Saturday, March 21, 2009
Black Lightining: Year One #6
Written by Jen Van Meter
Art by Cully Hamner
Colors by Laura Martin; lettering by Sal Cipriano
Published by DC Comics
In issue #6 of this six-issue miniseries, Jefferson Pierce, a.k.a. Black Lightning, squares off against Tobias Whale and the 100. Jen Van Meter's characterization may have polarized readers (I have some friends that really dig this series, and I have friends who dropped it after the third issue.) Nonetheless, she did what the series was intended for: to update Black Lightning's origin and to make it a solid read. I say "mission accomplished" to both of those intentions.
Black Lightning's narration throughout the issue really helped me believe in the character. I compared this series to a sort of "Walking Tall"-like story: the "costumed superhero out to save the streets" sort of angle. Some may see that as a bit cliche, but it works here. As usual, Cully Hamner's artwork flows effortlessly, and the panel layout is easy to grasp. Nothing too shocking (pun INTENDED) occurs here, since we know that BL is still around in the modern day.
I have heard recently that DC is going to stop production on the "Year One" style of stories, and to me that is a damn shame. With these sort of stories, the creatives can have some serious fun and, at the same time, put their stamp on a given character (like Black Lightning here). I can only think of one at the top of my head, Eddy Newell. Then again, I'm not a Black Lightning aficionado. Van Meter and Hamner have definitely told a great story and put their collective stamp on this character.
If you missed it the first time around, you should check it out in trade format coming this fall. I really enjoyed how Van Meter shed some light on this character. To me, I was inspired to check out some earlier BL material. This early into 2009, I'm considering Black Lightning: Year One for my favorite miniseries of the year.