- "You changed my life. You're gonna change a lot of people's lives, Clark."
- — Ryan to Clark, Ryan
Ryan James was a boy gifted with the powers of telepathy and possibly other psychic abilities. Ryan was raised by his mother and his abusive stepfather, James Gibson. He could read other people's minds and emotions, although the extent of his abilities is unspecified.
Ryan James was a young boy that enjoyed reading and drowning himself in comic books, particularly Warrior Angel graphic-novels. At first, with his telepathic ability to read the minds of others, he couldn't drown them out, causing major stress. He was initially extremely shy and quite timid, although with the 'big brother' model of Clark he came out of his shell to a degree.
Ryan could also be blunt and rude, which was part of his social awkwardness. When Lex paid him a compliment about also being a Warrior Angel fan, Ryan brushed him off on account of reading dark thoughts in Lex's mind. Clark said Lex was being considerate and Ryan had no right to be rude to him, whatever Lex's private feelings were.
Powers and Abilities
- Telepathy: Ryan could read the minds of other people. However, he could only read the "surface" of minds; or a thought that someone was immediately projecting. If there was something in the back of someone's mind, it could not be read. Ryan could not read the minds of Kryptonians. Ryan also had problems with the abilities in a crowd in that he could read everyone's mind even when he did not wish to do so, and the thoughts of multiple minds could be to him like a bunch of people shouting to get in the last word.
- "I like being around you, Clark. It's... peaceful."
- — Ryan to Clark, Stray
Prior to 2002, Ryan lived with his mother until her death. Some time after his mother's passing, his stepfather James Gibson got married again, to a younger woman named Debra Burch, and started exploiting Ryan's abilities in order to commit crimes. One such crime occurred when Ryan went into a pawn shop in order to sell a piece of fake gold. As it was close to quitting time, the pawnbroker, after buying it for $60, stored the money in his safe. Ryan read the pawnbroker's mind to get the combination to the safe, then told his stepfather. James and Debra proceeded to rob the pawn shop, but things got out of hand when the pawnbroker acted in self-defense and James shot him dead. Debra was aghast that they would go so far to resort to murder, and Ryan took advantage to the bedlam to flee to freedom..
Fleeing from the Gibsons, he ran out onto the highway where Martha Kent accidentally hit him with her car. He feigned amnesia and stayed with the Kents, becoming Clark's "little brother" for a few days. He learned about Clark's secret by reading Martha's mind. After his evil stepfather was arrested and his stepmother killed, Ryan moved to Edge City with his aunt.
When he began to have unexplained migraines, his aunt took him to the Summerholt Research Facility in Metropolis. Dr. Lawrence Garner discovered that Ryan had a brain tumor which was causing his telepathy. Ryan's aunt left him with the doctor and moved to Arizona. Ryan called Clark to tell him that Dr. Garner was holding him against his will and experimenting on him. Clark broke Ryan out and with Lex and Judge Ross' help, he got a restraining order to grant the Kents temporary custody.
Clark considered Ryan the little brother he never had, but shortly after, Ryan fell ill and had to be admitted to the hospital. It was discovered that he had an inoperable brain tumor and Clark did everything he could to prevent his death, including running over 400 miles to convince a famous doctor to treat the boy. The doctor did so, however he admitted that Ryan's tumor was advanced, and the doctor's methods could at best only postpone Ryan's death for a week. At Ryan's request, he spent his last few days with Clark: Ryan later died, leaving Clark devastated.
- Season One: Stray
- Season Two: Ryan
- Season Three: Delete (Mentioned only), Memoria (Mentioned only)
- Season Four: Blank (flashback only)