A community of Jews in 16th century Eastern Europe created the Ragman to replace the Golem, their previous defender. Gerry Regan was the last European Ragman, as he, still named Jerzy Reganiewicz, fled to the United States after failing to protect the Jewish population from Nazi persecution. After settling down in Gotham City, Regan passed the mantle of Ragman to his son Rory.
Rory Regan is a ragman, doing good in his community by buying used items from people who need money. The suit of rags that he wears was originally just a costume made from materials found around the rag shop he shared with his father, Rags'n'Tatters. Currently each of the patches in the suit is made from the soul of an evildoer that the Ragman had punished and absorbed.
The absorption of these souls caused a problem for Rory at one point, when the evil souls hungered for murder and finally freed themselves of Ragman. It was only with the support of Batman and Regan's old friend, Rabbi Luria, that he regained control, though at the cost of Luria's life. Ragman's powers have increased since then. Currently, he can absorb souls into his costume. With each new soul added, a rag is added. He can call upon the souls in his costume to lend him their attributes or power. He is also a very proficient magic user.
Judgment and Vengeance
Ragman was active in destroying many of the demons invading Earth. This would earn him the wrath of the Diablos, a group of demons who style themselves after the Mafia. Wanting to gain revenge for demons lost during the Day of Judgment, they attack Ragman, injuring him and tearing off parts of his costume. They believe him to be dead but this is not true.
Ragman is one of the few volunteers willing to take on the rampaging Spectre, who has decided that all magic is evil. During a planning sessions, he is taken aside by the Enchantress and given a mystical gun. She entrusts him with it, as it can kill her if she goes too far with her magic, a scenario she believes is all too possible. He tells her if she truly turns evil, his costume will take her. He then tries to kiss her, but his feelings are not returned and Enchantress even mocks him for it in front of the other heroes.
Ragman, along with his teammates, was trapped inside a shield of solid blood that grew over the town of Riverrock, Wyoming. Ragman and the rest of the team spend a very short period of time inside the shield, but to due to magical after-effects, a full year passes outside. Various mystical heroes, such as Phantom Stranger and Rex the Wonder Dog keep watch outside the town's borders.
While inside Riverrock, Rory met an evil counterpart of himself belonging to the supervillain group that had formed the shield, the Pentacle. His counterpart is named Bagman. He/it dresses in similar green garb, and can turn his body to goo and while in this form he absorbs people. While inside Bagman they either suffocate or they are digested. Bagman even mentioned how oddly similar the Shadowpact and the Pentacle are. Rory only survives this encounter because Bagman's boss does not want the heroes to be killed. After the Riverock encounter, Rory must deal with the severe disruption to his life, as everyone had thought he was dead. He, like most of the team, ends up having to find a new source of income, a place to stay and the oddity of encountering a memorial statue to the entire team.
Rory was temporarily trapped in the limbo dimension of his own cloak. He met the soul of an ancient Centurion working off his crimes. This man, Marcus Liberius, first saved him from the beating several other of the murderous souls were giving Rory. Marcus reveals that the cloak was actually the "Great Collector Artifact", which has been in existence in many forms since the time of Abraham. Ragmen in Rory's line have been in action since 1812 BCE. Marcus also helped Rory, who had become disenchanted with the job of collecting corrupted souls, to see that he is not a punisher but a redeemer — allowing a better afterlife for those who work for it. This work usually takes the form of suffering on Rory's behalf. For example, Rory had been recently blinded by magic. Marcus willingly takes this blindness on, adding to previous injuries he had suffered. This last sacrifice allows Marcus, in the full view of the rest of the Shadowpact, to ascend to a higher realm.
After Batman's death, Ragman was summoned to Gotham City to join The Network. Following Oracle's instructions, Ragman helped capture Doctor Phosphorus along with Wildcat. Later, Ragman joined Manhunter and rescued a hostage from Hugo Strange. He also tried to capture Strange with Misfit's help, but the villain escaped.
During the Blackest Night, several black rings took control of his cloak and came back to life as Black Lanterns, leaving him behind, still alive but without his cloak.
When the threat of the Black Lanterns ended, Ragman's suit returned to him. Shortly after he was summoned to fight alongside the heroes of Gotham against the Seven Men of Death and stopped them from reaching their target, Vicki Vale.
- Lockpicking: Rory learned how to pick a lock from an early age though he can't pick larger or more complicated locks.
- Occultism: Through his adventures since becoming the Ragman, he has learned some basic occult lore.
- Vulnerability to Fire: The rags that make up the suit are extremely vulnerable to fire, a weakness added by the Rabbis who created the Ragman as a security measure in case the suit fell into the wrong hands.
- Soul Pain: Rory has mentioned that the process of acquiring a new soul gives him stomach cramps and nausea.
- Ragman Suit: The Great Collector Artifact, a mystical Jewish artifact created to protect the Jewish communities ever since the time of Abraham.
- Steal Soul: The suit can steal a person's soul as long as it is still touching his body. Ragman will usually subdue a target to minimize their ability to resist, but this is not necessary. Once a soul is absorbed, the body is left a brain-dead husk and the mind and spirit become yet another rag on the costume. The stolen soul is not affected if the physical body subsequently dies.
- Boost Influence: This energy can also be directed into making the Ragman's influence more formidable -- when concentrating on such actions, the mere presence of the Ragman can make groups of armed gunmen stop attacking or even flee the scene.
- Boost Physical Attributes: After a soul is incorporated into the Ragman suit, it can be used in several ways. Its energy can be directed into boosting the wearer's strength, speed, coordination, and fighting prowess. When the wearer uses it in this manner, he can become such a skilled combatant that he can easily defeat a roomful of armed men without being struck in return a single time in the process.
- Absorbed Memory Recall: The wearer can also look into the memories of the absorbed soul and extract any information therein as desired. It is also possible that the wearer might be able to use some of the abilities possessed by the souls in the rag suit; such as, using a captured sorcerer's memories to cast spells.
- Sense Evil Souls: The suit is drawn toward evil souls; it can sense them in its vicinity and is compelled to seek them out and attack them. This compulsion is also inflicted upon the wearer if he has the costume on. The evil acts of people who have been detected in this manner can also be sensed by the Ragman. This sensing of sins does not work on those people or beings who are not evil.
- Discern Motivation: Though detailed exchanges are only possible at short range, those attuned to the suit in this manner can still get a general sense of its disposition while active, and vice versa. For example, the Rabbi who trained Gerry sensed when the suit became active again (when Rory first put it on) and where it was despite being an unknown distance away. The suit also sensed when the Rabbi passed away and relayed that information to Rory even though the Rabbi was no longer in the same city as Rory and the suit when he died. Rory has not as yet developed this second talent -- it may require additional special training in Jewish mystic rituals such as the Rabbi had.
- Precognitive Dreams: Rory had occasional precognitive dreams, though they were too vague to provide useful information.
- Telepathic Bond: Like all of those who have trained in the use of the suit, Rory has formed a rudimentary telepathic bond with the Ragman costume. He can communicate with the suit's collective personality -- though he speaks out loud, only he can hear the suit's replies. Rory also uses this trait to summon the suit to him over short distances.
- Super-Leaping: The suit gives the users prodigious leaping ability.
- Superhuman Durability: While the wearer is bonded to the Ragman costume he is almost impossible to destroy.
- Telekinetic Suit Control: Also, the Ragman possesses a number of minor magical powers, such as kinetically controlling the suit (i.e. entangling Eclipso with his cloak while grappling with her).
- Teleportation: Rory can disappear and reform great distances away. He can also use this power in close range to dodge physical attacks.
- Transformation: It has recently been revealed that the suit can take on other forms, such as weapons, and still collect souls. Whether Rory will use this ability in the future is yet to be seen.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- In the distorted timeline of Justice Society International Ragman had a sidekick named Tatters.
- Ragman 1-5, 1976-77
- Ragman 1-8, 1991-92
- Batman 551-552, 1998
- Day of Vengeance 1-6, 2005
- Shadowpact (Volume 1)
- Reign in Hell
- 130 Appearances of Rory Regan (New Earth)
- 46 Images featuring Rory Regan (New Earth)
- 4 Quotations by or about Rory Regan (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Rory Regan (New Earth)