Black Lightning TV Review: A Socially Relevant Adventure

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
January 17th, 2018

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Review of: Black Lightning

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On January 17, 2018
Last modified:January 18, 2018

Summary:

Black Lightning is a sweet treat in the CW lineup, taking charge of changing up stereotypes seen in the medium and should start a trend for more diversity

Review of: Black Lightning

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On January 17, 2018
Last modified:January 18, 2018

Summary:

Black Lightning is a sweet treat in the CW lineup, taking charge of changing up stereotypes seen in the medium and should start a trend for more diversity

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Black Lightning is set to tackle racial stereotypes while enticing a new audience to the rugged DC-TV lineup. A man who has immense power but face real-life problems in society. But does it work? Our Jordan Samuel goes into the sparky pilot.

Black Lightning TV Review: A Socially Relevant Adventure

CW

CW has created some of the best DC Comic based series in years with ‘The Flash’ and ‘Arrow’ providing solid adventures, becoming major parts of the network's lineup. 2018’s adaptation Black Lightning got a positive buzz on social media, being the first comic book show with an African American cast. It’s a welcome change and should encourage more diversity in the genre, at heart the character shares similarities with previous DC shows. Black Lighting is a superhero with powers to create electricity and fight evil while tackling socially relevant issues of being black in America. While addressing tropes seen in its siblings Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, the fresh energy push into new territory.

The result is surprising, relevant and original despite the budget appearance, it doesn't follow a tedious origin story. Instead Black Lightning begins with our hero giving up being in the limelight, to look after his daughter and his estranged wife. It's an excellent approach to the overdone genre, with a more significant focus on the man outside his tight spandex. It follows Jefferson Pierce's everyday life, and struggle against real issues in life, allowing his battle against crime to become so endearing. Cress Williams is electrifying in his role, breathing life into a very obscure superhero, with each scene bathed in charisma. Black Lightning showrunners Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, rely heavily on addressing racial problems seen in today society and changes in the cartoony nature of other DCTV shows.

The changes allow for a specific point of view for the series, becoming a more original take on the superhero genre. It gives Black Lightning a purpose to be on the air, instead of just existing like the Arrowverse TV shows. Marketing for the project felt overproduced, but the final results have so much weight and solid writing. Jefferson Pierce has to worry about his daughters, Anissa (Nafessa Willams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain, who both want to join his ranks of crime fighting. Balancing his work as headteacher in a High School, trying to oversee students and unite the community. Black Lightning also has to face against his nemesis, Tobias Whale, who embodies crime and cancer spreading across the city.

Jefferson Pierce has an enormous burden, but like all superheroes, he's got teams to support him in his endeavors. James Remar's Peter Gambi, an excellent tailor who creates hi-tech super suits which contain illuminative lights, embracing the characters famous electric current. Peter Gambi has a great connection with Black Lightning, which sometimes gets in the way of his chain of thought, I love these elements as they add character to an already complicated situation. Jefferson's wife Lynn doesn't share this enthusiasm, resulting in relationship problems due to his commitment to the streets, but despite this, he pushes on and adds another layer of dynamics.

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I do have issues with this romantic subplot, as it might become the series downfall in the end. Turning audiences against her morals, pushing into a villainous role, which would slap the whole series in the face. That concern is only a vague one, but the refreshing change of pace and tone, allowing

Black Lightning is one of the best pilots in years, but can it keep up the pace? What are your thoughts on the episode? Let us know in the comment section below.

Jordan Samuel is the Content Editor of ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanESamuel

Black Lightning

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Black Lightning is a sweet treat in the CW lineup, taking charge of changing up stereotypes seen in the medium and should start a trend for more diversity

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