Born in the Irish settlements of Xanthu, Devlin O'Ryan was a copy boy for the Xanthu bureau of the Daily Planet by age 10. His mother Megan was the bureau chief, and her influence and advice gave young Devlin a talent for journalism. Soon, Devlin found himself bound for Earth to become a cub reporter for the Planet at age 14.
Planet News editor Iris West took Devlin under her wing; together they broke the biggest news story of 2995: the Dominators' secret control of Earthgov. As Devlin continued the investigation, he joined Earthgov-hired detective Celeste McCauley and the mysterious Bounty on a search for Roxxas, who was also hired by the corrupt Earthgov. That search led Devlin to the planet Winath, where the Legion of Super-Heroes was reforming.
Soon, Devlin considered himself an ally of the reforming group of heroes. However, he returned to Earth to continue reporting the story. When civil government fell apart, he found himself hunted by the Dominators. Exposed to null radiation, the injured Devlin was then accidentally attacked by the Batch SW6, a strange group of teenage Legionnaires. As they gained his trust, the Legion took on Devlin as an ally. Together, they joined up with the anti-Earthgov resistance.
Gradually, the null radiation combined with lightning from a mistaken attack by Lightning Lad, and Devlin began to manifest strange powers. The SW6 Brainiac 5 determined that Devlin had gained the power to reflect any attack, energy or projectile, that moved at a substantial speed.
Thus empowered, Devlin stood alongside the SW6 Legionnaires, the resistance, and others to repel the Dominators from Earth. During this time, he developed a friendship with the shy, quiet Shrinking Violet of the SW6 Legionnaires. When Devlin was asked to join the older Legion after the destruction of Earth, Shrinking Violet decided to stay with her own team, and the pair separated.
Devlin had barely settled back in with the adult Legion team on Talus when the threat of Mordru returned. Devlin was ultimately the savior of the team, reflecting a powerful mystic blast back at Mordru. The counter-attack weakened Mordru enough for Mysa Nal to incapacitate him. That fight had barely finished when the team traveled to Baaldur to attack the temporal sorceress Glorith.
The battle with Glorith again ended with Devlin reflecting a powerful blast from the villainess. However, Devlin was forced to leave the team in the wake of the battle. With Kent Shakespeare reduced to the age of a 10-year-old, The adult Querl Dox decided to leave Kent and Devlin at the medical planet Quarantine. Dox claimed that Devlin's powers "confused the sensors."
When Devlin next seen, he was on his way to Winath to help the other Legion members, past and present, combat the combined forces of Mordru and Glorith. At a critical moment in which Devlin's powers would have reflected a mystical spell back toward the evil duo, Devlin disappeared in a temporal wave, never to be seen again.
Powers and abilities
Devlin O'Ryan had the power to reflect attacks, both energy and projectile, back toward his attacker. However, his powers suffered from Deux ex Machina symptoms: He was the ultimate, fix-all solution in many cases. His powers also seemed a bit ill-defined; would they always reflect back to the attacker? In any event, his powers were naturally defensive. He never went on the attack and often seemed modest or apologetic, even with villains.
Devlin was also a talented journalist who at 14 was already reporting for a great metropolitan newspaper. Besides helping break the story of the Dominion's influence in Earth's affairs, Devlin also wrote a moving story about the destruction of Earth (recounted in Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #38).
Much of Devlin O'Ryan's background is detailed in sources outside the actual comic books. These sources include the 1990 postcard, the Who's Who entry, and 2995: The Legion of Super-Heroes Sourcebook by Mayfair Games. However, he made many appearances in the comics themselves.