Maxwell Rayner was the leader of the People's Church of the Divine Host during the 1980s and 1990s. However, various men called "Rayner" have associated with followers of The Dark since at least the 1700s.
Rayner appears to be one being transferring its consciousness between bodies. As such, his appearance changes drastically over time. Nearly all incarnations of Rayner have had cloudy white eyes and appeared to be blind, though he never showed any signs of actually being blind.
Rayner's original body was that of Edmond Halley.
In 1864, he is described as an old black man with milky white eyes and a weathered face.
In 2017, Basira describes him as an old, tall man with thin white hair and a scraggly beard. His eyes are, again, milky white.
The first incarnation to bear the name "Rayner" appeared in 1715. John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal of England, had developed a bitter rivalry with Edmond Halley and Flamsteed gave Halley the mocking nickname "Reimers" after Nicolaus Reimers, arch-rival of Tycho Brahe. Jonathan Sims believes that the name "Rayner" is a corruption of the nearly-identically-pronounced "Reimers" over the centuries.
One night, Flamsteed sees Halley sneak away to conduct "pagan rituals" in service of the Dark. Flamsteed confronts Halley and ultimately drowns him in a pool of Dark water, but Halley reappears several days later, alive and well. Halley thanked Flamsteed profusely for giving him "freedom," but Flamsteed can see black water and dark mist behind his eyes.
In 1864, Rayner poses as an antiquities dealer from Africa with a particular interest in John Franklin's Lost Expedition. Doctor Algernon Moss outbids him in an auction for a packet of documents, supposedly from the log-books of Franklin’s lost ship, and is targeted by the Sandman after refusing to give Rayner access to the documents.
In modern times, Rayner founds and leads the People's Church of the Divine Host. The cult supposedly fragments after Rayner disappears from public view in 1994 but appears to have carried on its work in secret.
Rayner seems to have forced Robert Montauk to kill for the cult, first by kidnapping Robert's wife, Linette, and later by threatening his daughter, Julia. Robert later turned on Rayner and killed his cultists, temporarily banishing the Dark and Lightless Beast sent after Julia. Several years later, Maxwell visited Robert in prison and tells him that the creature has returned.
Rayner and his cult spearheaded the creation of the space station Daedalus in collaboration with the Lukas Family and The Fairchilds. All three groups had considerable material resources, but none could have financed space exploration on their own. Rayner initiated the project in order to create a "Dark Sun" for the Dark's ritual, which he was convinced could only be made in the darkness of space. Manuela Dominguez, the astronaut sent to space by Rayner, successfully created the Dark Sun and returned it to Earth.
In February 2017, Maxwell Rayner was killed by the police in the midst of breathing a dark mist into the body of a young boy named Callum Brodie. It is implied that Rayner was attempting to transfer himself into Brody's body. It is not clear whether Rayner survived the death of his previous body.
There is a character named Joseph Rayner, who may or may not be related to Maxwell, who was involved with The Piper in World War 1.
Episode Appearances Edit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 MAG 140: The Movement of the Heavens
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 MAG 98: Lights Out
- ↑ MAG 9: A Father's Love
- ↑ MAG 143: Heart of Darkness
- ↑ It is unknown whether Rayner killed Robert Montauk, but the light in his cell went out when he was killed, indicating that The Dark was at least partially responsible for his death.
- ↑ MAG 52: Exceptional Risk
- ↑ MAG 135: Dark Matter
- ↑ MAG 73: Police Lights
- ↑ MAG 7: The Piper