Jennifer Pierce (Lightning)

And we’ve finally reached the last character appearing in the Black Lightning trailer, the final member of the retired superhero’s family: Jennifer Pierce, portrayed by China Anne McClain. In the show, Jennifer will be Jefferson‘s younger daughter, an independent high-school student who doesn’t exactly play by the rules and who has some problems with authority, parental one especially. Judging from what we saw in the trailer, she’ll inherit from her father also his electric powers, thus following her comicbook counterpart’s path and possibly becoming the heroine Lightning as well. Now, let’s take a look at this young heroine, both in terms of character’s age, since she starts as a kid, and in terms of publication history, being only a decade old (the first versions of Black Lightning had only one daughter).

Jennifer Pierce was born near the end of her parents’ marriage: she was the daughter of a socially committed high-school teacher, Jefferson Pierce, and of his soon-to-be ex-wife, the lawyer Lynn Stewart. The two divorced when she was still a little girl, and she grew up used to go from a parent to the other. Unlike her older sister, Anissa, who had inherited superpowers from her father, Jennifer didn’t seem to be a metahuman, much to Jefferson’s relief…but when she entered adolescence, finally, her metagene activated, and Jen turned out to be able to control electricity just like her father. Jefferson, always putting education in the first place, told Jennifer exactly the same thing he had told Anissa when she developed superpowers: he told her not to try and become a superheroine while she was so young, and forbid her to do so until she had completed school. Jennifer’s powers, however, weren’t as “easy” to handle as her sister’s ones, and just like her father before her, she wasn’t able to control them at first. As a result, she randomly discharged electrical energy on everything she touched, and she systematically fried any electric device in her proximity. This meant a living hell for a teenager: she couldn’t use a phone, a computer, tv, music recorders…she was basically left out from everything her peers loved and talked about, and this clearly isolated her, making her feel like a freak. While she was living her lonesome years as a high-school student, her sister had finished school and had become a heroine under the moniker Thunder, joining the Outsiders against her father’s will. Things got a bit crazy for her, as she was involved in many dangerous adventures, and even fell in a coma for a while, so that Jefferson eventually decided that his younger daughter wouldn’t have followed the same path: she needed guidance, and she needed it from some capable veterans. Someone like the Justice Society of America.

The JSA, in fact, was looking for new members to train, and Jennifer looked like the perfect candidate (with the highest recomendations, being her father’s daughter). Jen happily joined the group, and she immediately bonded with the other teenagers in the team, Stargirl and Cyclone, even developing quite a crush on Jakeem Thunder. It took a while for her to chose a name, but she was attracted to “Lightning” from the very beginning, wanting to use it as a counterpoint to Anissa’s Thunder: even if she knew for sure her big sis wouldn’t have apreciated it, she ended up chosing it nevertheless. Albeit inexperienced, her powers proved to be of outmost importance for the team, and she was pivotal in defeating the evil sorcerer Mordru. When the Justice Society entered in conflict with the modern Nazis from the Fourth Reich group, Lightning rushed against them, made reckless by her recent victories, but she found her powers suddenly disappear, leaving her at Shadow of War‘s mercy. The villainess captured her, as well as most of the other members of the JSA. Luckily enough, the Fourth Reich had underestimated Mister Terrific, who found out the Nazis were able to negate powers thanks to an abducted Obsidian, freed the captive hero and later his entire team: finally fighting at full power, the Justice Society was able to overpower the Fourth Reich and to arrest them all. This was but the beginning of her superhero career, but Lightning was immediately put in front of one of the gravest threats the planet (and the entire universe) had ever faced: the invasion of the Black Lanterns, dead heroes and villains turned avatar of death by the villain Nekron. The Justice Society formed a front in New York City, but the presence of powerful foes such as the deceased Kal-L (an alternate Superman) made their efforts useless. Finally, Terrific built a giant bomb, and used Lithgning’s powers to make it work, destroying all the Black Lanterns in New York. When the menace was repelled, there was little time to rest, as one of her mentors, the Green Lantern Alan Scott, was causing havoc after seemingly going crazy…

Jennifer Pierce is an inexperienced, enthusiast young woman, who lived her teenage years in isolation from her peers and who’s nothing less than excited to be finally able to have friends in her teammates from the JSA. As Lightning, she’s able to absorb, generate and manipulate electricity, and everytime she does so her body becomes living electricity itself; she can shoot powerful blasts discharging the energy she’s stored, and she can fly through an electromagnetic repulsor field. Strong-headed and impulsive, but eager to learn, Lightning is pure potential, the promise of a future heroine who seems to be able to surpass even her father’s deeds.

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