When I was growing up, I never considered myself a superhero person. I didn’t watch the superhero cartoons that everyone else seemed to be watching.
Once I entered this world of comic books and superheroes, I realized that a Saturday morning cartoon that I loved to watch with my older brother was actually a DC property: Static Shock. What I remember of the show is that it was fun and intelligently created. The specifics are lost to a sea of years between me and my cartoon days, but I remember it fondly.
Fast-forward to today, and a lot of comic books later, a different superhero is premiering on the same channel (albeit under a new name) into a landscape filled with superheroes: Black Lightning. (I don’t think it is odd to draw a connection to these two characters as their powers are almost identical, and I think at least at one point or another everyone has wondered whether the characters were the same just at different points in their lives).
In preparation for the new CW superhero show I read Black Lightning: Year One, and if the show is anything like this comic, I will love it.
Black Lightning: Year One is one of the most realistic comics that I have read which involves immortality, magic, and superheroes. It shows the struggling slums of a major city from the ground, where it is hard to make any real difference, but Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) is home to fix it. Metropolis’s south side also referred to as the Suicide Slums, is plagued by a gang known as the One Hundred.
Using his powers of electricity, and his almost superhuman ability to convince people to help themselves, Black Lightning attempts to save Southside (with a little help from Superman) from the gang and its mystical leader. It’s really a good read, that surprised me at times with its choices.
If the CW show is like this comic it will keep me watching for the season, but I’m afraid that that won’t happen. Mostly because the show is airing on CW.
I’ve watched a good amount of those shows, but I could not hold on and come back every week. Not only because the overwhelming amount of shows we have at this point, but because of their formula for creating these shows, which may not work for Black Lightning.
Generally, the CW Superhero shows have four main attributes:
- A team around the hero
- A love interest (will they/won’t they thing)
- And a villain of the week with an overarching bad guy
- General Campiness
While Black Lightning could fit and do well with just the first three (based on the trailers and Black Lightning: Year One) it's number four that I am afraid of. Black Lightning will succeed if it is taken seriously because, as I said at the top, Black Lightning: Year One is a realistic take on a superhero in an impoverished city and it should continue that real feeling onto the screen.
I’ll be watching the premiere, will you? Let me know in the comments below!