Lightning Lass

+ Light Lass + Gossamer

Created by Edmond Hamilton and John Forte

NAME + ALIASES:
Ayla Ranzz of Winath

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Luc and Perla Ranzz (parents, deceased), Mekt (brother), Garth (Lightning Lad, sister), Imra Ardeen Ranzz (Saturn Girl, sister-in-law), Graym (nephew), Validus (nephew)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE & JOINED:
Adventure Comics #308 (May 1963)

Spark

NAME + ALIASES:
Ayla Ranzz of Winath, aka Live Wire II

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Kirth Ranzz (father), Dalya Ranzz (mother), Garth Ranzz (brother), Mekt Ranzz (brother), Vaz (father's twin), Lilya (mother's twin), Ryth (aunt)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Legion of Super Heroes v.4 #0 (October 1994)

JOINED + FIRST APPEARANCE AS SPARK: Legionnaires #20 (December 1994)

Light Lass II

NAME + ALIASES:
Ayla Ranzz of Winath

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Garth Ranzz (Lightning Lad, twin brother), Mekt Ranzz (brother)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Teen Titans/Legion Special (2004)

History

The origin of the Ranzz siblings. From Superboy #172 (1971). Art by George Tuska.

From Adventure #380 (1969). Art by Win Mortimer.

From Who's Who #6 (1991). Art by Steve Lightle.

Gossamer card from DC Cosmic Teams #97 (1993).
Art by Adam Hughes.

Pulse card (#16). From DC Master cards, 1994.
Art by Nelson.

While Ayla Ranzz and her brother Garth are twins, their personalities differ significantly. Ayla is more the optimist, empathetic, and at times extroverted. After all, it was she who, after her brother's death (Adventure #304) disguised herself as him and tried to take his place in the Legion so that he would be remembered. (#308) She briefly fooled the Legion by the use of their shared power, the ability to generate electrical energy. Ayla, Garth and their brother Mekt gained this power after crash landing on the planetoid Korbal. To re-power the spaceship, they tried to attract the native lightning beasts. But instead of recharging the ship, the beasts attacked and charged the Winathian siblings with their lightning. Miraculously, they all survived. (Superboy v.1 #147)

Her ruse as Lightning Lad was quickly discovered but she was admitted to the Legion as Lightning Lass. Soon the Legion found a way to revive Lightning Lad and the team had two lightning wielders. (#312) This was officially against Legion rules, which maintained no two members could possess the same powers. It became a moot point soon enough when a new member, Dream Girl, used her home planet's science to change Ayla's lightning powers into the ability to cancel gravity; she became Light Lass. (#317)

When the Legion met Timber Wolf for the first time (then calling himself "Lone Wolf"), she fell in love with him at first sight. She was—and would be—his champion, never doubting his innocence or his potential. (#327) When Timber Wolf developed a drug problem, she helped him kick it (Action #378); when he felt himself becoming alienated from society, Ayla kept him close. (Legion v.2 #284) But in the life of a Legionnaire, such faith and positivity are challenged at every turn. After the Legion's near-apocalyptic battle with Darkseid, Ayla decided to resign and return to the tranquility of Winath. When Timber Wolf decided not to join her, she was crushed, but stuck to her decision. (#294-295)

Her absence from Legion affairs lasted until her brother Mekt (now Lightning Lord) and his allies in the Legion of Super-Villains kidnapped Ayla as part of a vengeful scheme against the Legionnaires. (Legion v.3 #3) While imprisoned by the LSV, Ayla was subjected to a powerful lightning outburst from Mekt that reawakened her own lightning powers. This unexpected turn of events enabled Ayla to free other captive Legionnaires and turn the tide of the battle. (#4-5) Afterward, she rejoined the Legion as Lightning Lass once again. Once again she replaced her brother; Garth had retired with his wife Saturn Girl to raise their son, Graym. (#6) She continued to look to the future and did not immediately renew her relationship with Timber Wolf. Instead she focused on building new friendships, finding that she had a lot in common with her teammate, Shrinking Violet. (#22)

Since then, she and Timber Wolf have reconciled. (Action #860)

NOTES: Lightning Lass's real name was revealed in Adventure #354 (Mar. 1967). A text feature in that story identified their homeworld as Amarta, rather than Winath.

Jim Shooter on Light Lass: Not as plain as you paint her. Perhaps she has developed since the disguise incidennt (when she was surely on super-hormones!) She is fairly bright, and a samaritan, a good match for Timber Wolf when who needs a non-dominant, pleasant and patient girl. I think she is actually very feminine. She used to wear high heels! —Interlac (1976)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Light Lass: She's mother earth. The sweetest, most nurturing, most empathetic person you'll ever meet, the ultimate expression of the well-adjusted, naturalistic culture of Winath. She also deals beautifully with life's darkest moments, though her emotional Achilles' heel is facing up to the pathological behaviors of her renegade brothers Garth and Mekt. Also secretly harbors an eternally unrequited love for... Saturn Girl. —Interlac (2000)

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

In the history that unfolded after the first Crisis (no longer valid), Ayla continued to serve with the Legion…

Ayla and Timber Wolf never resumed a romantic relationship. Instead her friendship with Shrinking Violet became intimate. After the event called "Black Dawn," Ayla resigned and returned home again. There she joined the rest of her family and helped manage their plantation, which helped feed the starving galaxy. After a traumatic military excursion, Violet also joined Ayla on Winath. (Legion v.4 #2) Events soon prompted the re-forming of the Legion and both women rejoined. (#10-12)

A confrontation with Glorith resulted in the reversal of Ayla's body's natural aging. This briefly gave her youthful vitality. It was an asset during a period when the Legion was "on the run" from trumped-up charges of treason. She changed her codename during this time to Pulse. Her true age was restored in an explosion resulting from a battle with Glorith and Mordru.

Meanwhile on Earth, a "chronal clone" of Ayla Ranzz (also called Batch SW6) emerged from the Dominator's experimental laboratories. (#20-24) This Ayla still possessed the antigravity powers. She adopted the codename Gossamer and served with her teen compatriots on New Earth. (#41)

Not long after this, this timeline came to an end and both Ayla's met for the first and last time amidst the white wave of the "Zero Hour."

Legion 2: Earth-247

She always ruins everything!
From Legion #64 (1995). Art by Lee Moder.

Affections returned.
From Legionnaires #65 (1988).
Art by Jeff Moy.

The Ayla Ranzz of Universe-247 goes by the code name Spark. That universe was destroyed in the Infinite Crisis, but she remains with that team, wandering the multiverse.

Naturally, Ayla Ranzz has always been close with her twin brother Garth, but their relationship has also been strained. Ayla maintains an upbeat outlook on life, while Garth is often driven to obsession, hot-headedness and jealousy.

Ayla was the cool-headed one on the fateful day that she, Garth and their older brother Mekt crashed on the planetoid Korbal. To escape, she suggested they recharge their spaceship by luring the native lightning beasts to it. Instead, the beasts blasted the children and put them in a coma. They were rescued but Ayla didn't awake until months later. All three siblings found that they'd been imbued with electrical powers by the beasts. Also, Mekt had fled their homeworld Winath. Garth idolized his brother and went in search of him. (Legion v.4 #64) Ayla remained devoted to their parents, vowing never to cause them the pain Mekt had caused in leaving. At first, Ayla kept her abilities a secret from her parents and Garth's absence singled her out, so to speak. Twins are the norm on Winath, and without Garth, there was a stigma on her. These fears faded after Ayla used her powers to save Winath's presidents' from terrorists. She earned great celebrity and acclaim.

When the Legion of Super-Heroes was formed, Winath sent Ayla as their representative. Although Garth had been a founding member of the group, as Live Wire, Winath's government considered him a runaway minor. She joined the team as Spark and was accepting by the Legionnaires. (Legionnaires #20) Garth was forced by law to resign from the group. He left in a huff and joined a rival group called the Workforce. (Legion v.4 #64)

Garth eventually came to accept Ayla's status in the Legion. She helped him defeat Mekt, who had become the criminal Lightning Lord. This battle destroyed what idol-worship remained in Garth for his big brother. (Legionnaires #30)

Ayla's teammate, Chameleon, was immediately infatuated with her and secretly began giving her gifts. Spark believed that the gifts were coming from Invisible Kid. When she discovered the truth she was horrified—Chameleon was a Durlan, and Durlan's were widely reviled in the galaxy. (#81) In time she softened towards Chameleon though a true romance has yet to develop.

Spark was one of a group of Legionnaires who was shunted back to the 20th century by the Emerald Eye for a period of time. There her powers were altered during a mission into the Source, which caused her to develop antigravity powers instead. (Genesis #1, Legion #97) After returning to the 30th century, she began experiencing moments of weakness. The Legion's physician, Dr. Gym'll told her that her anti-gravity powers were causing her pain because her body was out of sync with her brother's. The Legion took her to Korbal to attempt to restore her powers. Ayla died but was brought back to life by Garth, apparently stronger than before. (Legion v.4 #101)

When Garth and other Legionnaires were lost in a spatial rift, the Legion disbanded and Ayla returned to Winath. She found that her evil brother Mekt was now in his parents' custody and doing his best to reform. (Legion Worlds #2) She remained on Winath until news came of the Legionnaires' return. Sadly, her close friend, Chameleon, had to deliver the news that Garth had sacrificed his life in their mission. She returned to Earth and rejoined the team. (The Legion #3)

Once the lost Legionnaires returned home Garth's sister Ayla was devastated by his death. When given the opportunity, she accompanied the Legion on a mission to the Second Galaxy and collected some crystals from the site of his death. (#4-5) When she returned home, she placed these crystals at the memorial for Element Lad on Trom. In doing so, Ayla was unwittingly returned her brother to life. Garth's life force had survived inside the crystals, and he was able to fashion a new Tromium body for himself using Jan's transmutation abilities. (#25) Garth was restored to his true self with the help of the Brainiac 5 of Earth-0. He used Speed Force energy to allow Garth to change his body back to normal. (Legion of Three Worlds #3)

After this adventure, the Legion of Earth-247 learned that their universe was destroyed. They undertook a mission to wander the multiverse in search of similarly orphaned individuals. (#5)

Legion 3: Earth-Prime

Ayla Ranzz is the twin sister of the Legionnaire Lightning Lad, and one of the Legion's most flirtatious members. She is known to have dated Ultra Boy, Sun Boy (#1) and Timber Wolf (#5) and has flirted with Karate Kid. (#39)

Ayla, Garth and their brother Mekt all gained special powers from an incident on the planet Korbal. Mekt had been recruited by the Cult of Validus to bring a "lightning god" to life in the flesh. The mission sent him to Korbal for power from its resident lightning creatures. Mekt was unaware that his younger siblings had stowed away on his cruiser, and they crashed. The lightning creatures turned on the Ranzzes and they were severely burnt. Mekt carried the twins back to the ship and recharged it with his new powers to escape. Upon their return, Mekt disappeared. (Supergirl & the Legion #26, 32)

Apparently, Ayla was bestowed with antigravity powers by the incident. Garth got electrical powers like Mekt. Both of them became core members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Ayla took the codename Light Lass.

According to Brainiac 5, the potential of her powers is vast; she harnesses one of the fundamental properties of the universe. Naturally, he has put those powers to good use on more than one occasion. He recruited her help in a secret plan to revive the deceased Dream Girl. Along with the powers of Element Lad and the villain Lemnos, Light Lass participated in a procedure which did indeed revive Dream Girl (but not in physical form). (#20) When Earth's solar system was jeopardized by the presence of a "guest planet," Brainy used Star Boy and Light Lass's gravity powers to neutralize its affects. (#45)

Her charm might have saved the Legionnaires lives in a battle on Velmar V. The tyrant Ikilles captured the Legionnaires and actually killed his lover, Cazhmir, in favor of wooing Light Lass. (#44)

Other Versions

Ayla Ranzz was also character on TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon, but she was a young girl—not Garth's twin—and did not join the Legion.

+ Powers

Lightning Lass has the ability to generate and manipulate electrical energy. In the past, as Light Lass, she lost the lightning powers and could make things weightless.

Spark has the ability to generate and channel electrical energy. While she was in the 20th Century, her powers she was caught in the receding "Godwave" and her powers changed; she was able to make objects weightless. To regain her lightning powers, she attempted to duplicate her origins on Korbal. Her lightning powers were restored, at an even greater level than her brother's. It is uncertain whether she still possesses the ability to make things weightless.

Light Lass of Earth-Prime harnesses a considerable amount of control over the universal force of gravity. She is only beginning to explore the extent to which she can use this ability. She is not known to ever have possessed electrical powers.

Appearances + References

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