REVIEW: Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #2

Here we go with the 2ND issue of DC’s Black Lightning 6-issue mini-series, little over a month away from the premiere of CW’s Black Lightning TV series based on the comic [January 16, 2018].

It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that DC is attempting to reincarnate their own historical black super hero a year after the successful launch of Marvel’s 2nd volume of Luke Cage and Netflix’s Luke Cage series.  DC publishing is obviously hoping that the 40-55,000 copies that the Luke Cage and Black Panther titles average a month will translate into a success for the Black Lightning title.

Writer Tony Isabella has quite an ambitious task for a 6-issue mini-series; Re-acquaint the audience with Black Lightning; update his universe so that it resembles today’s social landscape; and set it on a course that the comic could eventually inspire scripts for the upcoming television series.

The 1ST volume of the Black Lightning was about Jefferson Pierce, a high school teacher who tries to improve the slum in Metropolis where he grew up by fighting local gangs using an electricity generating costume his friend Peter Gambi, made as a weapon.

At face value the 6-issue mini-series, is just an updated Black Lightning story that takes place in present day Cleveland with a new costume and local punks with new weapons; however, in issue #2 creator Tony Isabella and artist Clayton Henry have managed to lay down the groundwork for a world where Black Lightning’s enemies are more intelligent and more formidable than before, in the fact that instead of just plunder and pillaging, they conduct false flag operations that not only undermines his relationship with the local police force but cause a rift with the public that comes to believe that he nothing but an extension of a corrupt police force prone to extra-judicial killing, so that Black Lightning will have to focus more on fighting the court of public opinion than actual Bad Guys.

Out of 5 stars I give it a 3. I wish Isabella had more time than 6 issues to develop this story.  I appreciated that Isabella is trying to insert some social justice issues into the comic, but there were several panels that I felt Isabella would have liked to illustrate his point in a little more detail, but suddenly had to move on for the sake of moving the story along. Yet, I still want to pick-up the 3rd issue in anticipation of what’s to come.

(W) Tony Isabella (A/CA) Clayton Henry

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