Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Black Lightning - The Resurrection

A D-List 70s super-hero seems an odd choice for The CW's newest show, especially knowing the show will be separate from Arrow and the other current super-hero series. Set in the corrupt town of Freeland, nine years after the super-hero's last appearance, controlled by a local gang known as the 100 led by Tobias Whale (Marvin 'Krondon' Jones III) and held together by a largely ineffectual police force, charter school principal Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is forced out of retirement during a pair of rough days involving a racist cop and a pair of rebellious daughters (China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams) getting in over their heads with a gangbanger (Dabier). Black Lightning has returned.

Focused more on street-level violence than even Daredevil, and heavily embracing social justice as a major theme, the show's pilot episode carves out its own little niche for itself in a grittier reality than the other CW hero shows. The concept works better than I expected, even if the costume is more bulky and awkward than it needs to be (without disguising the man's identity). The arc from reluctance to acceptance of returning to his former life as a street-level hero is handled well. With that reluctance gone, along with internal conflict tied to his choice not to be Black Lightning, I'll be curious to see how ongoing episodes fill that void which makes up so much of his character's motivation in the first episode. I'm more on the fence about giving Lightning's older daughter powers so early in the series, especially with some many current shows already dealing with teens struggling with powers.

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