Wednesday, January 11, 2012
4151. Black Lightning
Black Lightning is a super-hero with the ability to generate and control lightning. Originally he was a high school principal and Olympic-level athlete who became a vigilante to take down organized crime in Metropolis' Suicide Slum. Eventually he would become a member of Batman's team of Outsiders for many years, although he retired briefly to become secretary of education underneath president Lex Luthor. Returning to crime-fighting, he has also been a member of the Justice League. His two daughters operate as the super-heroes Thunder and Lightning. Black Lightning was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor von Eeden, first appearing in Black Lightning #1. (1977)
Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce) was one of the first major African American superheroes to appear in DC Comics. He debuted in Black Lightning #1 (April 1977), and was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden.
A gold medal-winning Olympic decathlete, Jefferson Pierce returned to his old neighborhood in the Southside (Suicide Slum) section of the city of Metropolis, with his wife Lynn Stewart and his daughter Anissa to become the principal of Garfield High School. Southside as it was once known was where his father renowned journalist Alvin Pierce had been murdered. Guilt over this event was a factor in his decision to leave the city of Metropolis. Suicide Slum was being torn apart by a local organized criminal gang called the 100, shady corporations, and crooked local politicians like Tobias Whale. Peter Gambi, a family friend and tailor, had taught a much younger Jefferson how to suppress his inborn metahuman abilities so that he would not accidentally hurt any of the people he cared about. Upon his return Gambi suggested to Jefferson that he should use his powers to help the neighborhood, and refers him to a plaque with the paraphrased Milo Sweetman quote "Justice, like lightning should ever appear to some men hope, to other men fear", the original text of which was "Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear. Of mortal justice if thou scorn the rod, believe and tremble, thou art judged of God." Appalled by the public murder of Earl Clifford, one of his more promising students, Pierce tried to intervene on behalf of the schoolchildren, but quickly learned that the 100 objected violently to any interference. Pierce adopts the costumed identity "Black Lightning". Years later, he would tell fellow African American superhero Mister Terrific that he chose the name Black Lightning because he "was the only one of us around" at the time, and he "wanted to make sure everyone knew who they were dealing with."
Originally, he was described as having no innate powers, using a belt that allowed him to generate a force field and project electrical bolts. This power was later revealed to exist as a result of the Metagene, according to Invasion! #3.
According to Black Lightning: Year One, Jefferson Pierce is in current continuity a metahuman who was born with the ability to generate and magnify external localized electromagnetic phenomena, by manipulating intense bio-electric fields generated by his body. This is a power that he internalized and kept hidden for much of the early part of his adult life. Exactly how much electrical energy Black Lightning can generate is unknown but he can easily stun or kill a man with his internal powers, and on one occasion he was able to restart Superman's heart after the Man of Steel had suffered from a near-fatal Kryptonite exposure. He can also generate a powerful electro-magnetic force field capable of stopping projectiles, however, this act requires considerable effort and concentration. He has demonstrated the ability to create an electromagnetic repulsion field which grants him limited flight capabilities. Pierce also maintains his Olympic-level physical conditioning, giving him above average strength, speed, and stamina. Under Batman's tutelage, he has become a highly skilled hand-to-hand martial artist and combatant.