Lightning Lad

aka Live Wire

Created by Mort Weisinger, Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Al Plastino
 

NAME + ALIASES:
Garth Ranzz of Winath alias Lightning Lad, Proty

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Luc and Perla Ranzz (parents, deceased), Mekt (brother), Ayla (Lightning Lass, sister), Imra Ardeen Ranzz (Saturn Girl, wife), Graym (son), Validus (son)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Adventure Comics #247 (Apr. 1958)
SW6 version: Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #24 (Dec. 1991)
Retroboot: Action Comics #859 (Jan. 2008)

Original Lightning Lad

The first mention of Lightning Lad's origin was in an "Adult Legion" story. From Superman #147 (Aug. 1961); art by Al Plastino.
The origin of the Ranzz siblings' super-power. From Superboy #172 (1971); art by George Tuska.
Lightning Lad becomes the Legion's first casualty. From Adventure Comics #304 (1963); art by John Forte.
Lightning Lad gives his right arm for the Legion. From Adventure Comics #332 (1965); art by John Forte.
In order to fool alien infiltrators, four Legionnaires pretend to marry, then resign, to make room for new recruits. From Adventure Comics #337 (Oct. 1965); by Edmond Hamilton, John Forte and Sheldon Moldoff.

Mekt Ranzz was a reckless teenager who one day took his younger twin siblings Garth and Ayla Ranzz, on a ride in a spacecraft. When Mekt's piloting skills got them into trouble, Garth managed to guide their ship to land on the planetoid Korbal. In order to repower the spaceship, Garth suggested they try to attract the native lightning beasts toward the ship. Instead of recharging the ship, the beasts attacked siblings with lightning energies. The Ranzzes survived, and gained the power to discharge electricity. (Superboy #147, Superboy #172, Legion v.3 #45) Notes: Lightning Lad's real name was first revealed in Adventure #350 (1966). A text feature in in Adventure #354 (1967) story identified their homeworld as Amarta, rather than Winath. The Ranzzes' origin was presaged in Superman #147 (Aug. 1961), in which the adult Lightning Lord revealed that he was Garth's brother, and they were empowered on Korbal.

After they returned home to their parents, Luc and Perla Ranzz, Mekt ran off and became a criminal. Garth followed a tip that his brother had gone to Earth, and set out to bring him to his senses.

But Garth's route to Earth took an unexpected turn. He became part of a trio of teenagers who foiled an assassin's plot to kill the tycoon R. J. Brande. Brande was inspired by the heroics of Garth, Rokk Krinn and Imra Ardeen, and convinced them to form a Legion of Super-Heroes. They became Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl. (Superboy v.1 #147) Note: In his first appearance, Garth was called "Lightning Boy."

They Legionnaires quickly added to their ranks and began traveling through time. They met their hero, Superboy, and returned to visit him often. (Adventure Comics #247, 267) Lightning Lad saved Superboy from Lex Luthor's "living Kryptonite men," (Superboy #86) and he and Cosmic Boy made an appearance at a 20th century parade in Superman's honor. (Superman #157)

Garth was an unlucky Legionnaire. When he and Sun Boy were hospitalized following a cruiser crash, they were victimized by Dr. Landro. The doctor implanted the heroes with a miniaturized spy-master called Meglaro. (Adventure Comics #303)

Lightning Lad was enamored of his fellow founder, Saturn Girl, but he didn't really show it. When Imra received a prediction that a Legionnaire would die battling the Khund called Zaryan, she took drastic measures to ensure it would be she who died. She rigged the Legion's first leader election so that she would win, and then suspended the other Legionnaires. Despite her efforts, Lightning Lad intervened; he died protecting Saturn Girl and Earth from the Khundish fleet. Garth was the first Legionnaire to die in the line of duty. (#304) NOTES: Garth's interest in Imra was not explored prior to this, though an "Adult Legion" story from Action Comics #289 (June 1962) suggested that they would one day marry.

Not long afterward, the Legionnaires were stunned when "Garth" walked right into their clubhouse, apparently restored to life! This turned out to be a masquerade put on by his sister, Ayla Ranzz, who was admitted to the Legion as Lightning Lass. (#308)

The Legion continued to search for a way to revive Garth. Their chosen method came with the price: the life of another. Several Legionnaires volunteered to return to Korbal, where they held special lightning rods to channel the electicity into Garth's preserved remains. Behind the scenes, the Legion's friend, Proty, had incapacitated and impersonated Saturn Girl. He was the one to ultimately pay the price — but it apparently worked! — Lightning Lad was restored to life while Proty perished. (#312)

Which was the story everyone believed.

Proty's noble sacrifice disguised one of the Legion's most shocking secrets. During the ritual on Korbal, Garth Ranzz did not truly return from the dead. Instead, Proty's consciousness (who loved Saturn Girl as well) was transferred into Garth's body. Proty revealed this to no one and quietly assumed the life of Lightning Lad. If Imra ever suspected the truth, she said nothing. Only decades later did he confess the truth to his sister Ayla. (Legion v.4 Annual #3) NOTES: In the letters page of Legion v.4 #37, credit is given to Margie Spears Saaski, who had suggested Garth-as-Proty in The Legion Outpost #5, in 1973.

Lightning Lad had a new lease on life but misfortune continued to dog him. He lost his arm in battle with a Dxaundii wingfish that was enlarged into a "Super-Moby-Dick" of space. (#332) The arm was soon grown back by Doctor Zan Orbal. (#351) Then Garth was hypnotized and framed for the crimes of Starfinger. (#336)

After his revival, he and Saturn Girl became much closer. In one case, the couple pretended to marry so that they would have to resign from the Legion. This was a ruse to combat alien spies who had infiltrated the team. Once they obtained the evidence they needed, the spies are exposed and expelled, and the "married" members return to duty. (#337)

Another great secret in Garth's life — one kept even from himself — was the fate of his own son. He and Imra were destined to have twin boys, one of whom would be kidnapped by Darkseid. This boy is transformed into the villainous monster called Validus, a member of the Fatal Five. (Tales of the Legion Annual #3) The Five's first meeting with the Legion was during the threat of the Sun-Eater, when the Legion was forced to work with the criminals. (Adventure Comics #352) The Legion clashed with Validus for years before the truth was revealed by Darkseid.

Brother Mekt Ranzz returned in a major way, as a founding member of the Legion of Super-Villains. This group was a formidable threat to the Legion, and Mekt became their driving force over time. (#372)

Adulthood

Garth and Mekt set aside differences in honor of their parents. From Superboy #207 (Mar./Apr. 1975); art by Cary Bates and Mike Grell.
Lightning Lad has brass. From Superboy #210 (1975); art by Mike Grell.
A fabulous wedding marks the calm before the storm. From All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55 (1978); art by Paul Levitz, Mike Grell and Vince Colletta.
The two married Legion couples prepare to reenter the fray during the "Earthwar." From Superboy and the Legion #243 (1978); art by Joe Staton and Jack Abel.
Lightning Lad was the Legion's longest serving leader. From Legion v.3 #280 (1981); art by Jim Janes and Bruce Patterson.

Garth's brother, Lightning Lord, reappeared several times. Each time the brothers fought violently but Garth sent Mekt back to prison. In one of their battles, Mekt's hair was turned white by the excess of electrical energy. (Superboy #172)

Garth's parents died tragically in a space cruiser crash when both he and Ayla were on duty with the Legion. The twins created a memorial at the site of their deaths, and one year Garth returned to honor them. Lightning Lord came as well, and the two barely managed to bury the hatchet. (Superboy #207) NOTES: Mekt and Garth Ranzz are erroneously depicted as twins in this story.

When Lightning Lad proposed to Saturn Girl for real, the two of them underwent a trail on her homeworld of Titan to determine their compatibility. (Superboy & the Legion #236) Theirs was the second Legion wedding (after Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel), and true to super-hero tradition it was upset by the Time Trapper. The Legionnaires traveled back and forth through time to confront the Trapper and reverse his changes to their timeline. (Limited Collector's Ed. #C-55)

Of course they knew that the Legion constitution forbade married Legionnaires from serving in active duty. In a ceremony on R.J. Brande's private asteroid estate, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl resigned their membership (Superboy & the Legion #237)

Their absence was very short-lived, as they were immediately called in as reservists during the so-called Earthwar. (Superboy & the Legion #245) After the war, the Legion's rules were changed to allow married members to serve. What's more, Garth was elected Legion leader, with Element Lad as his deputy. (#247)

Garth served with distinction as a leader, but the end of his term was marred by a mental and physical breakdown. First, he believed that Saturn Girl had been lost on a mission in space. (Legion v.2 #287) Then just as he resigned, he was diagnosed with an electrical brain disease. (#290)

Retirement

Lightning Lord comes looking for information about Ayla. From Legion v.2 #302 (Aug. 1983); art by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt.
Garth voices his desire to leave the Legion. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #11 (June 1985); art by Ernie Colón and Larry Mahlstedt.

Lightning Lord struck again when Garth and Imra were on Medicus One, while preparing for Imra's pregnancy. Mekt was looking for Ayla, who had recently resigned from the Legion. (Legion v.2 #302) They soon announced Saturn Girl's pregnancy with twins. (#307)

Mekt was seeking Light Lass to invite her to a new incarnation of the Legion of Super-Villains. When she refused, she was imprisoned on Orando with other Legionnaires. This time out, the LSV's co-leader, Nemesis Kid, managed to kill a Legionnaire, Karate Kid. (Legion v.3 #1–4) Ayla rejoined the Legion after the villains were defeated. (#6)

The birth of Garth and Imra's child was clouded in an artificial darkness. This was crated by servants of the sorcerer Mordru. Their plot failed to free their master, but the effects of the darkness helped Darkseid to steal one of the Ranzz family's twins from them. After the birth of Graym Ranzz, Saturn Girl remarked that she was certain she sensed two thought patterns. She'd been right; Graym's twin was transported by Darkseid from Imra's womb, sent back in time, and transformed into Validus (a nonverbal monster with "mental lightning" powers). Garth and Imra remained totally unaware of this. (Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #3)

Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl took a leave of absence from active duty. (Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #316) During this time, they and Cosmic Boy decided to resign fully. (Legion v.3 #12) Their friends in the Legion attended Graym's baptism. (#16)

Garth dove headlong into parenthood and never returned to active Legion duty, but he, Imra and Rokk were swept up into a cross-time caper. The Time Trapper returned to play a game with Garth in particular. He kidnapped Graym in an attempt to drive Lightning Lad insane, but the hero proved his fortitude and the Trapper released him. (Legionnaires Three #1–4)

The next time the Legion battled Validus, Saturn Girl instinctively recognized the creature as her son. She plead with Darkseid, who admired her courage so much that he complied, restoring the boy to his normal age and place. (Legion v.3 Annual #2)

Being a Legionnaire invited a lot of undue attention. The Luck Lords of Ventura also took an interest in Garth's life, and gambled on the outcome of a rematch between Garth and Mekt. They released Mekt from Labyrinth prison and as always, Lightning Lad prevailed. (Legion v.3 #45)

Glorith Reality (Legion v.4)

On Winath, Garth uses his resources to help reestablish the Legion. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #13 (Nov. 1990); art by Keith Giffen and Al Gordon.
The truth that Garth is Proty is discovered. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 Annual #3 (1992); art by Brandon Peterson and Scott Hanna.
Garth's clone, Live Wire, loses his cool and gravely injures his friend Cosmic Boy. From Legionnaires #9 (Dec. 1993); by Tom & Mary Bierbaum, Adam Hughes and Brian Stelfreeze.
Live Wire card (#13) from DC Master cards, 1994. Art by Juda Tverski.
Live Wire, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl witness the end of their reality. From Zero Hour #2 (1994); by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway.

Saturn Girl had returned the Legion for a brief time (Legion v.3 #36) but Garth remained on his homeworld of Winath to raise their boys. When the Legion was railroaded toward disbanding, Imra retired to Winath as well.

Their happy life was again marred by the curse of Darkseid, who apparently left a secret killer within their second son (renamed Garridan Ranzz). Brainiac 5 identified Garridan as the carrier of the deadly Winathococcus Validus, the "Validus plague." Garth arm and leg were handicapped by the disease and it ravaged the population. Garridan was sent to live on an isolated medical planet called Quarantine and Brainiac vowed to cure the boy. (Legion v.4 #3)

Despite this tragedy, the Ranzz family established a prosperous agricultural business, the Lightning Ring Plantation. They even managed to rehabilitate Mekt Ranzz, and he was released to Garth and Imra's care to complete his outpatient therapy. (#3–4)

Garth maintained a positive outlook on life and their family was a rock among the Legionnaires. When several of them gathered on Winath, they were attacked by Roxxas, a rogue assassin hired by the government of Earth. (#10)

Once Roxxas was contained, Rokk and Chameleon Boy proposed the reforming of the Legion. Garth offered them the use of a space station on the asteroid Talus, and it became the site of the new Legion headquarters. (#14)

Imra and Garth remained detached from Legion activities. They expanded their family to include twin daughters, Dacey and Dorritt, who appeared to have inherited their mother's telepathic abilities. (#20, 50) Their christening was another opportunity for old friends to gather. (Legion v.4 Annual #3)

Though a cure was not found for Garridan, he made friends on Quarantine and even used his own lightning powers as part of an ad hoc "Li'l Legion." (Legion v.4 #13, 51)

Live Wire: Batch SW6

When Earth was overtaken by the Dominators, the ensuing war revealed a cache of Legion clones, known as Batch SW6. (Legion v.4 #19–24) They were the creations of the Time Trapper, who created Garth Ranzz with cells from a time from before his death. When this Legion formally instated itself, Garth took a new code name: Live Wire. (Legion v.4 #41)

This time, his relationship with Saturn Girl was strained. She found his behavior immature, and they grew apart. His hotheadedness came to a head in Mexico, where the Legion was trying to quell food riots. Live Wire unleashed his power and accidentally fried Cosmic Boy. (Legionnaires #9)

Live Wire, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl were part of a handful of Legionnaires selected by the Time Trapper to try to avert a "crisis in time." They fought alongside the 20th century's heroes during that "Zero Hour," but when they returned to the 30th century, it was all for nothing. (Zero Hour #3–1)

They followed the Time Trapper's direction, and agreed to merge with their adult counterparts. This was an attempt to preserve their essence in the hopes that the 30th century would live on. (Legion v.4 #61)

Retroboot

Lightning Lad helps Superman and Batman investigate Legionnaire deaths in the 21st century. From Action Comics #864 (June 2008); by Geoff Johns, Joe Prado and Jon Sibal.

In 2007, the Original Legion returned to the DC universe. Its continuity was more-or-less restored — with the exception of the events of Legion v.4 (the Glorith Reality), which were ignored. This meant that the Retroboot Lightning Lad was never Proty, never crippled, and never bore twin daughters. Also, Mekt Ranzz was never rehabilitated.

Some details were added to the story of the Legion's early years, especially those surrounding the activities of Zaryan, which led to Garth's death. (Adventure Comics v.3 #517–520)

In the Retroboot, the Legion was railroaded into disbanding by the increasingly corrupt and xenophobic government on Earth. Those who were not captured went underground. Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad stepped up to fight this existential enemy: Earth-Man and his "Justice League of Earth." While a team of Legionnaires sought help from Superman in the 21st century, Garth, Imra and Rokk were captured by Earth-Man's forces. (Action Comics #859) With Superman's help, Earth-Man was brought to heel. (#861–863)

Legion v.6

Lightning Lad was summoned by his brother, Mekt, to Takron-Galtos. Mekt claimed that their parents lied, that Mekt also had a twin. He asked Garth to find their lost sibling. (Adventure Comics v.3 #2 [505]) Garth and Ayla began a search of records on Winath, but it never bore fruit. (Legion v.6 #2) Mekt was soon released from prison by Saturn Queen, who reformed the Legion of Super-Villains. (Legion of Super-Villains #1, Legion v.6 #11–16)

Meanwhile, Saturn Girl had returned to Titan to visit her mentor, Doctor Aven. Just then, the moon was destroyed by events at the Time Institute and Imra barely managed to escape. As she rushed to save their sons, the boys vanished; she took a Time Bubble to find them. (Legion v.6 #1) Garth and Ayla joined Imra's search, which led to Avalon. There disciples of Darkseid hoped to sacrifice the boys in a scheme to earn the dark god's favor. (#3–4)

Legion v.7

After this, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl took a leave of absence (Legion v.6 #6) to settle their boys on Winath. (Legion v.7 #5) They returned to Earth for a happy night out with Cosmic Boy and Night Girl. (#8)

As always, the couple returned to Legion duty when a crisis called. This time, Tharok had created a new, monumentally powerful Fatal Five. He released some of his old allies — including Validus. (Legion v.7 #16–20) NOTE: In Legion v.6 #2 (Aug. 2010), Saturn Girl mentions Darkseid's involvement in Garridan's fate, but it's unclear how both Validus and Garridan could coexist in the same time period.

Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad arrived on Earth just in time to help turn the tide. (#21–22)

Notes

Jim Shooter on Lightning Lad: "One of the reasons for his sister's retiring personality. He is a showman, a proud, powerful exemplary hero. A confident, dominant man, man enough for the likes of Imra Ironass Ardeen. Certainly his revival from death has affected him. Doubtless he feels now that he has a great role to play—a mission. He is good. He knows it—he strives for it and will not be denied his place in the heroic limelight." —Interlac (1976)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Lightning Lad: "The original Garth was a charismatic bad boy who nobody was quite able or willing to straighten out. He finally found real valor in himself when he sacrificed his life for Imra. When the team tried to resurrect him, they instead gave him Proty's personality, which was the heroic, dedicated and slightly unbalanced Garth we knew during most of the Legion's run." —Interlac (2000)

Powers

Lightning Lad has masterful control over electrical energies. He can both absorb and generate lightning.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • Action Comics #267, 276
  • Adventure Comics #247, 267, 282, 290, 293
  • All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, 8, 10
  • DC Comics Presents #13
  • DC Special Series #21
  • DC Super-Stars #17
  • Justice League of America v.1 #147-148
  • Karate Kid #1, 4, 10, 12, 13
  • Secret Origins v.2 #46
  • Superboy v.1 #86, 98, 100, 125, 147, 172, 188, 190, 191, 195
  • Superman v.1 #152, 156, 157
  • Superman Family #207
  • Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #72, 117
  • World's Finest Comics #284
  • Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes #4
  • Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #13

Glorith Reality

  • Adventures of Superman #478
  • Legionnaires #17-18
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #3, 10, 12-14, 33, 40, 44, 50, 54, 56, 60, 61
  • Valor #23
  • Zero Hour #3–1

Retroboot

  • Action Comics #859, 861-864
  • Adventure Comics v.3 #2 [505]
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.6 #2-4

» SERIES:

  • Adventure Comics #300–380 (1962–69)
  • Action Comics, #378–392 (1969–70)
  • Superboy (and the Legion) #197–258 (1974–79); becomes ...
    • Legion of Super-Heroes v.2, #259–313 (1980–84); becomes …
    • Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes, #314–354 (1984–87)
  • Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes, 3-issue limited series (1981)
  • Legionnaires 3, 4-issue limited series (1986)
  • Legionnaires #1–18 (1993–94)
  • Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, 5-issue limited series (2008-09)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.6, 16 issues (2010–11)
  • Legion: Secret Origin, 6-issue limited series (2011–12)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.7, 23 issues (2011–13)

Live Wire II

NAME + ALIASES:
Garth Ranzz of Winath

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Kirth Ranzz (father), Dalya Ranzz (mother), Ayla Ranzz (Spark, sister), Mekt Ranzz (Lightning Lord, brother), Vaz (father's twin), Lilya (mother's twin), Ryth (aunt)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes, Workforce

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Legion of Super Heroes v.4 #0 (Oct. 1994)

Reboot: Live Wire II

Ayla Ranzz comes to replace Garth, as Spark. From Legionnaires #20 (Dec. 1994); by Tom Peyer, Jeffrey Moy and Phil Moy.
Garth and Ayla argue while confined on Planet Hell. From Legionnaires #22 (Feb. 1995); by Tom Peyer, Jeffrey Moy and Tom Simmons.

Garth Ranzz grew up on Winath, where almost everybody was born with a twin. Most Winathians are close with their twins, but Garth looked up to his older brother Mekt instead.

When they and his sister Ayla went joyriding in their parents' spaceship, they made an emergency landing on Korbal, and got blasted by lightning beasts. Garth awoke months later; his sister was still comatose and Mekt had run away. All of them now exhibited super-powers — the ability to control electricity — and Garth ran off in pursuit of Mekt, following terrible rumors about his brother's activities.

On his way to Earth, Garth and two other super-powered teens, Rokk Krinn and Imra Ardeen, saved the life of R. J. Brande. Brande convinced the three teenagers to form the Legion of Super-Heroes, to serve as an embodiment of the newly-formed United Planets. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #0) Garth used the codename Live Wire but his career was cut short when officials discovered that he was a runaway. His Legion membership was rescinded after only a few missions.

Worse, his home planet sent Ayla to represent Winath instead of him. She became the Legionnaire Spark. (Legionnaires #20, Legion v.4 #64)

Live Wire redirected his energies toward a rival group called the Workforce, a corporate endeavor created by Brande's rival, Leland McCauley. Live Wire's ethics clashed with McCauley's shadiness and micromanagement. He quickly quit the Workforce (Legionnaires #26) and was about to resume his search for Mekt when a group of Daxamite terrorists attacked Earth. The Legion moved to reinstate Garth, but was blocked by President Jeannie Chu. (Legion v.4 #72) From this point, Garth became one of several secret agents for Cosmic Boy. (Legionnaires #36)

When Garth located his brother, he received a nasty shock. Gone was the Mekt he once idolized, now replaced by a ruthless criminal who called himself Lightning Lord. (Legion v.4 #73) Mekt was hell-bent on killing anyone with lightning powers so that he could be unique; it was a rebellion against the twin-centered culture on Winath. Garth finally saw Mekt for the sociopath he was, and defeated him with Ayla's help. In this battle, Garth lost his right arm. (Legionnaires #30) The arm was replaced by a mechanical prosthetic, which could not withstand the lightning energy he generated.

Cosmic Boy had secretly asked Garth to assemble a secret Legion rescue squad with Valor, Andromeda, Ultra Boy and Jan Arrah. They worked to uncover Earth President Chu's treachery. When the Legion fought the Fatal Five, this rescue squad saved the Legion from the villains. (Legion v.4 #80)

After rejoining as a full-time member, half of the Legion was hurled back to the 20th century. As the remaining senior member, Live Wire was named the acting Legion leader. He had been contemplating an operation that would give him a real arm, but it would have cost him his super-powers. In light of this unexpected call to duty, he deferred that decision. (Legionnaires #42)

When Saturn Girl and Spark returned with the others from the past, Garth took his sister's advice and began more actively developing his relationship with Imra. They grew closer, and even agreed to marry one day. Ayla was killed trying to restore her lost lightning powers on Korbal. Garth restored her life and her lightning powers at great risk to himself. (Legion v.4 #101)

Legion: Lost

Live Wire decides to sacrifice his life to get his teammates home safely. From Legion: Lost #12 (Apr. 2001); by Dan Abnett, Olivier Coipel and Andy Lanning.
Garth and Imra try to find their way through the awkwardness of his new existence. From The Legion #26 (Jan. 2004); by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Chris Batista and Chip Wallace.
The Brainiac 5 of Earth-0 sees an opportunity to restore Garth to his original self. From Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #3 (Jan. 2004); by Geoff Johns, George Pérez and Scott Koblish.

When the Blight attacked Earth, Live Wire and Saturn Girl were among ten Legionnaires aboard the Legion Outpost when it disappeared through a rift in space. In distant "Second Galaxy," Garth created a garden for food, while Imra slowly buckled under the burden of leadership. When she lost the team's trust, Live Wire assumed the role.

The lost team confronted Element Lad, about whom they learned had lived for millennia and transformed into the near-omnipotent Progenitor. The Progenitor was a monster. Although he restored Garth's arm, Live Wire struck against his old friend when he found the opportunity. Just as the Legion found their opening to return home, Live Wire sacrificed his life to destroy the Progenitor rather than risk the villain following them through the warp back to Earth. (Legion: Lost #12)

Ayla was devastated by the news. She accompanied the Legion on a return mission to the Second Galaxy, where she collected some crystals from the site of his death. (The Legion #4-5) When she returned home, she placed these crystals at the memorial for Element Lad on Trom, which unwittingly sowed the seeds for her brother's rebirth. Those Tromium crystals contained Garth's life force. When these were joined with other crystals that contained Element Lad's essence, it created a reaction that allowed Garth to reassert his will. He found himself able to access Jan's transmutational abilities, which he used to fashion a new body made of Tromium! (#25)

Garth's resurrection happened on a fateful day. As it happened, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl has spent most of it presiding over the Legion's new "Foundation Day." The two of them decided to make a visit to Element Lad's memorial on Trom, and found Garth instead! (#25)

Even though the entire Legion was occupied with fighting Darkseid, Garth was encouraged to remain on the sidelines. The "lost" Legionnaires still found it difficult to see past the face of the Progenitor. But Garth, with other sidelined Legionnaires, proved instrumental in defeating Darkseid. (#30)

When a group of Legionnaires were captured by the Credo in the Second Galaxy, Garth offered himself up in exchange for the Legionnaires' freedom. (#32) Garth stopped their leader, the Singularity, by using his elemental powers (which only bolstered the faith of some of "the Progenitor's" followers). (#33)

In his absence, Garth's brother Mekt was placed in his parents' custody, and he did his best to reform. Mekt was even forced to admit that he greatly admired his brother but he also enjoyed a new closeness with Ayla. (#25)

Legion of Three Worlds

The Reboot Legion was called to fight alongside two other Legions from parallel universes. During their battle against Superboy-Prime and the Time Trapper, the Brainiac 5 of Earth-0 used his lightning rod to amplify Live Wire's original powers. This enabled him to transform himself back to his original, non-crystalline body. (Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #4)

Powers

Live Wire has the ability to generate and channel electrical energy. This power was received from an outside source, the lightning beasts of Korbal.

While he inhabited the body of Element Lad, he could manipulate this mineral called Tromium (not all matter, like Element Lad himself). Tromium had numerous protective and energetic properties. It was used to sheath others to achieve suspended animation or protection, and could store encoded information.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • Green Lantern v.3 #98-99
  • Infinite Crisis #6
  • Legends of the Legion #2
  • Teen Titans/Legion Special #1

» SERIES:

  • Legionnaires, 81 issues (1993–2000)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.4, #0, 62–125 (1994–2000)
  • Legion: Lost, 12-issue maxi-series (2000–01)
  • The Legion, 38 issues (2001–2004)
  • Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, 5-issue limited series (2008-09)

» SEE ALSO:

LIGHTNING LAD II

NAME + ALIASES:
Garth Ranzz of Winath

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed parents, Ayla Ranzz (Light Lass, twin sister), Mekt Ranzz (brother)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Teen Titans/Legion Special (2004)

Threeboot: Earth-Prime

The origin of the "lightning family." From Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #26 (Mar. 2007); by Mark Waid, Barry Kitson and Mick Gray.
When their brother Mekt turns up, family conflicts flare between Lightning Lad and his sister, Light Lass. From Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #26 (Mar. 2007); by Mark Waid, Barry Kitson and Mick Gray.
Lightning Lad becomes the Legion's leader after Supergirl is sent home. From Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #36 (Jan. 2008); by Tony Bedard and Dennis Calero.
While things go wrong on Triton, Garth struggles to keep tabs on the Legion on Earth. From Legion of Super-Heroes #38 (Mar. 2008); by Jim Shooter, Francis Manapul and John Livesay.

Mekt Ranzz was born on the world of Winath, where twin births are the norm. Non-twins like Mekt are often treated like pariahs and like many, he struggled to deal with his anger. He was recruited by the Cult of Validus (on the planet Winath) to bring their lightning god to life. The Cult sent Mekt to the planet Korbal to acquire powers from its native lightning creatures. Ranzz's twin siblings Garth and Ayla secretly stowed away on his cruiser, and when the ship crashed, the lightning creatures turned on them. The younger two were severely burnt by the beasts' electric energies.

Mekt was indeed empowered with lightning; he carried them back to the ship and recharged it to escape. Upon his return to Winath, the Cult rejected Mekt because his siblings' interference had supposedly tainted their prophesy. (Supergirl & the Legion #26, 32)

Mekt disappeared but found a new purpose when the United Planets formed a black ops team called the Wanderers to prevent attack from the Dominators (a race with whom the U.P. had a nonaggression pact). The Wanderers uncovered Dominator cells on other planets and after engaging with them, Mekt Ranzz was the only surviving agent. After this, he left the U.P. and began rebuilding the Wanderers as his own personal, independent team. (#25)

When Garth Ranzz recovered, he'd also gained lightning powers. He began searching for Mekt and eventually arrived on Earth, where he was involved with the foundation of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and became romantically with one of its others, Saturn Girl. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.5 #3) They and Cosmic Boy were thrown in prison. When supportive teens gathered in protest, Garth and the others were freed. They converted the prison into a headquarters, the base camp for a new youth movement. Garth's sister Ayla soon followed him there, becoming the Legionnaire called Light Lass. NOTES: This was an untold tale, recounted by series artist Barry Kitson on the Legion of Substitute Podcasters, episode #87 (7 June 2010).

Lightning Lad was a natural leader; when Cosmic Boy took a temporary leave, he appointed Garth as acting leader. As founders, Garth and Imra fielded an offer from the United Planets' Ambassador Ardeen. The U.P. offered to officially sanction and fund the Legion as an arm of the United Planets — equal and independent from the Science Police. Lightning Lad polled the core team about it. He made the decision to accept the proposal after witnessing how much strife there was between Legionnaires and officials. (Legion v.5 #14)

Garth was on the ballot for the Legion's next leadership election, but when Supergirl materialized from the 21st century, a wave of write-in votes resulted in her winning the election. (Supergirl & the Legion #31) 

Lightning Lad was the Legion's deputy leader. His away team confronted Evolvo-Lad, who held the secret to Supergirl's return to the past. (#35) After Supergirl returned home, Lightning Lad became Legion leader. (#36)

Like Cosmic Boy before him, Ranzz was often overwhelmed by his leadership duties, and chose poorly for whom to send on which missions. (#37) Their new affiliation with the U.P. meant that he was also required to consider their "pre-approved candidates" for membership. (#38)

Eventually he found the strength to make difficult decisions, like censuring Saturn Girl for her improper use of telepathy to prevent Timber Wolf from harming civilians on Triton. (#40)

The stress led Saturn Girl to a moment of indiscretion with Ultra Boy. (#45) When she admitted it to Lightning Lad, they ended their relationship. (#46)

Powers

Lightning Lad possesses the ability to generate and channel electrical energy.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • The Brave and the Bold v.3 #4-5
  • Teen Titans/Legion Special #1

» SERIES:

  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.5, 50 issues (2005–09)

» SEE ALSO:

Lightning Lad III

NAME + ALIASES:
Garth Ranzz of Winath

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Two unnamed mothers, Ayla Ranzz (Light Lass, sister), five unnamed siblings

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Superman v.5 #14 (July 2019)

Rebirth: Lightning Lad III

The Ranzz family learns that Garth and Ayla are invited to join a United Planets "youth delegation." From Legion of Super-Heroes v.8 #4 (Apr. 2020); art by Mikel Janin.

On Winath, most people are born as twins. Single births are considered the children of Validus, their "Lord of Lightning." Twins Garth and Ayla Ranzz gained galactic fame by defending some non-native beings from the Science Police, who were trying to relocate them.

At home afterwards, the teens' two mothers and four siblings argued about the day's events. Their meal was interrupted by the United Planets' Science Command, who came bearing an invitation for the twins to join a U.P. youth delegation at the invitation of President R.J. Brande. Of the two, Ayla was the more vehement activist, and she refused. Garth (who had never left the city of his birth) traveled to Daxam to meet Brande.

En route, he met Imra Ardeen and Rokk Krinn. Brande called the three together for their power, counsel and perspective amid growing discontent in the U.P. When Brande was attacked by the alien Horraz, Imra and the others leapt to her defense. (Legion v.8 #4)

As Lightning Lad, Garth was a founding member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. (#5)

Notes

The Rebirth version of Lightning Lad underwent a "racial reassignment" during the promotional period of Legion of Super-Heroes v.8. In the advance solicitations for the teams' first appearances, Lightning Lad and Light Lass were depicted in their classically Caucasian way.

However, just prior to the books' releases, the art was changed to reflect the lightning twins as people of color. Further, Bouncing Boy, who is also seen on the cover of Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2 (Dec. 2019), was "swapped" with them, going from darker-skinned to Caucasian.

 
Promo and published covers for Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2 (Dec. 2019). Notice that the racial identities for Bouncing Boy, Light Lass and Lightning Lad are changed. Art by Ryan Sook.
 
Promo and published covers for Superman #15 (Nov. 2019); art by Ryan Sook.
DC also released sketches of the new Legionnaires' costumes, by Ryan Sook.

Powers

Lightning Lad can generate, absorb and project electrical energy.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2
  • Supergirl v.7 #33
  • Superman v.5 #14-15

» SERIES:

  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.8, current (2019–)

» SEE ALSO:

In Other Media

Rokk Krinn and Garth Ranzz on Smallville. From season 8, episode 11 (2009).
Lightning Lad and his robotic arm. From "Chained Lightning," Legion of Super-Heroes season 2, episode 4.

Garth Ranzz (played by Calum Worthy) appeared along with Rokk and Imra on television's Smallville, in season 8, episode 11 (2009).

Lightning Lad was a prominent member in TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon.

In some alternate versions of the Legion, Lightning Lad is sometimes the founder who is "swapped out" for another Legionnaire. For example, in Superboy's Legion, Superboy was a founder, with Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl.