Ray Bailey was born on Earth, to a broken family. His father and mother had divorced, having followed two very different career paths. That was only part of the suggested problems in Ray's personal life. The more significant parts were his immense strength, which developed rapidly at such a young age. Possibly only in his very early 20s at the time, Ray was tragically considered "slow", mentally. This was an issue stated as an area of concern when a boat captain, who was the boss of Ray's father, was openly reluctant to hiring the young man to work on their boat. Ray's father vouched for his son, stating that "brains" were not a critical factor for a boat hand and their crew was short a man that day they were to set out to sea. Finally Ray was hired for that day. While things started out smoothly, they soon turned for the worst. A storm suddenly struck, forcing the boat towards rocks. Ray's father was thrown overboard during the collision and landed head-first on the rocky bottom. Ray dove in after his father but could not reach him during the tempest. He displayed one of his most incredible feats of strength when he lifted the entire boat's hull out of the water. By the time rescue personnel arrived, Ray's father was pronounced dead. Ray however, had earned himself a place on the captain's boat crew, out of gratitude and respect for what Ray had done. Ray refused the job offer and instead contacted his mother Madeline Bailey, who was part of StormWatch's Neuro Sciences Division. Madeline Bailey was also a survivor of the mysterious comet that swept past the Monitor One space station that first caused the Seedling Effect. This was passed on to her son, accounting for his immense physical strength.
Upon reporting to StormWatch, Ray Baily joined another new recruit, a feral mutant originally named Pagan (later renamed Fiend). They trained and graduated together, later picked up by StormWatch Prime members Flashpoint, Sunburst and Nautika to report for duty at Skywatch.
Codenamed Undertow since completing his training, he did not appear at any time during Winter's private mission to Russia, the Washington D.C. street-fight between StormWatch and the WildC.A.T.s, or the mass crossover involving all the top-named Wildstorm series teams including the Stormwatch, WildC.A.T.s, Deathblow, Backlash, Gen¹³ and Wetworks. It may have been that Undertow and Pagan were both still too inexperienced to participate in such a high-level threat at that time.
Undertow and Pagan both returned when StormWatch resumed its own agenda; to recapture the freed Despot who was released during the Wildstorm crossover story arc, to combat the threat of Helspont. Having refused to do this, Despot became perhaps an even bigger threat than the previous and declared a crusade to destroy the earth and remake it under his complete mastery. Undertow went on to make brief appearances, including a brief moment where he consults Synergy, the new Weatherman One commander about his anxieties. Despite her advice to Undertow to "use your fear. It will keep you alive", tragically this would not be enough.
Soon, Undertow gained a stronger appearance and leading role (he was the first in an emerging lineup of StormWatchers surviving the crash of their space station to earth; he was also the first to locate their then-team leader Spartan who was lost in the debris of the crash), he was no match for a confrontation with Warguard member Nychus during the fight that ensued between the teams. He was fatally stabbed through the chest by Nychus' claws. By that point, Undertow and the remnants of the first volume StormWatch team were wiped out. However, it was later revealed that Undertow remained in a comatose state from Issue #25 onward.
Appearances, Images, and Quotes Edit
- The only human to ever be recognized as possessing "Fuji"-level strength. Before Undertow's arrival, Fuji was the most powerful member on StormWatch in terms of raw physical strength.
- Ray Bailey first appeared in StormWatch #20's backup story titled "Cross Currents" in 1995 and made a total of four appearances during the latter issues of StormWatch Vol. 1. As Undertow, he was more or less a "filler" to help replenish the declining number of StormWatch operatives (since Issue #20 of StormWatch Vol. 1, the team had suffered losses beginning with the death of Battalion, the resignation of Cannon and the still-uncertain active duty status of StormWatch Prime).
- Despite a particularly brief existence, Undertow was featured as part of the first ever Wildstorm Gallery collectible card set.