Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Who's Who: Lightning Lad

Lightning Lad
by Russell & Siskoid
Real Name: Garth Ranzz
Super Power(s): Projects lightning bolts
Planet of Origin: Winath
Legion Seniority: Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy were the three founders of the Legion. 
Traditionally Lightning Lad is considered the Third Legionnaire, as both Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl served as Legion Leader before he did, so are counted first. 

Legion Log 
Lightning Lad made his debut in Adventure Comics #247 and was an active member until he resigned to marry Saturn Girl, which occurred in All-New Collectors' Edition C-55, chronologically falling in-between Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes #236 and #237. At the time of their wedding, the Legion Constitution forbid any members from marrying. He and Saturn Girl were re-admitted in Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes #245 after the events of The Earthwar Saga, and the Legion revised their Constitution. He and his wife took another leave of absence in order to have and raise their son Graym, born in Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #3 (1984). They resigned again in Legion of Super-Heroes (vol 3) #12 to spend more time with their son. After the events of "The Universo Project," Saturn Girl requested re-admittance, but Lightning Lad remained a Legion Reservist and "house-husband" and father to his son (then, later, both sons).

Lightning Lad was elected Legion Leader in Year Eleven. 
Lightning Lad has a reputation for being the "unluckiest" Legionnaire. He was the first to be "killed" (seriously injured) in action. Later, he was again seriously injured when he attacked "the Moby Dick of Space," losing his right arm in the attack. He then used a cybernetic arm for approximately one year. When he was kidnapped by Evillo and operated on by the Devil's Dozen, instead of being harmed, he had his right arm re-grown; he has been fine ever since.  

Lightning Lad's tenure as Leader was one of the most dramatic, and the stress caused him to have a mild mental breakdown, resigning near the end of his term in favor of his Deputy Leader, Element Lad. Since that time Lightning Lad seems more at ease with himself, content to be who and what he is: a devoted husband and father and a loved and loving friend. He easily slid into the role of "house husband" when his wife, Saturn Girl, requested a return to full membership. Lighting Lad is friendly with all the other members but is especially close to his wife, Saturn Girl, his best friend, Cosmic Boy, his sister, Light(ning) Lass, and Superboy and Sun Boy.

It was eventually explained that Lightning Lad was on his way to Earth to begin a search for his missing brother, Lightning Lord, when he met up with Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl and helped save the life of R.J. Brande. He eventually tracked down his brother, who had joined the Legion of Super-Villains. 

The Ranzz parents died in a space cruiser accident eight years after the Legion was founded. Every year on the anniversary of their death, Lightning Lad and Light(ning) Lass meet in the middle of space where the accident occurred and hold a memorial for them. 

Lighting Lad and Saturn Girl are the parents of twin boys, Graym and Validus. Initially, Validus was stolen by Darkseid and sent back into the past to fight the Legion as a member of the Fatal Five. Eventually, this was discovered, and Validus was returned to normal and to his parents.

During the Five Year Gap, Lightning Lad resigned from the Legion, scarred after surviving the plague carried by Validus. They moved to Winath, where he and his wife Saturn Girl ran a prosperous plantation and helped feed a starving galaxy. They would help the Legion re-form in 2996, but would not join it, Imra soon after giving birth to twin girls, Dacey and Doritt Ranzz.

It is eventually revealed that Lightning Lad was never resurrected when he had fought against Zaryan, but rather that the consciousness of Proty was transferred to Garth's body. Proty was the one who woke up that day, married Saturn Girl, and had children with her. 

Lightning Lad was also one of the members of the SW6 Legionnaires, and appeared as Live Wire in Legionnaires when it was spun-off into its own series. This Garth was far more brash and reckless, possibly because Proty was not part of his make-up.

After the Reboot, Garth comes to Earth looking for his brother, Mekt. He ends up saving R.J. Brande with two other youngsters, then found the Legion of Super-Heroes as Live Wire. He soon quits, however, experiencing a rough patch with girlfriend Saturn Girl, making no headway on his secret family mission, and because Winath's government wants him replaced on the team by his more stable twin sister Ayla, dubbed Spark. He joins a rival group called Work Force for a while and is on and off with the Legion during this time. In an echo of past continuity, Live Wire loses an arm fighting his brother and has it replaced by a mechanical prosthesis. He then rejoins the Legion, and with half the team lost in the past, is elected Leader.

Live Wire was part of the Legion Lost in a far away galaxy, where he sacrificed his life stopping an insane Element Lad and getting everyone home. He is resurrected in crystalline form, a body that looks like the reviled Element Lad's. During Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, Brainiac 5 helps him mutate the body into a likeness of his former appearance.

After the Threeboot, Lightning Lad is once again a founding member of the Legion, and instrumental in making the team an official arm of the United Planets after he becomes Legion Leader.

After Infinite Crisis, Lightning Lad's original history has more or less been re-established.

Lightning Lad appeared in a cameo in the Superman Animated Series; the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, voiced by Andy Milder; and Smallville, played by Calum Worthy.

Important Lightning Lad Stories: 

Adventure Comics  #247
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
The debut of Lightning Lad AND the LSH!
Adventure Comics #304
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
Lightning Lad sacrifices himself for Saturn Girl

Adventure Comics #312
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol.2)
Lighting Lad is revived when Proty sacrifices itself to save Saturn Girl

Adventure Comics #332
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 4)
Lighting Lad loses his right hand to "the Moby Dick of Space"

Adventure Comics #351
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
Lighting Lad has his right hand re-grown

Superboy #172
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Lighting Lad finally confronts Lightning Lord

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #197
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)

Lightning Lad gets his Dave Cockrum designed costume

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #207
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11)
Lighting Lad's parents are killed

All-New Collectors' Edition C-55
Lighting Lad marries Saturn Girl and both leave the Legion

Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes #245
Lightning Lad is an important part in the ultimate defeat of Mordru; 
he and his wife are re-admitted into the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (vol. 1)  #3 (1984)
Lightning Lad's sons are born
Legionnaires Three mini-series
Spotlight on the love Lightning Lad shares with the founders

Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 3) #45
 Special spotlight issue on Lightning Lad

Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) Annual #3
Garth is revealed to be animated by the soul of Proty.

Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #0
 The Reboot Lightning Lad, now called Live Wire, makes his first appearance.

Legionnaires #30
Live Wire loses his arm in battle against Lightning Lord

Legion Lost #12
Live Wire sacrifices his life to get his friends home.

The Legion #32-33
Garth is resurrected in crystalline form.

 Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 5) #36
The Threeboot Lightning Lad is elected Legion Leader after Brainiac 5-related irregularities crop up.

The Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon (2007)

Lightning Lad voiced by Andy Milder

 Smallville "Legion" (2009)
Calum Worthy as "Garth" 

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