Lightning Lad is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Garth Rannz and his twin sister Ayla were the second and third child born to the Ranzz family on the planet Winath. They were preceded by an older sibling named Mekt. In the late 30th century, the Ranzz siblings were returning home from another planet when their shuttle craft began malfunctioning. They were forced to crash-land on the planet Korbal – a barren, desolate world populated by fierce Lightning Beasts. Mekt theorized that if he could lure the beasts towards their ship, he could goad them into using their lightning powers to recharge the shuttle's engines. While Mekt dealt with the animals, Garth and Ayla hid behind a pile of rocks. The plan failed however, and the animals' electrical discharge struck the siblings rather than the ship. The power surge turned Mekt's hair white, while also giving Garth a lightning bolt-shaped scar across his right eye.
As Garth grew older, he lost contact with his brother who had since disappeared into the galactic underworld. When he came of age, he decided to use his powers to fight evil and became one of the core members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. As a Legionnaire, Garth faced some of the toughest criminals in the galaxy such as the Fatal Five. With a compliment of Legionnaires, Garth and the others were able to defeat the Fatal Five, but they soon escaped from their prison on Takron-Galtos and came to Earth looking for revenge. The Legion's resident genius Brainiac 5 theorized that the only way to save their future was by looking to the past. Three Legionnaires traveled back in time to the 21st century to enlist the aid of famed hero Superman at a point in time when he had only recently developed his super-abilities. When they brought Superman back to the 31st century, Garth was the first to voice his disapproval, believing Clark Kent to be nothing more than a "nerd" and a geek". With proper coaching from Lightning Lad however, young Superman proved to be a valuable asset to the team and they were able to successfully defeat the Fatal Five.
Shortly thereafter, Garth had a bittersweet reunion with his brother Mekt. Mekt's guilt over the loss of their sister poisoned him emotionally, and he became a bitter and competitive rival to Garth. They met each other at the 343rd Intergalactic Games on Olympia 12. Mekt sparked a rivalry between the two at the games and tried unsuccessfully to sabotage Garth's chances at winning the hang surfing competition. The two also competed in a five-hundred meter dash across a river of molten lava. Once again, Mekt tried to tip the odds in his favor by setting off various explosives and sand traps. One of his traps endangered the lives of another contestant, and Garth was forced to forfeit his chance at winning the race by going back and helping them.
Unsatisfied, Mekt further plotted to upstage his brother by conspiring with the villainous members of the Fatal Five during the Intergalactic Games awards ceremony. Mekt activated a remote control that lowered the force field surrounding the podium, enabling the Fatal Five to attack. Garth and the other Legionnaires fought with the Fatal Five and ultimately proved victorious.
Garth soon grew unsatisfied with the Legion's accomplishments, particularly in light of the success record of the flashier, stylistic team known as the Light Speed Vanguard. Garth discovered that Mekt had become a member of this seemingly august group and offered Garth a place on their team. Mekt's taunting ultimately paid off and Garth quit the Legion of Super-Heroes. Soon enough however, Garth regretted the decision. When he discovered that the Vanguard only offered their services to those willing to pay them, he grew concerned. Complicating the matter was the fact that those who failed to pay the Vanguard often found themselves the victims of violence. This was enough to convince Garth to resign his membership, and Mekt and he squared off once again. While the rest of the Vanguard fought with the Legion, Mekt concentrated his energy on Lightning Lad. He managed to gain the upper hand on Garth, but let him be at the last moment, allowing him the chance to wallow in his defeat.
Some two years later, Garth and the other Legionnaires found themselves in the middle of a bitter struggle against the forces of Imperiex and his allies in the Dominion. It was during this time that Garth also began suffering from haunting visions of his missing sister Ayla. The Legion learned that Imperiex was constructing a tachyon cannon inside of an electrical cloud and that Mekt Ranzz was now working for Imperiex. They flew to the nebula to stop the construction of the cannon and Mekt and Garth clashed once again. The two were evenly matched by this point, so Imperiex decided to tip the odds in Mekt's favor by unleashing a blast of energy that destroyed Lightning Lad's arm. In the midst of conflict, both brothers saw an image of Ayla coalesce in the center of the lightning cloud. They began to suspect that their sister might be lost somewhere within the cloud. Garth returned to Legion headquarters where his ruined arm was replaced with a cybernetic enhancement. After reviewing the matter more closely, he discovered that Ayla had actually been transformed into a being of pure energy. She wasn't merely lost in the electric cloud. She was the cloud. Mekt learned of this and pleaded with Imperiex to help him save his sister, but Imperiex refused. Mekt betrayed Imperiex and opted to help the Legion destroy the tachyon cannon. Brainiac 5 theorized that if they were to recreate the incident that first gave them their powers, then they might be able to reconstitute Ayla's body. The plan worked, and Ayla was reunited with her brothers.
Powers and Abilities
- Electrokinesis: Lightning Lad can generate and control fields of electrical energy. He can channel this energy through his hands and project it as a super-heated discharge with properties similar to that of lightning.
- Cybernetic Enhancement: After losing his right arm in a battle with Imperiex, it was replaced by a cybernetic prosthesis.
- Legion Flight Ring: Like all members of the Legion, Lightning Lad possesses a ring, which enables him to fly under his own willpower.
- Cybernetic Right Arm: Replaced right arm after extensive injuries. The Cybernetic 4000; capable of firing explosive charges, lasers and Garth's own electricity.
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Legion of Super-Heroes (TV Series) and is an adaptation of Garth Ranzz/Lightning Lad. The original character was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino and first appeared in Adventure Comics #247.
- Lightning Lad was voiced by Andy Milder on the animated series Legion of Super-Heroes.
- There is a hinted romance between him and Saturn Girl
- 40 Appearances of Garth Ranzz (Legion of Super-Heroes TV Series)
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- Character Gallery: Garth Ranzz (Legion of Super-Heroes TV Series)
Legion of Super-Heroes member