Black Lightning appears in DC Universe Presents #13-17 alongside Blue Devil. His dad is a reporter who has been investigating Tobias Whale as he feels that the police aren't doing anything because they are being paid off Whale. The high school teacher is operating as a superhero during the night to take out Whale's operations before his dad gets himself hurt. During one of these excursions, he comes into conflict with the Blue Devil, believing him to be on Whale's payroll. Their fight is ended when LAPD intercedes and Jefferson meets up with his father after classes the next day and tries to convince him to stop going after Whale. Refusing to do so, Jefferson dons his Black Lightning outfit and follows his father that night to watch over him. He protects his dad from Tobias's thugs though Blue Devil is the one who finishes them off. Before Blue Devil kills a thug that he dropped onto a car, Black Lightning reminds him that he is a hero, and Danny regains control of the suit.
They meet again, out of costume, at the funeral of Danny's grandfather and after the service, Danny, his old high school friend and teammate, reveals that he recognizes Jeff as Black Lightning, as his father did. After revealing that he is Blue Devil, Danny convinces Jeff to meet him at Graveyard Studios, which his grandfather left him. He reads his grandfather's letter, which reveals that all the props from his cheesy movies are real artifacts that he has been bleeding the power of by cheapening them in his movies. Jeff is uncomfortable with the idea of magic and recognizes that Danny's suit is a skin.
Jefferson Pierce is a graduate from Garfield High in Metropolis who goes on to be an Olympic decathlon star and later a teacher at the school. He graduates from Kent State University with a teaching degree in physics. As a teacher, he works for New Carthage and later at the same Garfield High that he graduated from. Jefferson wastes no time in getting into trouble with a gang of drug pushers who are connected with the 100 organization. He does this by trying to clean the school of the pushers. In a fight, a student named Earl Clifford helps Jefferson and is later killed for his efforts by a gang leader known as Joey Toledo. This is the catalyst that leads Jefferson into becoming Black Lightning.
Distraught over the death of Earl, Jefferson turns to a man named Peter Gambi. Gambi owns a tailor shop that Jefferson and his mother lived above while he was growing up and he became very close to as a child. Peter made a costume for Jefferson for when he came back, as if he knew that he would want it. When Jefferson returns, he presents it to him. With the addition of a mask and an afro wig, Jefferson's identity becomes secure, but he also disguises his voice and adds a lot of street slang while he is in his Black Lightning persona.
Modern Age/Black Lightning: Year One
Jefferson Pierce is a normal man who grows up in South Side, Suicide Slums, with a dream of success one day. After becoming an Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon and a college graduate, he moves to Metropolis with his wife, Lynn Stewart. The main reason they move is the death of his father, Alvin Pierce. He is killed after trying to open the eyes of the public to the scams of local con man Tobias Whale. They have a daughter they name Anissa (Thunder), and later Lynn becomes pregnant with Jennifer (Lightning). Jefferson is a principal at several schools and is respected for all the good he has done in the neighborhoods and schools he had been in previously. The Wayne Education Trust gives him a grant to come back to South Side to try to do the same there. They look at him as "our last best hope for successful leadership in urban education reform." Jeff sees how bad it is, mostly due to the 100 and Tobias Whale, so he decides to do something with his hidden electricity powers discovered by his wife. He becomes Black Lightning after seeing the quote "Justice--Like Lightning-- Should Ever Appear To Some Men Hope, To Other Men, Fear." He fights local crime at night as a super hero. He is the principal of Garfield High School and he gets to know a student by the name of Earl Clifford. Earl is killed and this starts the end of the 100 and Tobias Whale. Black Lightning eventually defeats them both with the help of Superman.
Black Lightning was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden in Black Lightning #1 in April 1977. Black Lightning was the first African-American superhero to have his own solo series. Though short lived, the series is known as an iconic addition to DC's history.
Jeff is one of the founding members of The Outsiders team along with Batman, Geo-Force, Halo, Katana, and Metamorpho, and has been on and off the roster many times. He has been the leader of the team as well.
In the most recent version of the the team, Alfred recruits him along with Geo-Force, Halo, Metamorpho, Katana, Creeper, and Owlman to go under the radar and take on missions they normally wouldn't be able to take. The main enemies at this time are The Insiders who are unknown to the rest of the world. The team stops them and moves on to tracking down Killer Croc, Clayface, and Mr. Freeze.
The team survives the Blackest Night and tries to pick up the pieces of the operation. Jeff has trouble with Geo-Force whenever he starts to act strange, rude and pompous. Geo-Force makes decisions for the team without consulting them and sends Black Lightning on a mission for Markovia as a secret agent. This eventually leads to Geo-Force and Black Lightning fighting and splitting the team apart. Black Lightning, Owlman, and Metamorpho leave and find Simon Stagg and Freight Train. Metamorpho gets stuck inside Chemo by Java, Simon Stagg's assistant. Chemo is defeated and they go into hiding.
Later Solo Series and the Early 2000's
Black Lightning has fought in the Suicide Slums for a long time and it looks like an uphill battle. He and his wife Lynn divorce and Jeff grows lonely. He eventually moves to Brick City after the divorce to work at a new school. He is attacked by Painkiller at one point, but defeats him. He is also framed for rape by his enemy Broadstrip. He teams up with Gangbuster and fights many new enemies like Warthog. He is eventually cleared and encouraged by his friend Batman to keep on fighting. He becomes Secretary of Education under President Lex Luthor and this blackens his name to some heroes. He is once again framed and put in Iron Heights prison. He is eventually broken out by a version of The Outsiders, which includes his daughter Thunder.
Justice League of America
Jeff is invited to the Justice League of America during its Satellite years and at first turns down the offer. He joins a new version of the League later. He fights alongside Geo-Force, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Red Arrow, Vixen, Red Tornado, Hawkgirl, Black Canary and Hal Jordan against Amazo and Solomon Grundy. He stays with the team for a good time until he is traded to The Outsiders at the request of Batman.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Black Lightning makes his debut where he was paired with Blue Devil and had a bad start with each other when it came to both of them stopping Tobias Whale's crime wave. He later made an appearance as a possible recruit for the Justice League.
Enhanced Conditioning: Though years removed from his Olympic career, Black Lightning obviously keeps in shape. He’s still 200 pounds of solid muscle and a world-class decathlete, giving him above average strength, speed, and stamina. He possess amazing physical prowess, he’s also a superior acrobat and sneaky type.
Enhanced Stamina: Black Lightning possess highly developed musculature, due to his Olympic training. The electricity generated by his body also reduces fatigue, allowing him to exert himself for long durations of time.
Enhanced Endurance: Being 200 pounds of solid muscle and a world-class decathlete, Black Lightning can endure more physical stress (physical pain, high heat, beatings, etc.) then normal humans.
Enhanced Strength: Black Lighting being in top physical shape, allows him to be stronger then normal humans. He can increase his overall strength by stimulating his muscles with electricity. Black Lightning can further enhance his strength, by erecting a force field around his body. He often uses his force field to intimidate attackers, as to show them he can ignore their attacks. While his force field is active, he can perform movement actions that are trivial for him, such as swinging from a rope. If he intends to use that movement to attack opponents, he will keep his force field on during the phases he’s swinging from said rope, than at the beginning of the next phase cut his force field off, and uses his superior initiative to attack before the opposition can react. In case of a serious emergency he can do Dice Actions under the cover of his Force Field.
Lightning Fast Reflexes/Agility: Black Lightning is capable of reacting at lightning speeds. His mind and eyes can process information at such speeds, that time appears to have slowed down.
Superhuman Speed: Black Lightning can move at the speed of light.
Flight: Black Lightning can fly by charging his lower body with electric energy. He's capable of flying at the speed of light.
Enhances Senses: Black Lightning's senses have been honed to their peak.
Electrokinesis: Black Lightning can generate, control, and manipulate electricity. Exactly how much electrical energy Black Lightning can generate is unknown, but he can easily stun and/or kill a man with his internal powers. As time passes, Black Lightning's powers have become more and more powerful.
- Bio-Electricity Manipulation: Black Lightning can manipulate bio-electric currents that exist within all aspects of the body existing in the nervous system, heart and muscles whether his own or his targets. He can channel his bio-electrical energy into attacks, or even drain the bio-electrical energies that may dwell within another being.
- Electricity Absorption: Black Lightning can absorb electrical energy, and utilize it for various purposes which include: enhancing his speed, convert the electrical energy into some other form of energy, use the electrical energy to regenerate/heal himself, and enhance all his powers/abilities.
- Electricity Projection: Black Lightning can project electricity through his hands to stun his enemies. His blasts/projections can vary in color (Blue, Yellow, Red, etc.). The electrical currents are capable of killing people. Black Lightning can increase his electrical projections by simply ionizing the hydrogen atoms in the atmosphere, creating ultra-high level static discharges and having the potential to create electrical storms that have hundreds of lightning strikes per minute (the average lightning strike contains a billion volts of electricity). He can discharge streams of electricity in the form of arc-strands, or single arcs that resemble lightning bolts, to attack his opponents. Black Lightning is capable of discharging destructive electrical energy that flows through the air negating all resistance that may be received from air or space. The destructive electrical energy is capable of destroying an entire area.
- Electrical Healing: Black lightning can heal himself and others by using electricity. By absorbing electrons, he can using them to stimulate molecules, and renew damaged cells. He was able to restart Superman's heart, after the Man of Steel had suffered from a near-fatal Kryptonite exposure.
- Electrical Telekinesis: Black Lightning can manipulate matter on a telekinetic scale, with the use of Electromagnetism.
- Electrical Detection: Black Lightning is able to track the resonance of a broadcast frequency to a location of where its coming from, this sense can be passive or active: Passive: In passive electrolocation, he senses the weak bioelectric fields generated by living beings, and uses the bioelectric fields to locate them. These electric fields are generated by everything living, due to the activity of their nerves and muscles. Active: In active electrolocation, he senses his surrounding environment by generating electric fields, and detecting distortions in these fields, using electroreceptor organs. This allows him to detect non-living objects as well as living beings.
- Electric Field Manipulation: Black Lightning can manipulate electric fields. He can also generate electrical fields of his own, to form tangible force-fields, and various other purposes.
- Force Fields: Black Lightning can generate highly concentrated electric force fields, that are powerful enough to deflect high caliber bullets and high levels of impact. The force fields are also capable of withstanding tremendous physical attacks, Metahumans, oncoming vehicles, grenades, explosives, artillery fire, missiles, fire, and most energy attacks.
- Electrical Transportation: Black Lightning can transport himself by electricity, lightning, or electronics. He can also transport by the electrons in the air, static discharges, and electrical components. Black Lightning can also make lightning strike his body, to transport his own molecules from one point to another.
- Electrical Form: Black Lightning possesses intense bio-electrical energy within his own body, which allows him to transform into pure electrical energy. He has impressive control over this form, and vast capacity to expel electricity in various ways. While in his Electrical Form he's immune to poisons, bacteria diseases, and can even survive without oxygen. Black Lightning can also pass through solid matter, move at supernatural speed, and fly at speeds that exceeds sound.
Anger Empowerment: Black Lightning becomes stronger, faster, more durable, etc. the angrier he gets. Overall, his powers become dramatically more powerful, the madder he gets. In a battle with Geo Force, his powers became more and more intense as he got angrier. With this increase in power, Black Lightning shattered blocks of the Markovian Village.
Black Lightning Manipulation: Black Lightning has learned to generate and control black lightning (mystical dark electricity), which ignores the limitations and weaknesses of normal lightning. Black Lightning can wield it like normal electricity, and also use its mystical power for wide variety of attack and effects.
Electromagnetism Manipulation: Black Lightning can create and manipulate electromagnetism through Electrokinesis.
Energy Aura: Black Lightning can release and surround himself in electrical energy for defensive/offensive purposes, becoming almost untouchable and granting him various abilities/attacks. The electrical aura gives him enhanced physical capabilities such as speed, strength and durability.
Ionization: Black Lightning can ionize different types of atoms and molecules, by simply heating up air/gas, electrical activity, or changes in the air's electric fields, etc. He can create plasma that he can use as a ionized air channel/medium to allow electric current to flow through, thereby creating electricity. He can also tap into a variety of different energies and cause certain ionization to produce positive electricity.
Positive Electricity Manipulation: Black Lightning can manipulate electricity that has a positive charge.
Physical Lightning Manipulation: Black Lightning can manipulate physical electrical and electromagnetic phenomena.
Stealth: Black Lightning is remarkably stealthy, and can even pull off Batman-like disappearing tricks. His stealth and ability to shadow people isn't just a linked skill, it’s an important part of his modus operandi.
Expert Acrobat: Jeff's physical prowess is so amazing, that it allows him to be a superior athlete and acrobat, to the peak of human capabilities.
Expert Teacher: Jeff is widely regarded as the country's number one Educator. He is known to have single handedly been the driving force in turning various decaying Public Education Schools, Facilities in various cities and around the country, into the finest in the nation. As an Instructor, Jeff excelled in teaching Athletics, Language Arts, and Physics.
Genius Level Intellect: Jeff is highly intelligent and educated. He graduated from Kent State University with a Teaching Degree in Physics.
Master Martial Artists: Jeff was originally just a street fighter, but honed his fighting skills under Batman's tutelage. He trained under Batman for seven years in Gotham. Under Batman's tutelage, he became a highly skilled hand-to-hand/lethal combatant, and Martial Artist. Wildcat also trained Jeff in Boxing, in order to hone his skills to do good.
World Class Olympic-level Decathlete: Jeff is an Olympic-Level Athlete excelling as a runner, sprinter, swimmer, track & fielder, and gymnast. He won a Gold Medal in the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1,500-meter run. His other sportive skills include basketball, daring urban acrobatics, and trash-talkin’. Generally speaking, his sheer strength, agility, endurance, coordination, etc, are awe-inducing.
Electric Power Belt: Black Lightning had to access his powers through a belt; he has since internalized these powers.
Electrical Form: Black Lightning can use Electricity to transport through power lines or even lightning bolts.
- Height: 6'1"
- Weight: 200 lbs (91 kg)
- Eyes: Brown
- Hair: Bald/Black
- Alvin Pierce (father, deceased),
- Lynn Stewart (Ex-wife)
- Anissa Pierce ( Thunder , daughter) Anissa Pierce is Thunder, one of Black Lightning's super powered daughters. Thunder has the ability to control her density. Thunder was a rookie heroine recruited to be in Nightwing's Outsiders.
- Jennifer Pierce (Lightning , daughter) Jennifer Pierce is the daughter of Black Lightning. She has absolute control of the electricity, however she can't interact with anything electrical.
- Joanna Pierce (niece, deceased)
Batman: the Brave and the Bold
For further details: Batman: the Brave and the Bold
In the episode "Enter the Outsiders," a teenage Black Lightning (voiced by Bumper Robinson) appears as a member of the Outsiders with Katana and Metamorpho. At first, he appears as an enemy, but soon changes sides to help a dying Wildcat. They later appear in the teaser for "Duel of the Double-Crossers!" to fight a simulation of Despero. In the teaser for "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!", he gains a costume similar to his original one and is now part of an Outsiders line-up consisting of the founding members (including Halo and Geo-Force). They help Batman defeat the Kobra cult and prevent them from unleashing the Kali-Yuga, but mistakenly forgot to take out the bridge to the cult's fortress to prevent reinforcements from arriving.
Justice League Unlimited
For further details: Justice League Unlimited
He appeared in an issue of the show's tie-in series.
For further details: Super Friends
On the "Challenge Of the Super Friends" version on the show, a character named Black Vulcan is based on Black Lightning. He serves on the Justice League along with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Robin, Hawkman, Apache Chief, and Samurai. He had many powers including projecting electricity/lightning from his hands, flight, time travel, moving at the speed of light, and welding. He was used instead of Black Lightning due to a dispute between the producers of the show and Tony Isabella.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
For further details: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Black Lightning made a small appearance in the movie as one of the Justice League reserve members called in by Batman to battle Superwoman and her cohorts. He was voiced by Cedric Yarbrough.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
For further details: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Black Lightning was one of the many heroes looking for Superman and Batman when they became wanted. He was voiced by LeVar Burton.
Thunder & Lightning
Black Lightning appears as the main characters in the series of shorts about his two daughters. The short are for Cartoon Network's DC Nation block.
Young Justice: Invasion
Black Lightning is seen as one of the new recruits who has joined the Justice League during the five years since the final episode of the original Young Justice.
Batman: the Brave and the Bold (video game)
For further details: Batman: the Brave and the Bold
He appears as one of the jump-in heroes. He attacks with a charging bolt that covers the entire screen.
For further details: DC Universe Online
Black Lightning is in DCU online.