Black Lighting Review

 

Black Lightning
Whatsup Blerdy Report family I am here with a review for Black Lighting
(I am attempting to keep it spoiler light while still marveling at the show so bear with me people.)
Season: 1
Episodes: 13
Runtime Per Episode: 42 minutes
For a long time I’ve been waiting and wanting an introduction of a black superhero live action since Wesley Snipes and Michael Jai White shook the world with their epic emergence. My desires have been answered with Black Lighting.

A little Background:

 

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Black Lighting is DC’s second black superhero, he made his first Appearance in Black Lighting #1 April 1977,  created by  Tony Isabella (Writer), and Trevor Von Eeden (Artist).

Black Lighting was a teacher in the Slums of Metropolis also known as the “Suicide Slums”. He’s originally accessed his power through a technologically advanced belt, this belt allows him to control and or manipulate electricity. Using this technology for a long period of time activated dormant “metagenes” allowing his to internalize the power and produce it naturally. However, his origin story has been Reconned multiple times, mainly allowing Black Lighting to be born with his abilities allowing him not just control or manipulation but electricity Generation, verse acquiring them through other means. His tireless work had allowed him to transcends solo status and become apart of legendary teams examples include Justice League of America, Outsiders, and father two great heroes Thunder, and Lighting.

 

AND HERE WE GO!

 

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Summary:

Imagine flashes of your father’s murder, crumbled newspapers, eyes riddle with terror his payment for seeking the truth. Imagine vengeance and this passed down a sense of righteousness forcing you to take a stand. Imagine having an elemental force coursing through your veins, and responding to your emotions, then the color of your skin branding you despite your abilities and achievements. This is the life of Olympic gold medalist Jefferson Pierce. After years of dawning his super suit,  fighting the good fight, and a wife agonizing over his injured body Jefferson decided it best to retire to raise his two daughters. He made the grand ascension from teacher to principal, helping to capture and protect the minds of the children of“Freeland” to allow them to flourish.  As a result, he is the embodiment of black excellent. Effortlessly Jefferson is respected by both sides of the tracks, however, his beloved “Freeland” has descended into chaos due to the disappearance of Black Lighting. Drugs and gangs are at an all-time high, and police response has worsened. The screams of his people would lead to the return of Black Lighting.

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“ with lighting and thunder as a witness black lighting was born  again ”-Jennifer Pierce

The Good:
The show is incredible, it gave you this taste of what it means to be black in America, the superpowers were just a bonus! I am all set for season two and the return of Black Lighting filters on Snapchat!

Crime: Living While Black

The show is beautiful, truly art mirroring reality I.e the treatment of African Americans in society.  Example Jefferson Pierce, in the first episode he is pulled over, despite his education status, his victory in the Olympics,  overall overwhelming success period, he must play a game. (These couple of scenes resonated with me, I myself have been stopped by police from the ripe old age of 12, my professor (Harvard Graduate) was pulled over on his way back from the gym… the list is endless). This game is one all African Americans know, the game of attempting to keep a low profile! Jefferson made sure from his car to his suits, anything that would sway the public from perceiving him as a threat. It’s shocking but cold truth in this society you must always be vigilant, calm just to survive a simple encounter with the law enforcement.

 

Illegal Experimentation & Conspiracy Storyline:

The Black Lighting storyline taps into a conspiracy theory, rage had consumed most of the United States and as a result, the government decided to enlist a “clandestine” organization titled the ASA. this organization invented a specialized vaccine that would make the population docile, specifically the  African American community of “Freeland” as a testing ground.  Of course, their vaccine would lead to the induction of the metahumans, and soon the abduction and experimentation of the “Freeland” population.  This storyline is rather beautiful considering the historical evidence of the Government’s strategic assaults on the African American community for centuries. Examples include but are not limited to Black Codes, Jim Crow, Wiretapping, Assassinations, False Imprisonment etc.

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Black with Super Powers:

This show beautifully illustrates the struggle of being black seen from the very first episode all the way through the entire season. Blacks walking this tightrope hanging above a thousand foot fall with deadly spikes coated with poison awaiting them at the bottom. The show then added on the magnification of superpowers to the weight that African Americans walk with every day ( this places a bomb in the center of spikes with a hairline trigger to boot) along with the habit of biting ones so much it would detach, done in hopes that one doesn’t fall to one’s death or trigger an explosion.

Super Powers, Marriage, and Children:
The show is taking you much deeper than the infamous dance of Clark Kent and Lois Lane and the identity issue. Black Lighting has provided almost like time jump;  years of investment, the struggle, the worry that comes with a lack of invincibility, the allure of the powers losing it’s otherworldly glow and revealing the cost of what it means to be a hero. The show next takes on having super-powered children. Spoiler yes the two daughters didn’t receive their gifts until later on in life however, both struggled with their new found abilities. One spellbound and sees the opportunity to do good, the other freaking out. This sector is the unpopular opinion, looking down and feeling ashamed about having special powers. I for one was annoyed until I took a closer look at the situation. These girls aren’t just girls, they are black girls which translates too they don’t have the luxury for many mistakes or to recklessly cascade through life.  They, unfortunately, have to carry a heavyweight at young ages, they must prepare and do battle with, women, men both black and white to be able to survive in this society. Then add powers to the equation yet another target on the back of girls whose backs are littered with blades and blood.

 

“Shock To The System?”:

 

Rumors have been flying around about the epic and the much-needed return of Virgil Hawkins (Static Shock) on the show Black Lighting, now while it’s just a rumor CW please understand the world is ready!

static shock
Green Lantern Connect:

Black Lighting/ Jefferson Pierce is married to Lynn Stewart, yes people this could be the possible induction of Green Lantern John Stewart.

False Imprisonment:

During the season Jefferson Pierce is set up, a drug dubbed “green light” is placed in his car and at his place of employment, as a result, he was arrested in his very office. This episode takes you down a horrifying road. Here you are stripped of your humanity, anything that really identifies you leaving only an alleged suspect.
Actors:

Cress

I am extremely in love with the cast, specifically the fearlessness of the show to display an array of African American people’s. Can’t wait to see you all for the next season. (Yes I am ready!)

Cress Williams As Jefferson Pierce:

He has taken this character and really placed it on a whole new level! I can feel the command of the character’s voice, see the pain and this duality of the warrior that desires peace but fights out of necessity. There is also the exposure oh his mortal status, moments of weakness that really makes the character so much more relatable. Then to top it all off  I can just jump back remembering watching Living Single and remember seeing “Scooter”, the added placement of Kyle Barker as the father to Tobias was just perfect.

Christine Adams as Lynn Pierce :

Lynn

She really took charge in the role, it had Claire Huxtable vibes, powerful, fearless, and beautiful. She also displayed excellent character development through the show realizing the conclusion and accepting her family for who and what they are.

Nafessa Williams As Anissa Pierce :

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I honestly am speechless, both her normal character then steps to become thunder was intense. She has all the attitude and individuality required of her. Even going toe to toe with Black Lighting.

China Anne McClain As Jennifer Pierce:

China

I’ve watched you since Daddy’s Little Girl’s, House of Payne, Ant Farm and so much more you’ve grown beautifully as well as your acting abilities. Your performance did make me reevaluate the possibilities of having powers and the cost that comes with! (it’s not all rainbows and sunshine, unfortunately)  but then the inner nerd called and decided to protest, I am ready for you to suit up and join the team, the last episode and last couples of scenes prove you are more than ready.

 


Damon Gupton as Inspector Henderson:

Damon

Great performance, your detective gave off the wavelengths of the profiler that took Criminal Minds by storm! I am really excited to see how you handle the Dark world that comes with your elevated status Deputy Chief!

 

James Remar as Gambi:

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You’ve done an amazing job, balancing the cold and dark aspects of your ASA Agent training, and the humanity that allowed you to raise a hero. I would even be so bold to say that you are the “Alfred” the world always wanted to see more of, in the heat of battle right alongside your hero.

Krondon as Tobias:

tobias

I hate you but I love how much I hate you. You’ve done an amazing job rebranded the face of a villain!  You’ve show class and elegance making villainy an art form.

Jill Scott as Lady Eve:

lady eve

You scared the hell out me, the casualness you displayed in your wickedness was unsettling but addictive. The pious at which you regulated the surrounding crime was beautiful.

The Bad:?
There were only 13 episodes.

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by Dayshawn Gaines

Twitter: @DayGaines

Artwork: @ Nu

 

 

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