever appearance of a leading gay superhero on TV, which is honestly a massive milestone that needed to happen. It has taken far too long. With an small pool of positive LGBTQA+ characters on-screen, and with many of these few commonly being killed off, it leaves some hope to have a character such as Ray appear.
It does leave the question on how they will address his sexuality however, will it be an open fact that is freely explored and shown, or will it amount to little more than being mentioned through coy hints and euphemisms. Honestly, I have no idea, I can only hope that Ray’s sexuality is not forgotten about and is developed as the show progress.
Either way, this is great progress. Finally a gay lead superhero.
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