Who Are Thunder and Lightning?

Who's This? Super-powered twin brothers on page 26 of Who's Who vol.XXIII.
The facts: Not to be confused with Black Lightning's daughters who used the same names, these would-be Titans had appeared in only two stories when their Who's Who entry came out, and they're the ones told under History, in New Teen Titans #32 and #36 (both 1983). They would soon appear again in Teen Titans Spotlight #16-17 (1987), sharing that second issue with Magenta, then a year later in New Teen Titans #41. They've appeared occasionally in Titans comics, in the mid and late 90s, for example.
How you could have heard of them: During Infinite Crisis, the brothers were subdued by the League of Assassins (in Villains United), then by Bane in Salvation Run, after which they are seemingly killed. New52 versions have appeared as members of the Ravagers, not that you're expected to have read that. They have also been featured on the Teen Titans animated series.
Example story: Teen Titans Spotlight #16 (1988) by Tony Isabella, Chuck Patton and Al Vey
What better place to start than a Spotlight book where we might see what potential these guys, normally placed in a strictly supporting role, really have? At this point, they're working at STAR Labs as super-powered, fully costumed, security guards. But as we'll see, darn near everyone working at STAR Labs has super abilities of some kind (haven't you been watching the Flash TV show?). Of course, because these guys are nominal Titans, they need something to feel angst about. It's that they don't control their powers very well.
In the immortal words of Chef Gordon Ramsey: "You could have killed someone!" Lightning realizes this without a Scotsman shouting at him, of course.
Here we introduce the psychic bond the former Siamese twins share. They speak inside each others' heads. It's a big day for them at STAR because after dealing with runaway machinery, they're immediately called to another lab where the Atomic Skull is trashing the place.
So many different blast colors, the colorist kind of loses track of them for a bit. There's yellow with red for the Skull, orange-yellow for Lightning, blue for Thunder, and green (absurdly) for former Kid-Flash love interest Frances Kane AKA Magenta's magnetic powers. She's there as Dr. Alysua Damalis' assistant and patient. Who knew STAR did psychology too? In fact, Damalis is trying to integrate former STAR Labs employee Albert Michaels and the Atomic Skull into a single persona with drugs and hypnosis.
Told you everyone had powers over there. Thunder and Lightning are all like, "Zuh?!" so Frances takes them to the cafeteria for a little debriefing. "Titans together!" as they say.
My favorite bit in the comic is Thunder's intensity after Frances says she considers herself a freak and wants nothing to do with being a superhero. That's why Dr. Damalis is helping her repress them.
So young and earnest there. Our young heroes today could learn a thing or two from Thunder. Damalis picks the story up where Frances leaves off, and we learn that she's a specialist in "Superman psychology" and that she considers every superhero and supervillain out there to be struggling with mental health issues, from Batman to Booster Gold, Guy Gardner to Sonar... and perhaps Thunder and Lightning themselves?
After almost shooting down a helicopter that very morning, Lightning is interested in therapy, but his brain-buddy Thunder refuses. But I guess the psychic link is going to make him get therapy whether he likes it or not. Things get really strange on the psychologist's couch...
...and Thunder busts in to stop whatever Damalis is doing. The psychic bond wasn't in their file, but now that she knows about it, she brands the brothers a threat to her plans: Turning superhumans into sleeper agents! You can imagine where this goes from here. She triggers Magenta, and there's a big fight etc., but it all happens in the next issue. Needless to say, it's really Magenta's story so Thunder and Lightning don't do so well. Let's just leave it at that.

With their element-based powers and the STAR Labs connection, I wonder if these guys might eventually be tapped for inclusion on the Flash series. Those seems key components...

Who else? Looking ahead, there's lots to do in the next volume of Who's Who, so we'll skip over Thunderbolt (had several series since the Charlton days) and the Time Commander (I discussed his appearances in Brave and the Bold on this very blog already). Volume 24, here I come!



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