Remake & Reboot: DC’s BLACK LIGHTNING

Some characters take off from the moment they debut in comics, but others toil around in the margins waiting for the right chance to gain a permanent foothold. Deadpool was originally a Spider-Man knock-off introduced in a low-selling X-men spin-off title. Wolverine was originally a half-animal Canadian secret agent meant to duke it out with the Hulk. DC has their own diamond in the rough with Black Lightning.

He’s had several opportunities in the past with short-lived ongoing series, but much like DC’s Aquaman the general public knows little about the character — and what they do know is, generally-speaking, a ill-contrived stereotype. But creators Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden laid the groundwork for a great character in his original late-70s self-titled series, and with New 52 nearing its first full year its time DC give Black Lightning a chance to strike once again.

The Concept:

Unlike some of the other DC heroes, Black Lightning would actually benefit from the full-scale reboot that DC’s “New 52” offers. Think of it as an “Ultimate” version of Black Lightning, using the ideas from his previous itterations and giving them new energy (pun intended) with a modern context. Just like in the original comics, Jefferson Piece (aka Black Lightning) would be a decorated Olympic athlete who comes back to live in his hometown  neighborhood in the southside of Metropolis with his wife and newborn daughter. When his attempts to improve his hometown as a teacher and active resident fail to gain any traction, he could don the identity of Black Lightning and put to use his secret powers to make a change. He could be inspired by the actions of Superman (as seen in the recent Action Comics), but saying he is “a Superman for the rest of us.” And Black Lightning has one of the most potent but underrated adversaries in the criminal outfit known as the 100 and its local leader, Tobias Whale. Bring it on.

Furthermore, I’d recommend that a Black Lightning series make full use of its surroundings: since it’s in Metropolis, using the staff of the Daily Bugle Planet as part of a supporting cast, and a bit of a sounding board for Pierce, would be great.

The Creators:

The Writer – Adam Beechen: After reading his early work on Robin and his creator-owned book Hench I was surprised he never seemed to get ingrained with DC or Marvel as a key player. He has a real ear for dialogue and has his dramatic storytelling down pat. He currently spends most of his time in the animation industry, but I’d love to see Beechen drawn back in to comics and given a chance to give Black Lightning a second look.

The Artist – Howard Porter: Artist Howard Porter was poised to be an A-List artist after his work with Grant Morrison on JLA, but after taking two sabbaticals from comics he hasn’t been able to pick up steam and get his feet back under him for a major project. He’s currently toiling away on the overlooked DC Universe Legends series unbeknownst to most people,  but his work there and as cover artist of Green Arrow show he’s still got it.

The Cover Artist  / Character Designer – Brian Stelfreeze: From my deathbed I’ll continue to say Brian Stelfreeze is one of the most under-appreciated cover artists in comics. In some alternate world he’s one of comic’s top creators, but here in our Earth he is still waiting to get his due.  He would be picture-perfect to draw Black Lightning covers with some real kinetic energy, and also redesign the costume. What Cully Hamner did in Black Lightning: Year One was close-to-perfect, and Stelfreeze could nudge it to perfect.


  1. I’d be into this, but what about the confusion with Static Shock? Their powers are similar, so it might be a good time to tie them together somehow.

  2. Daily Bugle?

  3. Beechen is writing the current Batman Beyond Unlimited series

  4. I don’t really have much to add other than you are totally correct that this needs doing.

  5. I used to think Black Lighting was an adult Static Shock.

  6. I would love to see this happen. But the community isn’t quiet ready. Was Mr. Terrific bad, absolutely. Could Static Shock have been better, without question. Is this the reason for the books getting shuttered. Probably not. Many black comic readers that I know subscribed to these books religiously even though our discussions wished for better more creative story telling with established villains (i.e. T’Challa v Fisk, Shuri v Doom). In these tough times you don’t trim the well established or well written characters; you cut the ones you don’t identify with. How many bat books are there,9 (without counting Justice League titles)? I would argue only 2 of which are really good. The mainstream isn’t ready to sustain a black ongoing superhero; and don’t argue for Cyborg. Even I don’t get his current affiliation with the JLA. I’m very interested to see how long Mile Morales survives. I hope for a good long time. Want a measured interest in the Future of Black Lighting. 7 comments and counting.