"Black Lightning": There's a new hero on the streets of Suicide Slum - the Black Lightning. Black Lightning is actually high school teacher and former Olympic athlete, Jefferson Pierce. Working at Garfield High School, Pierce learns that the neighborhood
- Justice, like lightning, should ever appear to some men hope, and to other men fear! I was 21 when I wrote those words. It was some six years later before I finally understood them-- And that was the day Jefferson Pierce became... Black Lightning
Synopsis for "Black Lightning"
There's a new hero on the streets of Suicide Slum - the Black Lightning. Black Lightning is actually high school teacher and former Olympic athlete, Jefferson Pierce. Working at Garfield High School, Pierce learns that the neighborhood is in the grip of a criminal organization known as The 100.
Black Lightning confronts one of the 100's more disreputable pushers, Joey Toledo. After beating up Toledo's men, he grabs the drug dealer by the collar and pressures Toledo to tell him everything there is to know about the 100. He tells him to meet him at Garfield High's gymnasium at midnight.
Later, Black Lightning changes back into his civilian clothes and consults with his friend, Peter Gambi. He wants to clean up the streets, but he now regrets using the high school as his own personal battlefield. Black Lightning reflects upon the events that brought him to this point.
Jefferson Pierce had only recently arrived at his alma mater Garfield High, after having worked as a teacher in New Carthage. He meets with Principal Chapin who reminds him of the glory days when Jefferson was the school's best athlete.
Later that day, Jefferson meets high school basketball star Earl Clifford. Clifford is arrogant, but affable, and jokingly remarks that he aims to become the "new" Jefferson Pierce. At that moment, Joey Toledo and several armed men bust into the gymnasium. They begin beating up on Jefferson, but Earl Clifford jumps in and lends him a hand. Working together, they run the thugs out of the school.
News of this incident reaches the office of the Whale - leader of the 100. The Whale is reluctant to take direct action against Pierce, for fear of turning him into a martyr, but he instructs Joey Toledo to teach young Earl Clifford a lesson.
The 100 goons go to beat Earl up, but the boy runs away into the street and is struck by a vehicle. They decide to make an example of him and suspend his body from the basketball net in the school gymnasium.
Jefferson Pierce is beside himself with guilt. He goes to Peter Gambi's tailor shop and tells him what happened. Gambi tells Jefferson that the neighborhood needs a symbol - a man willing to take back the streets. He produces a costume, mask and wig. Jefferson Pierce becomes Black Lightning.
Appearing in "Black Lightning"
- Black Lightning (First appearance)
- Peter Gambi (First appearance)
- The 100
- Merlyn (Cameo)
- Earl Clifford (First appearance; dies)
- Principal Chapin (First appearance)
- Superman (Mentioned only)
- Electric Power Belt (First appearance)
- First appearance of all characters except for Merlyn the Archer.
- The framing sequence for this issue chronologically takes place immediately following the main story.
- Issue includes a "Lightning Bolts" column, which serves as a newspaper article chronicling the death of Earl Clifford from this issue.
- Includes Daily Planet column Volume 77, Issue 1.
- Artist Trevor von Eeden was only seventeen-years-old when he began penciling this series.
- Peter Gambi is the brother of Paul Gambi, the tailor who designs the costumes for Flash's Rogues Gallery.
- Black Lightning Recommended Reading
- Black Lightning (Volume 1)
- Black Lightning (Volume 2)
- Black Lightning: Year One (Volume 1)
- Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1):
- Justice League of America (Volume 2)
- Outsiders (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)