A member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. A native of the planet Amarta (also referred to as the planet Winath), Lightning Lad possesses, like his brother Lightning Lord, the "power of super-electricity," the ability to discharge controlled bolts of "super-lightning" from his body. Lightning Lad's real name is Garth Ranzz. The adult Lightning Lad is called Lightning Man.
According to Superman No. 147/3, Lightning Lad and his brother acquired their awesome powers when, as youngsters exploring a wooded area on the planet Korbal, they were attacked by a fearsome "lightning monster" which had "the frightful ability to transfer some of its lightning power to its victims ... like an infectious disease!" Lightning Lad vowed to devote his newly acquired powers to helping others, joined the Legion of Super-Heroes, while Lightning Lord decided to use his powers for crime, and ultimately joined the Legion of Super-Villains. Later accounts of this story include Garth's twin sister, Ayala, who becomes Lightning Lass.
In August 1961, Lightning Man and two other adult legionnaires, Cosmic Man and Saturn Woman , join forces with Superman in his battle with Lex Luthor and the Legion of Super-Villains (S No. 147/3: "The Legion of Super-Villains!").
In April 1962, Lightning Lad is among the six Legionnaires who play an elaborate hoax on Superman and Supergirl as a prelude to celebrating the anniversary of Supergirl's arrival on Earth (S N 152/1: "The Robot Master!").
In August 1962, Lightning Man and Cosmic Man pose as Samson and Hercules, "two of the mightiest men of all time," as part of an elaborate ruse, devised by Superman, for uncovering the hiding place of Duke Marpleâ€™s stolen loot and bringing the "notorious gang-leader" to justice (S No. 155/2: "The Downfall of Superman!").
In October 1962, when Superman is believed to be dying of an incurable malady, Lightning Lad is among the Legionnaires who are summoned to the twentieth century by Supergirl to help carry out gigantic super-tasks that Superman hopes to fulfill as his final legacy to humanity, including the destruction of a "vast cloud of fungus in distant space, that will some day reach Earth and blight all plant life it and the melting of the Antarctic ice, "to make Antarctica a fit place for millions to live in the future," thus ensuring "a home for Earth's expanding population ... !" (S No. 156: "The Last Days of Superman!" pts. I-III-"Superman's Death Sentence!"; "The Super-Comrades of All Time!"; "Superman's Last Day of Life!") (TGSB).
Lightning Lad's career is among the most tragic of any of the Legionnaires. He dies on a mission to combat the rays of Zaryan the Conqueror, is brought back to life by the sacrifice of Proty, loses an arm while battling "The Super Moby Dick of Space", and is then fitted with a robotic arm. Finally, his real flesh and blood arm is restored by a physician who betrays Prince Evillo and "The Devil's Dozen".
When Superman visits the 30th century to see the Adult Legion of Super-Heroes, he discovers that happiness has finally come to Lightning Lad - as the adult Lightning Man has wed his long-time sweetheart, Saturn Girl (now Saturn Woman, Imra Ardeen).