Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #6 – Tony Isabella, Writer; Clayton Henry, Yvel Guichet, Artist; Pete Pantazis, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Black Lightning Continuing Series, Please?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Tony Isabella returning to his groundbreaking creation just as Black Lightning gets his biggest spotlight on the small screen was one of the most unexpected and welcome surprises of 2017, and Black Lightning: Cold, Dead Hands #6 sticks the landing as the miniseries comes to a satisfying close. As the issue opens, Black Lightning has been captured by Tobias Whale, and the ruthless ganglord proceeds to give him a brutal beating. Whale can’t help but brag about his master plan – to ship out alien guns to the whole country and reap the consequences of the ensuing chaos. Isabella is working in a distinctly political and realistic framework here, and its clear Whale has thought about all the ways these guns could be exploited beyond simply causing carnage. However, Black Lightning is also smarter than your average hero, and while Whale unloads on him, he’s been planning his own comeback.
It’s rare to see a hero long-game like this unless they’re Batman, so it’s great to see Black Lightning use all the resources at his disposal and foil Whale’s plan while Whale thinks he has the upper hand. This final issue makes great use of Lightning’s shapeshifter friend Usagi and has some clever twists in the final act. However, my favorite segments in this issue were the ones that had nothing to do with Tobias Whale, and simply showed Black Lightning coming closer to becoming the mature local hero that we know he turns into. From his first date with his future wife to him finally becoming acknowledged as the force for good he is. There was also a great segment involving the current principal of Jefferson’s school, his personal life, and his role in being a hero to the two young boys who were unwittingly involved in the carnage of the alien weapon. It’s that human touch that makes this series stand out, and it should be upgraded to an ongoing yesterday.
Corrina: The confrontation in the first half of the book between Tobias Whale, who believes he’s outsmarted his opponent, and Jefferson Pierce, who knows he has the upper hand, is terrific and I love how the fight, which seems to be going one way, swaps to the other. I love it when a hero outsmarts a villain and yet it’s not done enough in comics. My only quibble is that there are many questions left unanswered about Tobias. Where did he enlist alien help, for instance? And why did he make a decision to only care about himself somewhere in his past? These questions would be worthy explorations in the future.
The rest of the issue also made me long for an ongoing series because so much was squashed into such a small space. I want to see Jefferson at school, being the kind of role model he knows how to be, I wanted to see how the relationship with Lynn grows, and I wanted to see him interact with his nieces, the eventual superheroes. Perhaps that will happen, at some point in the future.
In the meantime, there is the Black Lightning television show, which was just renewed for a second season.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.