Garth and his twin sister Ayla were born on the world of Winath. Along with his sister and older brother, Mekt, he was forced to land on the world of Korbal when their space craft lost power. The three attempted to get the native lightning beasts to recharge the craft's batteries. Instead the beasts discharged their powers into the three Ranzz siblings, who were each imbued with lightning powers. Mekt vanished shortly after their return to Winath, and Garth decided to go to Earth in an attempt to track him down.
Garth arrived on Earth aboard the same passenger ship that carried Rokk Krinn, Imra Ardeen, and R.J. Brande. Garth, Rokk, and Imra saved Mr. Brande from an assassination attempt as the all debarked the vessel. Brande then invited the three young heroes to his office the next day, where he was able to convince them to form the Legion of Super-Heroes. Garth thought that it would be a good way to keep searching for Mekt, and it kept him close to Imra, with whom he was now infatuated. Originally Garth's code name was Lightning Boy, but he quickly changed it to Lightning Lad.
Lightning Lad's career was marked by bad luck almost from the start. Two years after co-founding the Legion he died in action, when he allowed himself to be struck by a freeze ray fired by Zaryan the Conqueror that had been intended for Saturn Girl (Imra). He was revived some months later by the sacrifice of the life force of Proty I. Proty had prevented Saturn Girl from sacrificing her life for Lightning Lad's, and upon his revival the he and Saturn Girl began their long relationship. Shortly thereafter, Lightning Lad lost his right arm to the "Super Moby Dick of Space", only to have the arm regenerated some months later by one of Prince Evillo's minions. Garth then discovered that his elder brother Mekt was using his powers under the name Lightning Lord and was active in the founding of the Legion of Super-Villains.
After years of being a couple Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl were married, and retired from the Legion, as the Legion Constitution would not allow married members. Shortly after, during the events of the Earth War, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad came out of retirement to assist the Legion. After the crisis was over the Constitution was amended and allowed the couple to return to active duty. A short time after that Lightning Lad was elected Leader.
His term in office was marked by the return of some old villains, such as the Fatal Five, and the initial appearances of some new villains, such as the League of Super Assassins. During his term Superboy left the Legion never to return, only to return later. Ultra Boy was killed, but it was discovered that this was not true. R.J. Brande went bankrupt, but it was discovered that the President of Earth was stealing Mr. Brande's funds. Lightning Lad did not finish his term as leader. Suffering from emotional exhaustion he quit, and shortly after collapsed.
Shortly after he and Saturn Girl discovered that they were to become parents. After the Great Darkness Saga, Imra gave birth to their son Graym. A short while after that it was discovered that Darkseid, in revenge for his defeat, had taken Graym's twin out of Saturn Girl's womb, manipulated it, and sent it back in time as the monstrous Validus. Eventually Saturn Girl was able to recover their son, Garridan.
Shortly after the birth of their son, Lightning Lad resigned from active membership and became a stay at home dad.
Powers and abilities
Lightning Lad has the ability to discharge electricity from his body.
Lightning Lad was the 11th leader of the Legion, and resigned shortly before his term ended.
- April - Adventure Comics #247 (cover, 17 panels, 1st appearance)
- December - Adventure Comics #267 (cover, 20 panels)
- August - Action Comics v1 #267 (19 panels)
- January - Superboy v1 #86 (8 panels)
- March - Adventure Comics #282 (1 panel)
- May - Action Comics v1 #276 (5 panels)
- November - Adventure Comics #290 (cover, 8 panels - 2 as picture, 7 in flashback)
- November - Superman v1 #149 (? panels)
- December - Superboy v1 #93 (? panels)
- ? month - Superman v1 Annual #4 (1 panel, real name given)
- February - Action Comics v1 #285 (? panels)
- February - Adventure Comics #293 (cover, 25 panels)
- April - Superman v1 #152 (6 panels - 1 in flashback, 1 as statuette)
- April - Action Comics v1 #287 (10 panels - 4 as disguised chameleon man)
- June - Action Comics v1 #289 (1 - as statuette)
- July - Action Comics v1 #290 (? panels - as statuette)
- September - Adventure Comics #300 (cover, 22 panels - 1 as statue, origin)