Cold Dead Hands #1
Funny how getting a TV show will raise a character’s profile. With a CW series set for early next year, DC is getting a jump on the hype with a six-issue limited series featuring Black Lighting.
For many readers, the main appeal of Cold Dead Hands is the return of Black Lighting co-creator Tony Isabella, who makes a decent case that six issues won’t be enough for his take.
Black Lightning is back in Cleveland following the death of his father. He’s returned to settle affairs and reunite with some friends from the old days.
Like many contemporary comics starring a black superhero, Isabella addresses the tone of today’s headlines. Some of the Cleveland police aren’t fond of vigilantes and there’s a subtle undertone of racism. Isabella makes these encounters more impactful by implying it as well as the tension when Black Lightning is framed in front of a crowd of mobile phone carrying bystanders.
The issue is peppered with smart name drops that add to that realistic flavor. Some exchanges and dialogues come close to being corny, but even that comes off as more like a throwback feel than cringeworthy interactions.
Clayton Henry’s artwork is solid with good character movement, expressions and perspectives. There’s nothing flashy, but Henry’s pencils are more than serviceable. Pete Pantazis’ colors are bright and colorful, which clashes somewhat with the night time scenes yet it gives the issue a more relaxing vibe.
That’s this book as a whole. It’s not the best book I’ve read all year, but it immediately felt like one I’ve happily picked up and enjoyed throughout 2017. Hopefully this will find an audience as Black Lightning has long deserved a proper spotlight. — Jeffrey Lyles
Rating: 8 out of 10