Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #2 Review and **SPOILERS**

Just Another Day in the Two-One-Six

Writer: Tony Isabella 
Artist: Clayton Henry 
Colorist: Peter Pantazis 
Letterer: Josh Reed 
Cover: Clayton Henry, Mark Morales with Tomeu Morey 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: December 6, 2017


He’s got some cool ‘lectric powers 
And plus some magnetic abilities too 
(Black Lightning! Go, Black Lightning!) 
Even when they’re out to get him 
He’s got superheroin’ to do 
(Black Lightning! Go, Black Lightning!) 
He’ll bust that crime for sure 
On weekdays after four 
Before he kicks your ass 
He’s got to teach a class 
It’s Black Lightning!

Explain It!

Think about times you’ve been in an uncomfortable situation, maybe where a person or people aggressively didn’t like you: being bullied at school, or maybe hazed for fraternity membership, or perhaps even a family function where several estranged members might show up. It’s unpleasant, to say the least, and downright scary in many instances. But you’ve still got to go about your day. You’ve got to go to school even if the hallways between periods are treacherous to navigate. You are expected to keep your schedule even while enduring harassment and humiliation. The world doesn’t stop just because things are shitty for you. You can let it either subsume you or keep upright and moving toward better things.
Consider, then, the price of being Black in America (actual Black folks, you are excused from this exercise.) I know you don’t want to hear it, and I don’t necessarily want to talk about it, but the fact is that Black Americans face more danger in the average day than White counterparts. You can make your own assumptions about where that danger originates, but a Black man wrongly suspected of murder might not make it to plead “not guilty” intact. That’s where Black Lightning finds himself, after Tobias Whale triggered the self-destruct on two mega gun-wielding hoods as Jefferson stood nearby last issue. But that doesn’t mean he’s hanging up the tights and sticking to his day job as high school teacher, those crazy guns are still on the street, people are pushing drugs at his school, and someone’s got to do something.
What we get in this issue is essentially a day in the life of Mr. Pierce—well, a night and a day and the following night—which includes dodging the cops, busting some thugs, meeting up with his police contact and another old friend, teaching, busting some more thugs, etc. It’s an unusual issue to have within a miniseries, such things normally having been “earned” by a prolonged run. But it’s cleverly told to fill in many of the gaps left from the last issue, and combined they make for a very interesting “origin…” for this series, at least. We are introduced to a throwback character who will probably figure prominently in the following four issues, and some interesting intel suggesting the Cleveland PD isn’t being entirely forthcoming…or elements within the department, at least.
At first, I felt a little ripped off by this issue, which is heavier on character moments than action. But the story stuck with me, and after turning it over in my head once or twice, I found it quite charming. Understanding Jefferson’s predilection towards justice, particularly in the context of being a wanted superhero, added to his realism—as who among is isn’t a walking contradiction in several aspects? The most telling scene to me was when Pierce stalked a drug dealer and, before rushing in to blast him silly, weighed his options and came up with a sensible, if rather pedestrian, conclusion. He did, essentially, what most of us might do. No matter the obstacles, we all still have to go about our normal business.

Bits and Pieces:

A placid issue that packs a subtle punch, the portrayal of Jefferson Pierce is one of true heroism, even as he does relatively mundane things. Which is not to say that you don't get plenty of high-zapping action, but it's the character moments that will stick with you.


1 comment:

  1. Not gonna lie, being set in Cleveland is the main reason I'm picking up this series. But I can't wait to dive in, the art looks good and I'm all about B-Listers getting their own title. Who knows how long DC will invest, but hopefully we got a solid series.