Review: Black Lightning Year One #4

by

When it all went to hell

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For the most part, the Year One stories from DC Comics tend to follow the origin stories of the characters with a little extra thrown in for taste.  In the case of Black Lightning, it looks like an entire retcon is taking place.  The Tobias Whale plot is still there, but toss in a dose of magic and mysticism, and Talia al Ghul and you’ve got a very different story from the one you read in the 1970’s.

blacklightning4cover.jpgI never read the Black LIghtning comics when the series first ran from 1977 to 1978, so I don’t know if Talia al Ghul ever appeared in the series or not.  Considering Denny O’Neil wrote several issues of Black LIghtning and also created Talia when he was working on Batman, there might have been a meeting.  I’m sure more astute Major Spoilers Readers will pipe in with comments on this bit of trivia to clear things up.

What makes Talia’s appearance in this series so strange is readers not only get more great tales of Black Lightning trying to bring The 100 down, but also get a peek at some of Ra’s al Ghul’s background and history.  There are strong implications that Jefferson Pierce’s current problems with the magic wielding Alan Moore doppelganger and Ra’s ability to live forever.  Talia doesn’t come out and say her father was involved with The 100, but it’s clear she dances around the subject.

Through Talia’s story, Jefferson discovers what the 100 really is all about and how the name came to be.  I’m a sucker for secret society stories, and the reveal of The 100’s origin is a pretty cool one. One that probably would have worked better in another book, but one that works here just fine.

The more important part of this issue is seeing Jefferson’s marriage fall apart.  In the beginning, his wife was behind the move, but since using his powers and getting the attention of the mob, the marriage began to crumble.  The arrival and attempted assassination on the Pierce family was the final straw, causing Lynn to flee the area with  the family in tow.  Everyone that is, except Jefferson who’s elected to stay behind and fight the fight, and strangely agreeing to some mysterious task Talia asked him to do.

All in all, not too bad of an issue, since it is the same creative team throughout, the same praise will hold through the series unless the art suddenly goes in the toilet because of scheduling issues, or if the series has a drastic and sudden ending that makes no sense.  Black Lightning Year One is a good series.  There’s drama, thugs, magic, guest appearances by well known figures, fighting, and a bit of romance (even if it falls apart in this issue), to earn issue #4 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

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