Black Lightning #2
In an evolution from the New 52 mindset, DC is spotlighting characters with limited series with hope that the demand is there for more. Two issues in and I’m already rooting for a Black Lightning ongoing series. With the upcoming CW show, there isn’t a better opportunity for DC to firmly position him as a major player in the DCU.
In featuring black characters, a lot of writers try to work in ripped from the headlines elements into their stories. Too often, the stories suffer from awkwardly trying to be topical. As more of a street level hero than Darkseid-battling hero, integrating those discussion points is a much better fit. Writer Tony Isabella addresses some serious issues without letting them overwhelm the vigilante adventure. Clayton Henry is proving a small revelation as the artist with really clean panel construction, smooth action sequences and well-rendered and expressive faces. There’s no reason Isabella and Henry can’t make this a long-term gig if they (and DC) want.
One small nitpick. There’s always a certain level of hokeyness when writers craft street dialogue and are language restricted. In 2017, it just doesn’t read authentic when gang members are saying ‘butt’ and ‘fool.’ While not every book works with the hero also serving as the narrator, it helps provide more insight into Black Lightning’s personality.
I’m also engaged with Black Lightning’s supporting cast, which gets a new addition in his trainer Amberjack. Isabella isn’t stupid and is smartly laying seeds that will require further examination. I like the fabric of this book as it’s so easy to get invested in the characters. DC really has something special with this title. It’s proving to be a late 2017 special that hopefully stays lit through 2018.
Rating: 9 out of 10