Black Lightning in a Bottle | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Black Lightning in a Bottle

Gaming Editor Roshni Patel gives her first impressions of Netflix's Black Lightning, their latest import from The CW's Arrowverse

Following Marvel’s success with their Netflix hero Luke Cage, comes the latest comic book adaptation of a hero of colour, Black Lightning. Plucked from the DC universe and created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, Black Lightning is a refreshing change from the majority of the DC comics previously brought to life and integrated into the Arrowverse by The CW. From the beginning they pulled no punches for political correctness, boldly showing racial biases and the anger and fear they incited in the characters.

From the beginning they pulled no punches for political correctness, boldly showing racial biases and the anger and fear they incited in the characters
Taking the storyline from the source, the show follows Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams, Hart of Dixie), formerly known by Black Lightning, from his vigilante days against the city’s biggest gang, The 100. Retiring for the sake of his family, he swapped the tights for a suit and tie, saving young futures as the principal of Garfield High School, bringing the graduation rate into the 90s; which even fictional, is better than the current US average. But when his youngest daughter, Jennifer (China Anne McClain, Descendants 2), mistakenly gets caught up with The 100, sparks fly once again. Supported by his ex-wife, Lynn (Christine Adams, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD), who left because of his past reckless vigilantism, and his humble tailor, Peter Gambi (James Remar, Dexter), who is both his tailor and his Alfred, Pierce dons the suit once again to save his family and his community.

However, what makes Jefferson Pierce an interesting superhero, is he’s nothing like the others in the Arrowverse
However, what makes Jefferson Pierce an interesting superhero, is he’s nothing like the others in the Arrowverse. In contrast to these much younger heroes, Pierce is a middle aged, who has a family and responsibilities, that unlike Barry Allen and Oliver Queen, he must juggle with his extra curricular vigilante career. A career he’s no longer sure he wants, as he battles with giving it up for the sake of putting his family back together or keeping his family safe from harm as Black Lightning. Disparaged by the media as a dangerous vigilante, while other Arrowverse heroes are lauded as such, Black Lightning further distinguishes itself apart from the others, with the strifes of his city very different to those in Star City.

This show is a must watch, not only is it great to see such show which has so many African-American characters, but it's also such a refreshing change from the typical TV masked crusader. The first episode finishes brilliantly, allowing for later developments in the comics to be drawn in from the beginning, instead of painstakingly dropping hints until the midseason finale. The only flaw with the premiere was that it focussed so much on the Pierce family and Pierce’s strong independant daughters, that the villains just didn't get the screen time they needed to establish themselves. With Netflix releasing episodes every Tuesday, there will surely be time for all of the characters to develop further, to create a show that could easily rival Luke Cage and the rest of the Arrowverse shows.

Redbrick Gaming Editor, who also occasionally dabbles in the dark arts of other sections. Graduating July 2018 (@roshofalltrades)



Published

5th February 2018 at 9:00 am

Last Updated

5th February 2018 at 9:24 pm



Images from

The Guardian and The CW



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