Let’s take a look at another main character from the upcoming Black Lightning tv series, and another member of Black Lightning‘s family, namely his oldest daughter, Anissa Pierce, portrayed by Nafessa Williams. In the show, Anissa will be in her late teens, a medical student who also teaches part-time in her father Jefferson‘s school, thus being the member of the family the divorced ex-superhero sees the most. From what we could see in the trailer, she’ll realize soon enough that her father’s legacy isn’t limited to the passion for teaching only, as she’s shown developing some electric powers of her own. In the comics, she studied medicine as well, and she has superpowers too, but her abilities don’t have anything to do with electricity, albeit she did chose the name Thunder as a homage to her father. Let’s see together.
Anissa Pierce was born the daughter of school teacher (later principal) Jefferson Pierce and of his wife, lawyer Lynn Pierce. Shortly after she was born her father, always the social justice warrior, decided to move back to his old neighborhood, the Suicide Slums in Metropolis, quite the opposite of a recommended environment to grow a little girl in. Anissa grew up in quite a difficult area, but her mother’s efforts especially allowed her to stay away from troubles, while on the other hand she became sensitive to social and economical issues thanks to both her parents’ commitment in fighting them. It was when she was still a kid that she realized that her father was also the superhero Black Lightning, as she spotted him going out by the dead of night. She didn’t tell anybody she already knew about it, until she started manifesting powers on her own, being able to control her body density. The first thing she thought about was to follow her father’s footsteps and to become a vigilante, but she was also a brilliant student, and both her parents advised her not to throw away a promising education to fight crime. In the meanwhile, Lynn had had a second daughter, Jennifer, and things between her and Jefferson weren’t going so well (they would have divorced soon after) so, not to add problems and worries to her parents, Anissa decided to respect their will: she would have at least waited to graduate from college before making any decision about her life as a superhero. In the meanwhile, she gave all herself to study: she attended medical school, and she turned out to be one of the best students of her year. Eventually, she graduated with highest honors and, that very night, she considered her promise kept: she tailored a costume, she bought a blonde wig, and she started a career as a crime fighter with the codename Thunder. In a few nights, Thunder impressed the public with quite some feats, making a name for herself and putting at use powers she had had years to learn how to control: a new heroine was born.
Thunder’s solo career, however, didn’t last long, and not for a bad reason: one night, while patrolling, she was approached by another masked vigilante, the archer Red Arrow, who was looking for young adventurers to follow him in his new formation of the Outsiders. Anissa was obviously quite happy to be a part of the same team her father had been fighting with years before, but she also did believe that she could learn more about how to be a superhero if she practiced with others, especially when they were veterans like Red Arrow, so she accepted his offer and became an Outsider. Thunder got along with most of her new teammates, that included Red Arrow, Nightwing, Metamorpho and Indigo, but she was constantly arguing with Grace, the super-strong bouncer she just couldn’t bear. The two, however, proved to be a marvelous team, and this eventually brought them closer, until they discovered a strong attraction one to the other, and became lovers (this didn’t mean the fighting ended, quite the opposite, especially considering that Grace’s promiscuous attitude made her new girlfriend jealous). When Black Lightning found out about his daughter’s new “field of expertise”, however, he wasn’t as happy and proud as Anissa would have hoped for, quite the opposite: he rushed into the Outsiders’ headquarters, and demanded her to quit. Believing in her own potential as a heroine, Thunder refused to obey, and father and daughter started fighting. Their argument, however, was cut short when the demonic villain Sabbac attacked, and the team moved to intercept him. Black Lightning decided to lend some help against the powerful foe, and during the following fight he had the chance to see his daughter in action, just as she saw him fighting for the first time in her life. They gained mutual respect, and after defeating Sabbac, Black Lightning couldn’t be more proud of his heroic daughter, and supported her in her choice. Now, strong with her father’s blessing, Anissa could truly be Thunder, the heroine she had always dreamt of.
Anissa Pierce is a young woman with strength and determination, but also with patience and respect, a heroine born who however waited years to be what she wanted to just to keep a promise to her parents. As Thunder, she possesses the ability to increase her body mass without increasing her volume, thus augmenting her density and becoming extremely durable, able to withstand bullets, and also superhumanly strong; she can become so heavy and dense that she creates shock waves just by stomping on the ground, and her medical skills come in handy also on the battlefield. Intelligent but not exactly sociable, she has quite a talent in reading people, but the same can’t be said for relating to them; being socially awkward, however, doesn’t prevent her from being a true heroine, always on the first line to protect her family, her friends, and of course her girlfriend Grace.