Thursday, August 9, 2012

AlphabeThursday Superhero Style - L is for Lightning Lad (Live Wire)

LightningLad_PostInfiniteCrisis Barry Kitson

Meet Garth Ranzz - Known to DC Comics fans as Lightning Lad.  In his very early days, circa 1958, he was Lightning Boy, but since that is about as awkward as mom bringing out your baby pictures, we can just gloss right over that and start with his cooler days, when he was called Live Wire.   That worked out well for a while, but it is probably just as well that it didn't stick, because DC also has a Superman villain named Livewire.  (who happens to be female!)

It could have gotten awkward around DC Land when Garth tried making reservations and appointments. ("No, NO!!!  I'm the one with the space.  The good one!  TWO WORDS!  THE GUY!") 

Ahem.  Sorry.  Anyway...  as I was saying...  these days he is either Garth Ranzz or Lightning Lad.

There are several versions of his story, here is the one that is easiest to follow.

Garth's story takes place in the future.  He and his siblings are attacked by lightning beasts after a crash landing on the planet Korbal.  Asa result, they all develop the ability to generate electricity (mainly in the form of lightning bolts) and move at amazing speed.

Using this new found power, Garth and two friends help to save a really important rich guy from assassination.  The trio realize they have something special, give themselves cool names, (Live Wire, Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy) and form the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Garth's siblings are drawn back into the story later.  At one point, his twin sister Ayla (Spark) takes his place at the Legion while he goes to work with another group of heroes.

Unfortunately,every family has it's black sheep and in the Ranzz house it is their brother, Mekt.  He used his new powers to develo the villainous persona of Lightning Lord and terrorize the multiverse with thievery and murderous ways.  Live Wire is forced to face him in battle.  Garth prevails and brings his brother to justice, but he loses his arm in the fight, and for a time has a bionic replacement.

Lightning Lad has a good but tumultuous life.  One fine stroke of luck happens when Cosmic Boy has to take a trip back to the late 20th century.  Garth returns to the Legion of Super-Heroes to take his place.  Now, if you know anything about Superheroes, you probably know that while they have no problem battling evil forces, they are terrified of girls.   Upon his return to the Legion, LL is finally is able to confess his long held, deep, and adoring love for Saturn Girl.

Unfortunately, happily ever after has to be put on hold.  A crazed villain, Element Lad, has trapped several Legionnaires in another galaxy.  Our hero bravely sacrifices his life for them.

It is all quite dramatic, as he disappears in a flash of amazingly bright light.   Luckily, comic books are a lot like soap operas, and death is just a pesky detail.  He does return to enjoy more comic book heroics.

He has even made a couple of television appearances.  The photo below is the Lightning Lad you may see if you watch Justice League Unlimited or Superman the Animated Series cartoons.  I like the bolt scar on his eye, and when his eyes look like they do in the photo below, it means he is activating his powers.

Lightning Lad also made an appearance on the TV series Smallville.  In the episode, he visits with Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy.

His character is a complete Superman fanboy, and is a little deflated to meet the Clark Kent version.  His admiration is restored after he helps Superman to battle Braniac.  He even brings  a memento back to the future with him - uh, for his sister, of course.

Here is Garth's twin sister, Ayla, a.k.a. Spark, a.k.a. Lightning Lass - just because...


Thanks to Jenny Matlock who blogs at on my tangent... for hosting this fun weekly meme.  Stop by to see this week's other great "L" posts.

Have a great week,