Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Hero Case Files #96: Living Lightning

A young man, curious about his father, develops superpowers that allow him to harness a primal energy source and even convert his body into said source…that certainly sounds intriguing.

No, I am not recycling last week’s column on The Ray.  This week we have the Marvel version, more or less, named Living Lightning.

As it is, Living Lightning’s bio is notably shorter and less colorful than The Ray.  He’s not descended from a Golden Age hero, didn’t necessarily inherit his powers from them, but all the same is that sort of background character that seems to appear all over the place as needed.

Young Miguel Santos grew up in East Los Angeles, and he was wondering about his father Carlos.  Turns out Carlos was associated with some extremist group called the Legion of the Living Lightning.  Miguel was looking to clear his father’s name.  It doesn’t seem to have worked out too well since the Legion got the bright idea to attack the Hulk.

Attacking the Hulk is never a bright idea.

Attacking the Hulk gained for the Legion what attacking the Hulk gains for anybody.

Miguel then got zapped by a machine the Legion was using, and as such he gained some superpowers.  He couldn’t just control electricity in the form of lightning strikes.  No, he could physically transform himself into a living lightning bolt.  You know, hence the name.

The electrical eyebrows are a nice touch.

After that, Miguel joined the West Coast Avengers, was involved in various missions and storylines that came with being on the West Coast Avengers and then…well, he basically became a background character.  You know the type.  That’s the character that shows up for large meetings, maybe gets one or two lines if he’s lucky, but mostly just stands around in the background.  Maybe he’s part of a prominent guest star appearance, but mostly he’s just there.  That’s more or less what happened to Living Lightning.  After being a member of an Avengers team, he popped up here and there and eventually landed himself in the 50 State Initiative, where he became a member of the Texas superhero team the Rangers.

Well, actually, he had one more prominent appearance.  See, while most fans remember the two main Avengers teams, there was actually a third.  That would be the Great Lakes Avengers.  Those guys were usually played for laughs.  Well, they tried to change their names once to just the initials “GLA”.  And then Living Lightning tried to join because he thought it stood for “Gay/Lesbian Alliance”.

So, you know, he’s also gay.

Less accepting fans tried to point out he used to date women.  Like, you know, gay men never do.  Ever.  Not once.  Just ask the former governor of the state I grew up in Jim McGreevey.

But, after that, he went right back to standing in the background.

Here he is, standing in the background.
Here he is, standing in the background.

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