No. 14: Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce) – DC Comics
Olympic athlete turned educator with the power to discharge lightning bolts. When Jefferson Pierce first appeared in 1977 his powers were derived from a belt (Black Lightning #1). Eventually this was retconned and Jefferson’s powers were the result of the metagene (Invasion! #3 1989). Jefferson’s origin was updated in Black Lighting: Year One (2009). As Black Lightning, Pierce hoped to clean up the crime infested slums of his native Metropolis. Black Lightning was asked to join the Justice League of America in issue #173 (1979); he would later join Batman’s team The Outsiders (Batman and the Outsiders #1 1983).
By the mid-1990s Jefferson would become a reserve member of the JLA. He also got another ongoing series that ran for 13 issues. When Lex Luthor was elected president (Superman: Lex 2000 #1), Pierce was appointed Secretary of Education. Black Lightning became a full-time JLA member in Justice League of America #1 (2006). Jefferson has two daughters who followed in their father’s footsteps: Anissa Pierce (Thunder) and Jennifer Pierce (Lightning). Black Lightning has appeared in the DC Universe since the New 52 revamp in 2011. In 2017 DC Comics published Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, a six-issue mini series written by the character’s co-creator Tony Isabella. The CW launched Black Lightning in early 2018; actor Cress Williams plays Jefferson Pierce.
First Appearance: Black Lightning #1 (1977)
Powers: Able to generate lightning bolts that can be projected or used to create a force field. Jefferson is also able to fly on a limited basis.