By Koppy McFad
January 9, 2009 - 02:33
The origin of Black Lightning is retold, or rather updated to reflect recent changes in the character including his new daughters and his niece.
The result is a bit different from the original tale which had Black Lightning gaining his powers from a high-tech belt, to clean up "Suicide Slum," a ghetto in Metropolis.
The creative team attempts to reconcile the different versions of Black Lightning, giving a tip of the hat to the original story while bringing in the new elements like the fact that Black Lightning's abilities were apparently in-born, allowing him to pass them on to his daughters.
The story, narrated by Black Lightning's soon-to-be ex-wife, deals entirely with his situation before he dons his costume. We see Jefferson Pierce, the future superhero, beating up thugs with his fists, we learn of his growing anger at the criminals who have taken over his old home and we see a gruesome crime that will finally push him over the edge but the actual debut of Black Lightning will have to wait till next issue.
This kind of storytelling may help flesh out a character but it can also bore a new reader-- especially the new readers who were expected to jump onto the Black Lightning bandwagon. A more explosive first issue was called for.
The art is detailed and professional but its human faces and figures could be more distinctive. The street kid that Jefferson Pierce tries to befriend is hard to recognise from all the other teens that he encounters later in the story.
The dialogue is surprisingly free of "gangsta" slang which some may find refreshing but which others may find unrealistic. It is also hard to believe that a city like Metropolis, which enjoys the protection of Superman, would have such a crime-ridden slum. Yes, that is part of the original Black Lightning series but it was unbelievable back then too.
Rating: 6 /10