|Cress Williams as Black Lightning|
|Black Lightning, DC Comics version|
Black Lightning, the new series on The CW channel, is based on a comic book series, but intrigued me. I knew only a little bit about its origins: writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor von Eeden issued the first Black Lightning comic book in 1977, and as it turns out, he was the first black superhero to have his own DC Comics book. A little more reading up on the forthcoming series let me know that the metahuman hero was middle-aged, as opposed to a youngster, which I found appealing, and it did not hurt that Cress Williams, an actor I remembered and enjoyed from many shows in the 1990s and early 2000s, including Living Single, Beverly Hills 90210 and Prison Break, and the film Doom Generation, was going to star in it. The basic storyline I could have predicted with my eyes closed; after a stint cleaning up his town, Black Lightning gave up his crime-fighting for a career as a principal and educator. More compelling was the fact that his superheroic efforts had destroyed his marriage and divided his family, leading him to retire in part to heal the frayed family ties. In addition, the show's creator, Salim Akhil, has a strong track record as a writer and producer. Husband of the prolific writer, showrunner and producer Mara Brock Akil, writer for Moesha and Sparkle, and creator of the popular show Girlfriends (2000-2008), the Akils co-developed the successful, provocative TV shows The Game (2006-2015) and Being Mary Jane (2013-). The show's alluring ads, I'll admit, did the rest of the work.
|Jill Scott and Marvin "Krondon"|
Jones III in a scene from Black Lightning
| Marvin "Krondon" Jones III in a|
scene from Black Lightning
|Cress Williams, in a scene from Black Lightning|
|Black Lightning stars Cress Williams, Christine Adams,|
Nafessa Williams, and China Ann McClain
|Nafessa Williams, in a scene|
from Black Lightning
What I am waiting to find out is when Jefferson and Anissa will recognize not only that they both possess superhuman powers, but that Black Lightning has a potential partner, if he is willing to accept Anissa--Thunder's--participation in crime fighting. When will Jennifer's powers manifest themselves? Will Jefferson and Lynn get back together? Will the writers allow Anissa's relationship with her Asian American girlfriend, Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy), last the entire season? What is behind Gambi's seeming duplicity in deleting a video feed of Anissa's demonstration of her power, and, in a confusing move, his deletion of Whale's image on a camera feed after the shooting of Reverend Holt? Will the cops work with Black Lightning or continue to see him as a vigilante? I also want to know how Whale's scheme to take out Black Lightning will resolve itself. What other smart, unexpected elements in the series plot and characterization will the writers introduce? Will the show end on a cliffhanger? But let me not get ahead of myself, because there are nine more episodes to go in the thirteen-episode first series, meaning there will be more than enough time to learn how things are going to turn out.
|Skye Marshall and Cress Williams,|
in a scene from Black Lightning