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Black Lightning Year One (DC Comics) pointing

Black Lightning

(Profile #2 - Year One (modern version))

“Justice, like lightning should ever appear, to some men, hope, and to other men, fear.”


Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce) is a fairly important DC Comics super-hero, who first appeared in 1977. You can read all about his vintage, early career in our early Black Lightning character profiles, celebrated by all manners of cool cats and super freaks.

In 2009, DC published a retelling of Black Lightning’s early career. It was done by a solid crew (Jen van Meter, Cully Hamner et al.) and did a great job at modernising and developing the material. Implicitly, the action takes place during the late 1990s.

To better cover this material, we have two character profiles for early Lightning – the 1977 version and the 2009 one. Use whichever you prefer, mix and match, etc.. This here profile has an additional section that reviews the differences, so one’s fowls can be kept linearly aligned.

Both our early Black Lightning profiles have significant S P O I L E R S.



  • Real Name: Jefferson Pierce.
  • Other Aliases: “Superstar” (as Jeff Pierce), “The Fireman”, “the lightning vigilante”.
  • Marital Status: Divorced.
  • Known Relatives: Lynn Stewart Pierce (ex-wife), Alvin Pierce (father, deceased), Anissa (daughter, aged about eight then nine at that point), Constance (sister, formerly Mrs. Tanner), Frank Tanner (former brother-in-law), Joanna Pierce (formerly Joanna Tanner, niece), Alvin Pierce (formerly Alvin Tanner, nephew), Leona Pierce (mother).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Suicide Slum, Metropolis.
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 200 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black

Powers and Abilities

Pierce used to be an Olympic champions in decathlon (100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1,500-meter run). Though that was ten years ago, he has definitely kept in shape. He’s 200 pounds of solid muscle, his physical prowess is amazing, and he’s also a superior acrobat and sneaky type.

Jefferson has a tremendous level of presence, charisma and dedication. He’s a great leader, life-changer, community organiser and activist. He has turned around several ailing communities through hard work, willpower and his capacity to gain buy-in from hundreds of people.


So electric

Black Lightning can shoot electrical arcs from his hands. Those have a range of several metres, and he often emits multiple simultaneous arcs to electrocute opponents clustered together.

He can also use his energies to erect a force bubble around himself. This hemisphere seems immobile and is mostly transparent to light and sound. It can easily stop pistol-calibre bullets, and can be large enough to protect four or five people in addition to Black Lightning.

I got the impression that part of his impressive charisma, physical strength and constitution can be explained by the electrical energy “overclocking” him. But this is just a personal intuition on my part. In particular, he needs very little sleep, though I’m not certain whether the authorial intent was for Jeff to clearly have reduced sleeping needs.

Additional context

This covers the story elements that are different from the 1977 version. To fully benefit from it, it is better to have read the vintage Black Lightning character profile first.

Land of hopes and dreams

In the 1970s, the Southside neighbourhood of Metropolis was where the African-American middle class hopefuls would live. Though it is not quite stated, it is entirely possible that it was in the 1940s a poor White area (as depicted in the Newsboys Legion adventures).

If so it likely continued to deteriorate until in the 1960s when it was mostly Black people who couldn’t leave. It likely bounced back in the late 1960s as the younger Black workers and professionals started getting better incomes.

This optimism was broken in the 1970s. A huge project to build a stadium, the Metropolis Coliseum, was to take place in the Southside. A developer, Swann, and a local conman, Tobias Whale, sold the dream of the Coliseum to everyone, including the municipality. A new bridge to Southside was built to handle the “huge increase in traffic” that was “sure to result”.

Most of the locals invested their savings in the Coliseum, and construction started. It was never concluded — it was a scam all along. Swann and Whale fled with 16 million dollars. The journalist Alvin Pierce, who had exposed the con, was killed.

Pre-ghetto youth

With so many homeowners ruined, Southside fell into poverty and never recovered. Presumably, the late 1970s recession, a last wave of White flight and the 1980s rise of crack cocaine finished the area off. Southside reverted to its 1940s nickname of “Suicide Slum”.

Under the influence of criminal conspiracy The 100, it would stay a ghetto for decades, until at least the 2000s. This situation was worsened by the magical influence of the 100, which had the additional effect of making Superman oddly underpowered in this neighbourhood.

The 100 made Suicide Slum into a no-go zone for outsiders. About 60% of police officers killed throughout Metropolis fell in Southside. A majority of officers discharging firearms incidents likewise occurred there. Most social services, including the cops, firemen, etc. slowly stopped responding.

As usual, Whale eventually came back (perhaps during the early 1990s) and was elected city councilman.

Time after time

In this profile I’ve kept the “revised” dates (since it’s, well, a writeup about the revised version). These are based on my assumptions that :

  1. Jefferson was about 36 during his Year One.
  2. That said Year One occurred during the late 1990s (or maybe early 2000s).

This is different from the usual writeups.org stance. Usually, we keep the events occurring at the date of publication in order to avoid the weird retcons and awkward contortions of 10-year sliding timelines. Thus, the usual WORG approach would be to maintain that Black Lightning started his career in 1977 as originally described.

Black Lightning's wife and daughter

Lynn and Anissa.

Since we have two detailed writeups about the origins of Black Lightning, you can use either approach. As one can probably surmise, the revised tale is much more modern –

  • Lynn is an important character rather than a secondary role.
  • Jeff is older and a father. He is the principal, not a young teacher.
  • They do not exist in a vacuum but have a number of familial ties which feature credible characters.
  • The Suicide Slum ghetto and the schools are less abstract than in the original tales.
  • There is *some* level of explanation about why Superman is absent from Suicide Slum.

But except for the lingo, some aspects of how and why street gangs operate, etc. it can all be reasonably used for a story in the 1970s. Reality was not simpler then – comic books were. 🙂


Alvin Pierce, Jefferson’s father, was a great man. A journalist, activist and father, Pierce endlessly crusaded for truth and social advancement.

Perry White, his manager at the Daily Planet, came to call him “the gold standard” of what investigation journalism should be. This may also have been a reference to the golden plaque Pierce kept on his desk. It read “Justice, like lightning should ever appear, to some men, hope, and to other men, fear.”.

Alvin Pierce exposed a huge scandal in the Southside, a scam which ruined the large majority of the people living there. Soon after that, Alvin Pierce was killed during a faked hold-up. His son Jefferson was nine. The kid continued to grow up in Suicide Slum.

Growin’ up

Leona Pierce, who struggled to raise two kids on a teacher’s salary, was helped by a close friend of Alvin Pierce. It was Peter Gambi, a White man owning a tailoring shop in the area. Peter helped raise Jeff and Connie, taught them to drive, gave them their first job in his shop. He also encouraged Jefferson in becoming a sports champ and Connie in becoming a nurse.

Though Jefferson would eventually follow his mother in education, he had a spectacular career in athletics during high school and college. Mr. Pierce won no less than three Olympic gold medals during the 1980s. The locals called him “Superstar”, a nickname street kids would still give him 11 years later when he would come back.

Jeff left Suicide Slum to go to college. This is apparently where he met and married Lynn Stewart. During the next ten years, it was chiefly Jeff’s job that determined where the couple would live.

Mr. Pierce overhauled no less than five schools during that period. His extraordinary skill and dedication won awards, including a Wayne Foundation grant that called him the “last best hope for successful leadership in urban education reform.” Midway through, Lynn and Jeff had their first kid, Anissa.

The body electric, part 1

The source of Jeff’s powers is unrevealed (and they clearly predate the Invasion ), but they have been an important part of his life since he was nine.

His electricity is closely tied to :

  1. The trauma of the death of his father.
  2. His irrational guilt over not continuing the fight of his father to save Southside.

These feelings manifested as recurrent nightmares. This is when his body would emit electrical arcs. Part of Pierce’s athletic career was motivated by the desire to have days so exhausting that he would be too tired to dream.

Gambi eventually found ways to help him relieve the nightmares, if only so Jefferson’s electricity would not start a fire. I would assume that Gambi researched relaxation techniques to teach the lad. A possible scenario is that Peter did so via his brother, who was likely working for the League of Assassins at that time and thus would have had access to suitable teachers.

Jeff was thus able to suppress the nightmares and electrical manifestations. His life with Lynn seemed to bring permanent relief. For nearly ten years, he was nightmares-free.

The body electric, part 2

His subconscious, however was building up a… well, charge of guilt. This seemed based on the notion that helping other communities was just running away from continuing the job his father had begun. Namely, turning Suicide Slum around.

He also apparently felt guilty over abandoning his roots, and over the fact that the killers of his father were now free and in power. Thus, the nightmares and electrical manifestations resumed. As before, Jefferson threw himself in his work (though this time as a principal) to exhaust himself and sleep a dreamless sleep.

It didn’t quite work. The nightmares and lack of sleep affected Jefferson and he became moody and irritable, as well as more reserved. He also stopped having sex with Lynn out of fear that he would electrocute her. Furthermore Mr. Pierce grew obsessed with his work, spending even more time away from home.

Pierce came to consider that fighting for Suicide Slum had been his almost-big-f-Fate, like in an ancient Greek tragedy. As he saw it, the power within him was a manifestation of that destiny.

Return to Suicide Slum

Feeling her husband slip away from her, Lynn encouraged him to make Suicide Slum his next position as a principal. She hoped that this return to Jeff’s roots would give her back her husband, rather than the brooding and distant person he was becoming.

Mrs. Pierce was right. Once they returned to Suicide Slum, Jefferson largely reverted to his normal personality and enthusiasm. Howbeit, Lynn was aware that the price for that was to take her family to live in a bad ghetto.

To set this up, Lynn had arranged to switch houses with Jefferson’s sister Constance. In this way Constance could live, work and raise her teenaged kids away from Suicide Slum. It also put enough distance from her ex-husband, who had extensive criminal connections with the The 100 mob. However, Jefferson’s mum Leona stayed in the house, living with her son and daughter-in-law.

Lynn, a lawyer, had secured employment with a Metropolis firm. And Jefferson was to be the new principal of Garfield High. The previous principal had hanged himself in the gym.

Of course, things didn’t start well. Kids attempted to steal the Pierces’ moving boxes, and on his first day at Garfield High Jefferson’s office was torched. However, that was nothing such a gifted man couldn’t handle.

Fear the Fireman

During his reunion with Peter Gambi, the old tailor told Jefferson that he had been wrong to tell him to suppress his electrical powers and live normally. Peter now thought that Alvin’s way — a frontal stand against evil and corruption — was the best way.

Black Lightning with his "Fireman" look

Jeff reluctantly agreed. He secretly used his fantastic athletic abilities and electrical powers as a night-time vigilante. This was a role in which he rapidly grew very confident and proficient. After two months, he whimsically added a calling card to his répertoire. He used paint spray cans to draw a black lightning bolt with blue lining after he was done.

The local press dubbed the crimefighter “the Fireman”, since he occasionally seemed to be burning. This was actually Jefferson’s body giving off electricity.

Howbeit, Lynn soon realised that her husband was vanishing in the middle of the night, and thus that he was the mystery vigilante. She thus spent most nights worried sick, though she didn’t tell Jeff she knew.

Ride the lightning, part 1

Through sheer charisma and hard work, Principal Pierce made it clear that he was here to radically improve the school and wouldn’t be deterred. He made enough of an impression on the student that The 100, the mob controlling Suicide Slum, soon saw him as a threat.

A popular student who had helped Pierce was killed by The 100, who left the body impaled against the school’s trophies case. It chiefly held the athletic awards Pierce had won all the way back when he was a Garfield high school student. Meanwhile, by her first week Lynn had grown quite certain that the local legal system was massively corrupt, and the judges were bought.

The battle was thus waged on three fronts.

  1. Lynn fought corruption among the judiciary.
  2. Jefferson turned his students around despite their considerable difficulties. He soon created a climate of work, study and volunteer activities that dramatically changed Garfield High.
  3. The “Fireman” vigilante was devastating the local mobs and gangs, turning unconscious suspects to the MPD by the dozen.

Ride the lightning, part 2

Frank Tanner, now a top lieutenant within The 100, came to see the Pierces. He offered to become a mole for the “Fireman”. As he saw it, The 100 would eventually be weakened enough so he could leave without retaliation. Once he had gone clean, Tanner hoped that his wife and kids would have him back. Constance eventually agreed, and Tanner rejoined the extended Pierce family.

Black Lightning rushing ahead

Street gangs continued to harass Garfield High students, but an impressive majority of students refused to cower and stuck with Principal Pierce. The heat continued to rise, as Lynn started receiving death threats and “the Fireman” was wounded during an ambush. Since he couldn’t hide the gunshot wounds, Jefferson admitted to his family that the was the Suicide Slum Fireman.

Of course, even little Anissa already knew. In fact they had been working with Peter, and gave Jefferson a special costume. It included a mask, and a special belt and fabric to help handle his electrical power. Peter and Lynn’s costume also came with a wig and good visual design, so Jefferson wouldn’t look like a street though anymore.

Mr. Pierce then adopted a super-hero name – Black Lightning.

Lightning in the sky

Pierce continued to redevelop Garfield High. He secured funding, political allies, donors, and students and parents willing to go an extra mile to support his efforts. As Black Lightning, thanks to Tanner’s inside intelligence, he kept demolishing The 100.

However, The 100 made it look like Black Lightning had killed one of their own, Joey Toledo. People in posher Metropolis neighbourhoods all too easily accepted that Black Lightning was a vigilante. And though Lynn took down one of The 100’s pet judge for corruption, they fixed things so it would look like she also was on the take.

The 100 also resorted to better-coordinated harassment to wear Black Lightning out, particularly during the first dance organised at Garfield High in more than ten years. And they leaked to Jefferson that Peter Gambi had been instrumental in the murder of Alvin Pierce. Back then Gambi was given a choice of collaborating, or seeing little Jefferson and Constance murdered.

Furthermore, Black Lightning came to realise that the leadership of The 100 was supernatural in origin.

Against the current, part 1

On the other hand, Principal Pierce found support within the press. Clark Kent was very supportive of his efforts, giving him very positive media exposure. And his colleague Lois Lane, suspecting that the case against Lynn Pierce was bogus, started investigating the conspiracy against her. Over time, Kent became a friend of the family.

This led to an increased Superman presence in Suicide Slum, though mystical wards meant that he couldn’t do all the much.

Black Lightning also found an ally within the MPD – Lt. Bill Henderson, supposedly in charge of the anti-Black Lightning task force. Henderson knew that Toledo had actually been killed by a crooked cop, and cautiously allied with the vigilante for Suicide Slum’s sake.

Against the current, part 2

Another ally was of a more unexpected nature. The Princess of Gorgeousness, the Queen of Class, the Highness of Hotness, the Elect of Elegance, the Firmament of Foxiness, the Czarina of Lookahs, the Ace of Grace, the Poobah of Poise, the Star of Style, the Naiad of Radiance… errr, sorry.

So, Talia al Ghul came in to explain her father’s interest in a man posing a credible threat to The 100. Alas, Black Lightning turned her down. As if that would deter the Fireball of Femininity, Sultaness of Sultriness and Culmination of the Curvaceous. I mean, Talia.

Black Lightning erects a force wall

Black Lightning decided to move up the chain and seek The 100’s apparent leader, Tobias Whale. But at the same time Whale decided to go straight after the Pierces. Presumably he was coming after Lynn, since the backing of the Pullitzer-winning Lois Lane made Mrs. Pierce much more of a threat to officials on The 100’s payroll.

Jefferson was away at that time. Peter Gambi gave his life to defend the Pierces, and Talia al Ghul discreetly eliminated the remaining The 100 gunmen on site. Lynn was moved to another town under police protection, perhaps as part of the Witness Protection Program. She’d stay there until the huge case of the Southside judiciary corruption was over.

Before Gambi died, he and Pierce forgave each other for their failures. Lynn, however, did not.

Toward the showdown

Talia contacted Jefferson again. She explained how the fabric Peter Gambi used for the Black Lightning costume came from Ra’s al Ghul. She also explained the origin of the 100 and how their masters fed on despair (not unlike entities once fought in Washington, D.C. by Traci Thirteen).

Jeff made it look as if he was nearing a breakdown. He even staged a public conjugal fight with Lynn during Peter’s funerals. Tanner told The 100 that Pierce had started to drink. But it was a lie, and Tanner wore the BL costume a few times to protect Jefferson’s secret identity.

This lulled The 100 in a sense of false security. This in turn made it easier for Black Lightning to resist their despair-based spells. But on the other hand, The 100 were gearing up for a final confrontation with Black Lightning. In so doing, they realised that Tanner had been a mole within their ranks for months.


The real leader of The 100, the creature called Swann, captured Tanner and launched a mystical onslaught during a big track-and-field event at Garfield High. But as Pierce hoped, he thought that his opposition was far more brittle than it actually was.

Superman found and freed Tanner. Meanwhile Black Lightning overcame the illusions at the track event, then rallied the cops and students to do the same. This avoided a big manic and firefight among the crowd. When Swann came in, he ran into Black Lightning, Superman, and a united crowd chanting Black Lightning’s name to bolster him. Swann was driven back.

Meanwhile, Lynn realised that she was pregnant with her second child. She also noticed that little Anissa had some sort of power to increase her body density.

Local hero

The track meet event marked a sea change. The population of Suicide Slum now supported Black Lightning and wanted The 100 out. Lt. Henderson rode that wave by having a new precinct established in Southside, with an entirely new staff and policies.

Whale and ’Swann’ attempted to strike back during the next big event in Southside. The predominantly African-American community was celebrating Juneteenth , with the Garfield High students being behind much of the organisation. Several students were mesmerised and came holding guns at their own head, threatening to shoot if Black Lightning did not come with them.

Pierce said he would accompany his students. He asked for the crowd to start chanting for Black Lightning to come. Once he was out of sight he slightly shocked the students to break the spell. They now knew that Pierce was Black Lightning, though it seems unlikely they’ll ever talk.

Black Lightning shooting lightning

As Black Lightning, Pierce went to confront Whale and Swann. He met them within the Coliseum, the building symbolising the scandal that had killed his father. During the fight Whale attempted to turn against his master to steal his power.

It did not work. Swann ended up possessing Whale instead of possessing Black Lightning as he had planned. He got trapped in the grotesquely enlarged, deformed and depigmented body of Whale. Weakened by the transfer, he was subdued and arrested.


Initially, Pierce was wearing the blue track suit with yellow piping, with the hood up. One of his trick was to make his face glow with electrical power, as if backlit and lit from below. This obscured his features and gave birth to the “fireman” moniker.

His family and Gambi gave him a mask and wig instead. That was in good part because the Pierces were annoyed that “the Fireman” could not be identified as a Black man. The costume seems to have been designed with input from Lynn – especially the short locss wig. With the wig, mask and threads, Jefferson looks like a markedly younger man.

In his civvies, Jefferson apparently always wear something blue (shirt, T-shirt, vest, etc.). I’d assume it goes well with his complexion.

Originally, Jeff spray-painted his Black Lightning symbol. But after Peter gave him the belt he started burning it on walls using his lightning. Those tags became an important symbol of the Black Lightning presence in Suicide. But I would assume that he stopped tagging after the locals came to actively support him.

His delivery may be akin to the on Louis Gossett Jr. had for his character in The Principal . The style of dialogue is a bit reminiscent of his.


Jeff is saving the world, one school at a time. He’s a man on a mission – and he does not flinch, and he does not falter.

As a principal, he’s impressive. He’s strict, enormously charismatic, firm, knowing each of his students and something about their life, patient, respectful, caring, attentive and always able to find some sort of solution.

According to his sister, during his youth Jefferson was preaching, holier-than-thou and inflexible. If so he has changed and matured about his values. He now comes across as highly principled yet non-judgemental. He wants people to make their own choices, and never wields his authority as a blunt instrument. He leads through example and pedagogy.

Black Lightning (DC Comics) teaching the Constitution

In this version the main character is Jefferson, not Black Lightning. Black Lightning is just a mask he uses to carry on a portion of his fight for the cause. The vigilante just comes across as a tough guy, confident urban vigilante, since Jefferson has no special emotional investment in the persona. It’s but one tool.

Being a man on a mission, Jefferson is pretty much the image of the modern leader, teacher, husband and father. He’s so driven to be all of that that it has become his actual personality. He’ll always do and say the right thing according to modern progressive values.


(As a brand new principal) “Well, I can see I got the typical gang problems to deal with, but that’s nothing new.”

(As Black Lightning) “Earl Clifford. Who did it ?”

Jefferson: “Some of your classmates haven’t had much to be thankful about for a long while, kiddo. Life’s pretty hard here.”
Anissa (age 8): “You’re fixing it, right ?”

Two barely-clothed girls: “Mister Pierce ? Ms. Koop says we gotta go home and change ! You on that ? Don’t we look nice ?”
Pierce: “Sure. But work clothes are for work. Right now you’re at school. Find some sweats in the gym so you don’t have to miss class.”
Clark Kent: “That was… frank. Some might say offensive.”
Pierce: “Alicia and Carmen both work as strippers. Would it be less offensive to ignore that fact ? Maybe preach at them ?”

Student (in class): “If voting is so fuckin’ important, how come they didn’t make it… — what you said. Mandatory ?”
Pierce: “Great question, Ms. Castro, but watch your language. Anyone wants to take a guess ?”

(Thinking to himself while in grave danger) “My daughter is 9 years old. She does not lose her father today.” (ZZZAAAAKKKK !!)

(Reflecting) “Champion. I’ve been called that for winning some medals. But champion doesn’t mean ‘winner’. Not at first. It means ‘defender’. This is who and what I am.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Black Lightning (early, revised)

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility/Justice
Int: 08 Wil: 08 Min: 07 Occupation: High School Principal
Inf: 08 Aur: 07 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 028 HP: 050

Force wall: 08, Lightning: 08

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • During this era, his Powers are difficult to control without his BELT, though he’s learning.
  • Force wall manifests as a bubble (-0).
  • Lightning has a Range of but 02.
  • Lightning has Multi-Attack 1.

Acrobatics*: 08, Artist (Writer): 05, Charisma*: 08, Detective (Legwork)*: 08, Martial Artist (Including Techniques)*: 08, Thief (Stealth)*: 08, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Missile)*: 08

Area Knowledge (Suicide Slum), Confidant (his family and Peter Gambi), Expertise (Education, Municipal politics, Community organising), Familiarity (Social counselling, Civics, Language arts), Iron Nerves, Life Support (Black Lightning seems to have a reduced need for sleep), Lightning Reflexes, Local Hero (Suicide Slum).

MPD Lt. William Henderson (High), students of Garfield High (Low), Clark Kent (High).

Dependants (His family, Peter, Gambi, his students), Secret ID, Guilt and a MPR (see the “Body Electric” section in the History section). Pierce wears glasses, and appears to be very slightly nearsighted.


  • COSTUME [BODY 06, Blunting: 04, Cold immunity: 01, Skin armour: 01, Limitation: Skin armour only vs. bullets]. The costume is made from a special fabric procured by Peter’s brother, described as a blend of Kevlar and Neoprene.
  • BELT [BODY 04]. This was described as “a sort of grounding gizmo”, helping Black Lightning to emit electricity in a more controlled manner and allowing him to train himself. Originally, erecting the force bubble would kill the BELT, but Gambi fixed this.
    Black Lightning still needs the BELT to control his power during this era, but his reliance on it likely diminished after the major victories that marked the end of his Year One.

Working class hero

After Black Lightning has clearly established himself in Suicide Slum and gained the Local Hero advantage, he became hugely popular with the locals. There have been instances when the crowd chanted his name (“LIGHT-NING, LIGHT-NING”, etc.) in support.

The people in the chanting crowd gain a collective form of Leadership they can use to support their hero. Depending on circumstances Pierce can “collect” up to 20-25 HPs that way, to be spent in that fight. The powerful “Lightning” chant has also been used to call him to the rescue.

Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Black Lightning (Year One) (Modern version) — Averaged PL9.6

03 02 05 04 08 04 04 04


Electrical arcs ● 18 points ● Descriptor: Physiology, electricity
Ranged electrical Damage 8, Accurate 1, Takedown

Force domes ● 12 points ● Descriptor: Physiology, electricity
Protection 6 (Affect others, Sustained, Increased Range (Close), Distracting.


Costume ● 2 points ● Descriptor: Kevlar, Neoprene
Protection 2 (Limited 1 to Sharp Impact), Subtle.

Combat Advantages

All-Out Attack, Close Attack 2, Defensive Roll 3, Evasion, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 2.

Other Advantages

Benefit 1 (Reduced need for sleep), Benefit 1 (Hugely popular in Suicide Slum), Extraordinary Effort, Fearless, Instant Up, Leadership, Well-Informed.


Acrobatics 6 (+11), Athletics 8 (+11), Close combat (Unarmed) 2 (+12), Deception 4 (+8), Expertise (Education) 7 (+11), Expertise (Community organizing) 8 (+12), Expertise (Writer) 5 (+9), Insight 6 (+10), Perception 7 (+11), Persuasion 4 (+8), Ranged combat (Thrown objects) 5 (+11), Ranged combat (Electrical arcs) 4 (+12), Stealth 6 (+10), Vehicles 2 (+6) (Limited 2 to common land vehicles).


Initiative +8
Unarmed +12, Close, Damage 3
Electrical arcs +12, Ranged, Damage 8


Dodge 12 Fortitude 08
Parry 11 Toughness 02*/05
Will 10

* Without Defensive Roll


  • Secret Identity Hunted by criminals, Black Lightning hides his identity. He wears a mask and wig, and has been known to set up simple deceptions to throw off his scent.
  • Family Man Jefferson cares deeply about his wife and daughter (and his second daughter as the story closes).
  • Responsible Man Black Lightning feels personally responsible for Suicide Slum, and particularly the students of Garfield High. He is a highly devoted community organiser.
  • Electrical guilt If he feels he’s not facing his responsibilities, Jefferson will emit electricity during his sleep and gradually lose his cool and center.
  • You’re grounded! At this stage, his electrical powers are much more difficult to control with Peter Gambi’s special belt. And very early on, erecting the force dome would kill the belt but that was soon fixed.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 10, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 8, Fort/Will PL 9.
  • Points total 179. Abilities 68, Defences 22, Skills 37, Powers 30, Devices 2, Advantages 20. Equiv. PL 12.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Black Lightning Year One limited series (2009).

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Frank Murdock.