Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1 Review and **SPOILERS**


Black is Back

Writer: Tony Isabella 
Artist: Clayton Henry 
Colorist: Peter Pantazis 
Letterer: Josh Reed 
Cover: Clayton Henry with Tomeu Morey 
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: November 1, 2017


Well, well, well! After several years of a fairly public and definitely one-sided battle between Tony Isabella and DC Comics, it seems all has been forgiven by both parties and Tony is back to writing the character he created! I presume a forthcoming series on the CW likely has something to do with this. Whatever the case, I’m glad to see Black Lightning back in the DCU fold, I’ve long liked this character and definitely missed his presence. So let’s take a look at the first of six issues of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, and read my review of the same, right now!

Explain It!

It is not always true that the creator of a property, or the inventor of an idea, is the one that wields it best. History is full of examples where someone’s initial work provided the seed that grew under the ministrations of another. Think of how Ray Kroc changed McDonald’s, or how much Deadpool improved once the character was no longer handled by Rob Liefeld. There’s no crime, or shame in it, the creative process is just that: a full routine to be executed, one that is not necessarily beholden to its point of origin.
So it is notable that Tony Isabella, creator of Black Lightning, is back to writing the character after being at odds with DC Comics for many years. Not only that, but this veteran is tasked with writing a character meant to reflect modern, post-cellular phone sensibilities, far removed from his Me Decade beginnings. Well, the very first page is nine panels of cell phones, how does that grab ya? It’s actually an inventive storytelling device (heh); a panel-within-a-panel comics page progressively depicting news bulletins about a crime in progress, shown on a following spread to be foiled by Black Lightning himself! Soon!
Most of this issue reintroduces Jefferson Pierce: Cleveland’s resident teacher, husband, father, and superhero with electricity-based powers who’s up against the repeated attacks of some masked, antifa-seeming troublemakers calling themselves the Weathermen, where we will have to deduct points for lack of originality. To make things even tastier, it’s all being manipulated by a massive mountain of a man, so ruthless and evil that he doesn’t think twice about murdering his own sister in full view of his underlings. After admitting to killing her son, mind you!
This is a pretty fun issue, even considering its “pilot episode” problems. People brand new to Black Lightning should find everything they need to know contained in this issue. Folks that have more history with the character will find plenty of familiar trappings and a few new concepts besides. What you won’t find, unfortunately, is a very engrossing story. We’ve got plenty of issues left to develop something good here.

Bits and Pieces:

A character primer for the new and a familiar tale for long-time fans, Tony Isabella does a great job writing a Black Lightning that feels relevant in the twenty-first century. Now when this Black Lightning does something substantive, we could see some great comics.



  1. Have been missing black lightning in DC, very interested as to where this book is going and how it will turn out in the months to come.

  2. I really hope Black Lighting gets an ongoing after this mini series.

    1. same, but my guess would be a team book like the outsiders