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Black Lightning is an upcoming American television series that will air on The CW, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil created the series, which stars Cress Williams as the titular character alongside China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, James Remar, Damon Gupton, and Marvin "Krondon" Jones III. The series sees the retired Black Lightning return to the hero life and its effects on his family life.

Development on the series began in September 2016 when Fox ordered a pilot production commitment for Black Lightning. In February 2017, Fox passed on the series, with it being picked up by The CW with a new script for the pilot. The CW officially ordered the series in May 2017. Black Lightning will premiere on January 16, 2018, for a 13-episode run.

 

Black Lightning CW   Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
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Black Lightning Comic Books

Black Lightning Black Lightning Comic Black Lightning Cartoon
Black Lightning CW Series

Black Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor Von Eeden, first appearing in Black Lightning #1 (April 1977) during the Bronze Age of Comic Books. He is a member of a fictional subspecies of humans born with superhuman abilities known as metahumans in the DC Universe. Born Jefferson Pierce, he grew up in the disreputable Southside section of Metropolis known as Suicide Slum. Returning to his hometown after an extended leave due to tragedy, Pierce becomes the principal at Garfield High School. Having supressed his abilities since adolescence, he adopts his new alias and persona to combat the criminals and corrupt leadership in the area while protecting his loved ones from harm. He is capable of electrical manipulation and generation. Black Lightning is one of the first major African American superheroes in all of comics and the first to star in their own series for the DC imprint.

Black Lightning Live-Action TV SeriesTony Isabella, an experienced writer having done work for the Luke Cage character at Marvel Comics, was signed on to develop DC's first starring black character. He pitched the idea for Black Lightning and it was developed though one single issue was released before the series was cancelled during the infamous DC Implosion. However, the character continued to make appearances in other titles over the years, including a Justice League of America storyline in which Pierce is offered but turns down a position with the group. He does later become one of the founding members of the Batman-helmed Outsiders superhero team.

Pierce has 2 daughters with his former wife who are also metahumans. His eldest daughter Anissa, known as Thunder, can increase the denseness of her physique rendering her almost indestructable and create shockwaves when stomping the ground. Pierce's younger child Jennifer, also a superhero known as Lightning, has powers almost identical to her father though she is still inexperienced and not in full control of them. A common misconception is that Pierce is the father of fellow superhero Static, who debuted much later and possesses similar abilities. Pierce addresses this coincidence in a Justice League narrative.

Along with his presence in comics, Black Lightning has made various appearances in DC-related animated television series, video games and comic strips. The character will be portrayed in live action for the first time by Cress Williams for the self-titled upcoming 2018 television series Black Lightning, a production of The CW network. In 2011, he was ranked 85th overall on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Books Heroes" list.

 

Justice League of America

Years ago, Green Arrow brought Black Lightning to the attention of the Justice League of America, who extended an offer of membership to the protector of Suicide Slum. He turned down the offer, preferring to work as a loner and focus on street-level crime, though he did offer to become a reservist. Years later, when all of the JLA reservists were called in to fight a newly revived Amazo, Black Lighting was one of the heroes called, confirming that the League had accepted his offer. Most recently, however, Black Lightning has joined the JLA, once again appearing with a modified costume. He appears to be primarily based in Washington, D.C. again. Black Lightning assists the JLA with intelligence gathered from the criminal community. Many super villains still believe he is 'in' with Lex Luthor and are willing to cooperate. Jefferson also helps the team in a battle against Amazo. He was the first member of the League to respond to the recent attacks made by the Amazons of Themyscira, and he also saved the President of the United States in this event.

Black Lightning was the focus of the one-shot Final Crisis: Submit, in which he helped the new Tattooed Man and his family escape at the cost of his own freedom. He is subsequently shown in issue 4 of Final Crisis under Darkseid's thrall.

 

Black Lightning (2017- TV Series)

Jefferson Pierce, who retired from his superhero persona Black Lightning 9 years ago after seeing the effects it had on his family, is forced to become a hero again when the rise of the local gang The One Hundred leads to increased crime and corruption in his community.

  • Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning: A retired superhero with the ability to harness and control electricity who becomes a principal at a charter high school. He returns to fighting crime thanks to his daughter and the threat of a star student being recruited by a local gang.
  • China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce: Jefferson's younger daughter who is "an independent, outspoken scholar-athlete with a wild streak of her own."
  • Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce: Jefferson's older daughter who is in medical school and teaches part-time at Jefferson's school.
  • Christine Adams as Lynn Pierce: Jefferson's ex-wife.
  • James Remar as Peter Gambi: Jefferson's oldest friend, who became a father figure and mentor to him, and works as his "tailor".
  • Damon Gupton as Henderson: A veteran detective inspector with the police, who becomes an unlikely ally to Jefferson, despite his role in the community.
  • Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as Tobias Whale: A former politician who rose through the ranks of local government through corruption but was brought down by Alvin Pierce, Jefferson's father. After killing Alvin, Tobias was exiled, only to become the leader of The 100 gang.
  • Kyanna Simone Simpson as Kiesha: Jennifer Pierce's best friend and the daughter of Henderson, who encourages Jennifer to challenge her perfect image.
  • Edwina Findley as Tori Whale: Tobias Whale's younger sister.
  • Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi: A bartender who becomes the love interest of Anissa.
  • Jill Scott as Lady Eve: The owner of a funeral parlor who connects Tobias Whale with a secret group of corrupt leaders.

 

"Black Lightning"
Season 1 Episodes (2018)

Despite airing on The CW and being created by Berlanti, Mark Pedowitz, president of The CW said in May 2017 that the series "at this time, is not part of the Arrowverse. It is a separate situation." Berlanti had previously stated when the series was in development at Fox that it would not crossover with his other DC Comics television properties on The CW nor would it exist in the Arrowverse. However, Akil later stated that they were not ruling out eventual crossovers. In August 2017, Pedowitz added, "If [the showrunners] wish to bring it in, that is their call. We had a long discussion with the studio, Mara, Salim and myself. We were fine with them making it separate from the Arrowverse, they have a different point of view. If they end up wanting to go that way, that will be their decision."

Episode #1: "The Resurrection"
January 16, 2018

After his older daughter Anissa is arrested for protesting, high school principal and former superhero Jefferson Pierce is again pulled over for a crime he did not commit due to racial tension is prevalent in his community. The last straw comes when his youngest daughter, Jennifer, gets in trouble at a club owned by a gang called the 100, and he is forced to use his powers to rescue her. Gambi, his mentor and friend, urges him to become Black Lightning again, but Jefferson refuses to break the promise he made to his ex-wife Lynn to give up heroics in hopes of reconciling with her. A 100 gangbanger, Will, and his friends abduct Jennifer and Anissa from school despite an agreement between Jefferson and the gang, and Lynn frees him from his promise. With Gambi's help, he saves the girls but is unable to find Will's boss, Lala. After being brought to the head of the 100, Tobias Whale, by his two underlings, Lala is instructed to kill Black Lightning. Anissa's trauma activates her own powers, causing her to break a sink in half.

#2 "Lawanda: The Book of Hope"
January 23, 2018

Jefferson assures Lynn that he is giving up his Black Lightning identity for good. However, he learns that not only are the 100 still running prostitutes at the Seahorse Motel, his daughters are being targeted as witnesses. Jefferson asks Gambi to help him find Lala by hacking the police's database. Anissa's girlfriend offers to get her a therapist. Will escapes police custody, but is captured and executed by Lala for his mess-up. When a former student of Jefferson's named Lawanda tries to free her daughter from the grip of the 100, he promises to help her. Lawanda is shot dead when she confronts Lala at the Seahorse Motel. Blaming himself for her death, Jefferson throws aside his concerns and prepares to go after the 100. Lynn visits Gambi and asks him to convince her husband otherwise, but he refuses. Using information from Will's recovered phone, Jefferson suits up and storms the hotel where Lala is hiding, beating him severely just before the police arrive to arrest him. While out shopping, Anissa subdues a robber with her powers. Using his connections in the police department after the Seahorse Motel was shut down, Tobias gets access to Lala's cell and strangles him with only one hand.

#3 "Lawanda: The Book of Burial"
January 30, 2018

Following Lawanda's death, Freeland's local reverend named Reverend Holt plans to orchestrate a peace march in light of the 100's crime waves much to the dismay of Jefferson Pierce and Inspector Henderson. As Anissa meets Grace Choi and still works out the limits to the abilities that she developed, Tobias Whale has an talk with Lady Eve and later instructs one of his minions to commit a massacre at the peace march as a way to rise to the ranks and make up for the late Lala's repeated failure. In order to protect the peace marchers even when members of his family will be in it, Black Lightning tests his new gear in a training sequence to keep the peace marchers from being killed. Though Black Lightning succeeds in stopping the assailant, Tobias Whale was nearby as Syonide shoots Reverend Holt. The bullet goes through Reverend Holt and hits Khalil. At the hospital, Jefferson sees the mixed news about the opinions of Black Lightning from the peace marchers and Inspector Henderson. At the tailor shop, Peter deletes evidence that Tobias was the one responsible for the reverend and Khalil being shot. Back at the hospital, Lynn talks to Anissa about her lack of being around and that she will always be there if she needs to talk about everything that's been going on. Jefferson and Jennifer tell them that Reverend Holt is doing well and that Khalil was shot in the spine meaning that he won't walk again. As Jefferson embraces his family, he continues to see the news about Black Lightning as other peace marchers praise his heroic actions.

#4 "Black Jesus" - February 6, 2018

One of Jefferson's students, Bernard, almost overdoses on a new strength-enhancing street drug, Green Light. Jefferson is forced to use his powers to knock him out. The school board wants Bernard expelled but lets him stay when Jefferson cedes final authority over student matters to the board. Gambi and Jefferson track Green Light to a mid-level dealer named Two Bits, an old friend of Jefferson's. When he dismisses Jefferson, Black Lightning gets him to reveal the location of a warehouse. Anissa and Grace are confronted outside a bar and Anissa uses her strength on the two thugs. Gambi erases the security footage, but keeps a photo of Anissa's footprint. Black Lightning saves Bernard from a drug den and Jefferson puts him in rehab. Jenifer quits track to focus on supporting Khalil. Lady Eve gets impatient with Tobias, who entered the criminal world after being forced out of city council for supposedly killing Black Lightning. Tobias has Joey Toledo murder the morgue doctor who told him Black Lighting was dead. Tobias' sister Toni arrives and proposes turning the people against Black Lightning. Tobias visits Khalil where he pays his medical bills and tells him it's Black Lightning's fault that he'll never walk again.

#5 "And Then the Devil Brought the Plague:
The Book of Green Light" - February 13, 2018

Gambi alters Black Lightning's suit for flight. Jefferson experiences severe headaches. Tobias pays Gambi a visit, looking for the identity of Black Lightning but Gambi says he doesn't know; and that Tobias is breaking their deal by coming to him. Tracking Green Light, Black Lightning finds out it is coming from Joey Toledo. Jennifer defends herself against two girls at a skating rink. One girl's family is furious. While Jefferson and Lynn take responsibility upon being confronted by the family, they are impressed. Toni says Tobias needs to finally deal with their abusive father, Eldridge. Now an old man, Tobias breaks his father's back and convinces Toni to let him die. Anissa discovers that, decades ago, her grandfather, reporter Alvin Pierce, had a story on the disappearance of nine enhanced teenagers. The newspaper wouldn't print the story and Alvin was murdered a week later. Anissa visits the paper's editor who says "they" are still watching. Nevertheless, he gives her some files and Anissa suits up to explore a storage unit after putting together a costume from different clothes she purchases. On a tip from Inspector Henderson, Black Lightning confronts Toledo, but his headaches incapacitate him. This allows Toledo to escape as he vows to Black Lightning that Tobias Whale will kill him.

#6 "Three Sevens: The Book of Thunder"
February 27, 2018

Peter picks up Black Lightning before the police can find him and informs Lynn what happened.. The next day, Jefferson deals with two different issues: Anissa getting in trouble with the police for getting involved with vandalism of a statue of someone which was offensive to the black people and Vice-Principal Fowdy showing cyber-bullying videos about Jennifer. Lynn compares the brain scans of those on Green Light and Black Lightning. While Black Lightning prepares for a confrontation with Tobias Whale upon tracking his doctor, Anissa uses her powers to destroy the statue after someone is killed over it. Afterwards, Anissa contacts her mother to let her know about her current condition. Due to an attack at the hospital, Black Lightning cancels his planned attack on Tobias Whale. Anissa shows up and fights off the two attackers; though Black Lightning battles her, thinking she attacked Lynn. After injuring her and realizing it is Anissa, Lynn and Jefferson call Peter. Peter visits Lady Eve having trained her in the past, and made a deal with her to keep the Pierce family off-limits to The 100; who want to stop Lynn's research. Meanwhile, Khalil takes up Tobias Whale on his offer as he and Syonide tell him that they have a way that he can walk again. Back at their home, Anissa regains consciousness and discovers that her father is Black Lightning.

#7 "Equinox: The Book of Fate" - March 6, 2018

Since the discovery of Anissa having developed metahuman powers, Lynn examines Anissa while Peter Gambi comes clean to Jefferson about not telling him that Tobias Whale is back in town. Investigating the break-in at the hospital, Inspector Henderson gets the description of the criminals responsible and thinks the 100 is behind this though the two thieves are killed. After visiting Lady Eve about Tobias Whale, a disguised Gambi enters Tobias's club and kills Toledo to make Tobias fall in line. Lynn asks Gambi to make a suit for Anissa. At a club that Tobias is attending, Black Lightning fights him and his henchmen which results in Tobias getting wounded and Tori accidentally getting killed by a stray bullet. During this time, Tobias Whale's henchmen use special electrical guns to kill Lady Eve and her minions. After a talk with Anissa, Black Lightning gets a call from Henderson believing he killed Lady Eve. In the final scene, Lala is in a hotel room as he is brought back to life with Lawanda's head tattooed on his chest.

#8 "Revelations" - March 13, 2018

Two henchmen are surprised to see Lala back from the dead; while Lawanda talks to him encouraging violence and seducing him. Peter Gambi meets with A.S.A. member Martin Proctor whom wants Black Lightning dead as a threat to the Freeland experiment. Examining Lady Eve's body, Jefferson and Anissa trace the weapon's radiation; finding it and the body of Lady Eve's killer. Meanwhile, Jennifer is startled at school, causing her to unlock her own electrical powers. After calling Henderson, Jefferson and Anissa hide nearby when they see someone coming close. While Jefferson sneaks up on the person, Anissa sees that it is about to explode and activates her powers to shield her father. Jefferson suspects The 100 intercepted his call to Henderson. Lynn finds that Greenlight was similar to a vaccine that was found in Alvin Pierce's locker from 30 years ago. Gambi admits that his real name is Peter Esposito and that he withheld some things to protect Jefferson and his family from the A.S.A. who made the vaccine and hunt metahumans. Jefferson warns Peter to stay away from his family. In the final scene, Jennifer confides in Anissa about her electrical powers.

#9 "Little Black Lies" - March 20, 2018

Anissa reveals her own powers and the fact their father is Black Lightning to Jennifer; and she feels lied to by her parents all her life. Three separate investigations of Inspector Henderson into the corrupt police officers, Peter into the electrical weapons, and Jefferson and Anissa into Green Light from Alvin's research all lead to the same lab where the drug is currently being manufactured. Peter gives Anissa her costume as Thunder and says he made a mistake in keeping secrets, but he was just trying to protect the ones he loves. With help from her mother, Jennifer is able to see why her parents lied but doesn't want to save the world, mourning her loss of her chance at a normal life. Black Lightning and Thunder attack the Green Light lab together and Inspector Henderson is able to make a few arrests before they blow it up. ASA agents attack with weapons to disable Black Lightning's powers, but Thunder saves him. At home, Jennifer is able to forgive her father who promises to be honest with her from now on.

#10 "Sins of the Father:
The Book of Redemption" - March 27, 2018

coming soon...

#11 "Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion"
April 3, 2018

coming soon...

#12 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

coming soon...

#13 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

coming soon...

 

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