- "I looked into your eyes from my seat on that plane. When you look into the eyes of God, you do not forget."
- —Thomas Coville to Kara Danvers[src]
Thomas Coville (1973 - June 18, 2018) was a resident of National City and a former lawyer who was down on his life, until his hope in it was restored by Supergirl when she saved the crashing plane he was on. After that, Coville went on to gather Kryptonian knowledge and create the Cult of Rao, a cult-like group devoted to worshipping the superheroine.
After Supergirl was defeated by Reign, he lost faith in her and turned the Cult of Rao into the Cult of Yuda Kal, worshipping Reign and the Worldkillers.
He worked with the Children of Juru until he became expendable to them and they mortally wounded him with their heat vision. As his last act before dying, using J'onn J'onzz' spaceship, Coville sent out a signal so Supergirl and her team could stop Reign and the Children of Juru.
Thomas Coville was born and raised in National City. As an adult, he got married and became a lawyer, leading a moderate life of success. However, in 2014, Coville came to learn that his wife was cheating on him with her personal trainer. Afterwards, she divorced him. Coville subsequently went on a drinking binge that got him disbarred after some misdemeanor convictions of public drinking and disorderly conduct.
In October 2015, Coville was on Flight 237 to Geneva, along with Alex Danvers. Noticing his occupant, a younger man excited over his impending fatherhood, Coville began reminiscing on his troubles, bitterly lamenting how the life he had been building was destroyed. Suddenly, the plane malfunctioned and began plummeting from the sky. Coville looked around as the passengers panicked and noticed that a few were praying. Suddenly, the plane leveled and was safely placed in the bay, preventing it from crashing. As everyone celebrated, Coville looked out of the window and noticed Supergirl standing on the plane's wing. He was awed and amazed when he saw the superheroine fly away.
The experience had a spiritual effect on Coville and for the next two years, he travelled the world in a faith-based journey, discovering many ancient artifacts from Krypton and even other planets, including a Harun-El statue of Yuda Kal in Addis Ababa, Kryptonian Sunstones, and Sedenach dust. Thomas eventually went on to find a BetaHedron, a Kryptonian probe that had information on Krypton's worship of the Red Sun God Rao. Thomas used the knowledge he gained to form the Cult of Rao, for which he recruited others who had been rescued by Supergirl. Coville documented all his findings on Krypton's religion in a journal with help from Tanya Spears, a member of the cult who helped him learn Kryptonese. At some point, Coville also met Jindah Kol Rozz, a fallen Kryptonian priestess imprisoned at Fort Rozz who told him all about the beliefs the people of Krypton had before Rao, including the Kryptonians' forgotten "End of Days" prophecy regarding the Worldkillers.
Leading the Cult of Rao
The Cult of Rao was noticed by the Superfriends in late 2017. They decided to visit one of the meetings and discovered that along with the worship of Rao, Thomas has also encouraged his faithful to pray to Supergirl, making her a godlike figure, and even gathered people that were saved by Supergirl at some point, like Olivia. When Olivia's boyfriend went on to commit arson and attempt suicide just for a chance to be saved by Supergirl, Kara understood that Coville's cult was dangerous. She then confronted Coville, asking him to stop people from endangering themselves, but he saw nothing wrong with people "testing their faith". He then recognized Kara as Supergirl, but promised not to divulge her secret, thinking that the encounter has been a test of faith from Rao himself. He then went and gave Supergirl the obelisk he found from the probe to help "remind" Kara of Rao's words. She angrily took it from him and told him that if she truly was a god then he had to listen to her and demanded that he stop holding meetings and asking people to put themselves at risk.Despite Kara's words, Coville went on to endanger even more people, gathering his cult under a stadium and setting the BetaHedron to self-destruct, which could kill 15,000 people. Once again, he thought his beliefs proven true when Supergirl arrived to stop the destructive pod, but as it contained Kryptonite soil, Kara was weakened. She tried to prove that she is no goddess by showing that Kryptonite can make her bleed, which terrified the cult members, making them run away in fear. Distraught at what he'd done, Coville tried to deactivate the BetaHedron, but to no avail. He collapsed in sorrow beside Supergirl, but when Alex Danvers arrived to remove the pod, he found the strength to help her carry it and throw it down a giant shaft into Earth that Supergirl created. Thomas then surrendered to the authorities and was incarcerated. He met with Kara in prison and told her that he accepts imprisonment as penance and salvation. Coville told her that he remembered her from the night that she had saved him as her eyes were so sure and full of clarity. Now, he sees that she doubts herself and feels that Rao had sent her to him, to help her find the path back to the hero she had been that fateful night. He also promised not to divulge Kara's secret and to pray for her, giving her spiritual advice. He then went on to pray for her in his cell at the same moment that Kara began to reaffirm her own faith to Rao.
When new glyphs were appearing all throughout National City, he went and contacted Kara and informed her that he needed to see her. He then spoke a passage to her that she knew wasn't in the Book of Rao. He told her that he learned of it when he had met a Kryptonian escapee from Fort Rozz and that it detailed of the being meant to bring about the "End of Days". Coville told Kara that there were three signs until it came. First, the symbols would appear. Second, there would be the deaths of wicked and corrupt people. After that, "she" would appear to begin her reign. When Kara asked who she was, he told her it was "World Killer". He then took her hands and told her that this was her purpose, to fight the Devil. She just broke away from his grip and told him that the Devil wasn't real.
Worshiping the Worldkillers
After witnessing the defeat of Supergirl at the hands of Reign, Coville turned on her and Rao and began to worship the World Killers and their god Yuda Kal. When Reign saw him praying to Yuda Kal she questioned him on how he knew those words. He told her that he studied them and wanted to join Reign and aid in her efforts. At first, she was skeptical but he told her that he could keep him alive long enough to serve her showing he was supportive to her cause. When Reign escaped from prison so did Thomas and showed himself in her fortress showing that now he is an ally of the World Killers. Before his escape from prison, his followers would visit him mostly Olivia. Under his guidance, she turned the cult of Rao into the cult of Yuda Kal so his followers would also aid the World Killers. He told Olivia about Yuda Kal and how she could transform into a World Killer by absorbing her powers.
After allying himself with Reign no one saw or heard of him including the new cult of Yuda Kal rumors were that he died serving Reign. He soon appeared after the plan to bring forth Yuda Kal failed, showing he was alive. He went to a valley and was praying to a kryptonian hologram crystal waiting for Selena and the other witches and watched as they rebuild the fortress of sanctuary. He became involved in a ritual that would bring Reign back but it only worked partially as they needed both the blood of Pestilence and Purity so she could be brought back fully. He told them that the DEO had the blood of Pestilence and Purity he remained in the fortress and watched as Selena used the blood of the two World Killers to bring Reign back. Once that apocalypse that Reign would begin was in its final stages Selena had no further use for Thomas and shot him even after everything he did for them.
However, Thomas somehow survived the attack. While he was sneaking in the cave, he found J'onn J'onzz's cruiser and used it to send an emergency signal to the D.E.O., which helped the Superfriends find the place and defeat Reign and Selena. He died after transmitting the signal.
In a timeline created by Kara and Mxyzptlk, after the many heroic exploits of Supergirl and Lena Luthor, Coville was shown at a rally seemingly leading a new cult. However, this cult not only worshiped Kara Zor-El, but showed full and unconditional support for her allegiance with Lena, stating that "nothing is compared to the might of a Kryptonian paired with a Luthor." Later, Coville and Lena were captured by Agent Liberty, who used them as leverage to force Supergirl into revealing her civillian identity to the world.
- "I know that even gods can lose their way. When I looked into your eyes that night on the plane, you were clear and free. Now, your eyes are clouded with doubt, loss. You're at a crossroads. And I finally understand Rao's will for me: to help you on your journey."
- —Thomas Coville to Kara Danvers/Supergirl[src]
According to Coville, he once had high hopes for his life, thinking that he was building something with his success at work. After he has found out that his wife was cheating on him with a private trainer, she filed for divorce, leaving Thomas hopeless, sarcastic and self-pitying, which led to a destructive drinking binge.
Coville's outlook on life has changed after being saved from a sure death on Flight 237 by Supergirl. Seeing people of many religions praying to their gods, and Supergirl, of all people, answering their prayers, Thomas became convinced that the Kryptonians are a true source of religious. After finding a Kryptonian pod containing the teachings of Rao, he started a cult based on worshipping Rao, and also Supergirl as one of his pantheon. His heart was in the right place, but he has crossed a line when he encouraged the group members to put themselves in danger just to be saved by Supergirl. Thomas had come to believe Kryptonians were agents of Rao's will, similar to angels working for God. He was so blinded by his faith in Supergirl that he thought she was able to save a million people from the explosion despite Kryptonite. After witnessing that even Supergirl bleeds, Coville understood his mistake, showing remorse for what he was doing and helping Alex Danvers get rid of the bomb.
However, Coville's faith strengthened again after he was put in prison, finding it his salvation; he could share the religion of Rao with his fellow inmates to grant them peace. Coville considered it redemption for the mistakes he made by endangering people against their will. Nevertheless, he still believed in Supergirl and gave her some religious advice, telling that he would pray not just to her, but for her, and saying that coming back to the worship of Rao can help her move on from the loss of Mon-El, and let go of her troubles. Despite knowing Kara's identity, Thomas decided not to expose her, because he understood she wants to live a normal life and be treated by people equally as a person.
After Reign defeated Supergirl, Coville stopped believing in her and in Rao and instead began worshiping the Worldkillers and their god Yuda Kal. He soon began teaching those in his cult that they were worshiping the wrong god and told them Yuda Kal was the true savior of the planet showing that he now believed in the cause of the Worldkillers.