As a young child, Ryan James began to develop a telepathic ability. After his mother passed away, Ryan's stepfather, James Gibson, remarried to Debra Burch. The two physically abused Ryan and exploited his ability for their criminal activities.
In the spring of 2002, Gibson and Debra used Ryan to rob a pawnshop. Ryan saw Gibson shoot the owner of the pawnshop, prompting Ryan to make a run for it. While he was running, Ryan was run over by Martha Kent, who took Ryan to the Smallville Medical Center.
To protect himself, Ryan claimed to suffer from amnesia. With Child Services having their hands full, Martha's family brought Ryan home, until Child Services could collect him. While with the Kents, Ryan met Clark Kent, whose thoughts Ryan was unable to read. Because of this, and Clark's friendly nature, Ryan quickly grew close to him. Not long after, Ryan discovered that Clark possessed superhuman abilities, just like Ryan's favorite comic book superhero Warrior Angel.
While Ryan could not read Clark's thoughts, he could read Martha's. Because of this, Ryan learned that Clark was an alien from another planet. However, Gibson and Debra soon tracked him down and forced him to go with them. Their plan was to rob Lex Luthor, using Ryan to extract information. However, Ryan refused to go along with the plan and revealed to Debra, that Gibson was going to kill her.
After Gibson killed Debra, Ryan tried to make a run for it again, but Gibson came after him and tried to kill him too. However, Ryan's life was saved by Clark. With Gibson arrested and Debra dead, Ryan was sent to live with his aunt in Edge City.
Things did not improve for Ryan in Edge City. After a while, Ryan began to have nosebleeds and headaches. His aunt took him to doctors, but they could not figure out what the problem was. Eventually, they encountered Dr. Lawrence Garner of the Summerholt Neurological Institute, who offered to pay for Ryan's care, while his aunt disappeared.
For weeks, Dr. Garner was testing Ryan's telepathy and holding him against his will. However, Ryan managed to get a message out to Clark, who broke him out. Ryan returned to Smallville, but not without trouble. Dr. Garner was Ryan's legal guardian and could easily reclaim him. However, Lex's lawyers managed to arrange for a restraining order, giving the Kents temporary custody of Ryan.
Ryan was happy to be back in Smallville, but his headaches kept getting worse. Eventually, Ryan was taken to a hospital, where he admitted to Clark that he had a brain tumor (which was the cause of his telepathic ability). Clark did everything he could, but no doctor could save him. As Ryan's condition worsened, his ability increased in power. So, Clark took Ryan up in a hot air balloon, far away from everyone. While up there, Ryan asked Clark to never give up on changing people's lives. Ryan passed away a few days later.
- Power Limitation: Ryan's telepathy was limited to what people were thinking about at the time. He was also unable to read the mind of non-humans, like Kryptonians.
- Ryan James was portrayed by Ryan Kelley.
- 3 Appearances of Ryan James (Smallville)
- 1 Images featuring Ryan James (Smallville)
- Quotations by or about Ryan James (Smallville)
- Character Gallery: Ryan James (Smallville)
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