With the CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths bringing together several universes of comic book characters, fans are being treated to the likes of Brandon Routh as Kingdom Come's Superman and Kevin Conroy as a live-action Bruce Wayne. However, the TV event has also roped in another character into the Arrowverse in the shape of Cress Williams' Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning.
While the character has kept separate from the Arrowverse thus far, he'll be joining heroes such as Arrow, Flash and Supergirl in their fight against the Anti-Monitor. So while Black Lightning's third season gears up for a pushed-up release date, let's look at what you need to know about Jefferson's vigilante identity before he enters the superhero mash-up to save reality.
WHO IS BLACK LIGHTNING?
Jefferson is a high school principal in Freeland, a predominantly black community that hasn't been properly financed by the government and is kept relatively low-class. Crime and drugs are a way of life for the impoverished black youth there, which is why when Jefferson, a metahuman with the ability to manipulate electricity, retired from vigilantism, he made one of his priorities being the principal of Freeland High School.
Of course, that was just behind his family life as he also has two daughters to contend with: Jennifer and Anissa. His past crime fighting destroyed his marriage with wife, Lynn (a neuroscientist who studies metahumans), but in the course of two seasons, they've reconciled. He did try to hide a return to duty from her, but she's since accepted his life as Black Lightning, especially as their daughters have manifested their powers -- Jennifer as Lightning (who can generate electricity from within, unlike her dad) and Anissa as Thunder (who boasts durability and super-human strength).
WHO IS BLACK LIGHTNING'S ARCH NEMESIS?
This series' main villain is Tobias Whale (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III), an albino man who killed Jefferson's dad, Alvin, when Jeff was a kid. Tobias was a corrupt politician and Alvin, a reporter, got in his way. Jefferson didn't know Tobias would resurface years later, though, as the leader of the 100 gang, who were using drugs to activate or turn kids into metahuman weapons. Tobias also experimented on kids like Khalil/Painkiller (Jennifer's ex-boyfriend) to build his army, killing off other enemies at will to climb the ladder.
Tobias lived off a serum which made him near-immortal and granted him super-strength as well, leading to a very brutal feud with Jeff. While Black Lightning would oppose several sub-villains, they all seemed to be pawns of Tobias and his ally, Lady Eve, who were manipulating everyone so they could run the city. Season 2 concluded with Thunder almost killing Tobias for murdering Khalil, but her dad talked her out of it, leaving Tobias to be imprisoned while they tried to pick up the pieces as heroes who simply didn't have the word "kill" in their codebook.
WHO ARE BLACK LIGHTNING'S ALLIES?
Apart from Jeff's daughters, Gambi is his mentor and father figure. He was one of Alvin's best friends and became the Lucius Fox to the Pierce family, outfitting them with suits, devices and basically helping them with whatever scientific gadgets or treatment they needed in their war on crime. He and Jeff hit a speed bump, however, when it was revealed Gambi was a spotter for the A.S.A., who kidnapped kids for experiments. Thankfully, Gambi redeemed himself, proving to be a genuine friend to the Pierces.
Lynn also roped in another ally, although we're not sure if they can be trusted: Percy Odell, an A.S.A. head who worked with Black Lightning and his team to take Tobias down. He imprisoned the villain in the Pit at the end of Season 2, revealing the city was getting ready for a metahuman war with Markovia. That's why he wanted an army of lab rats and had Lynn monitoring the Freeland kids, not to save them, but to make sure he could replace Team Lightning. He asks Jeff's team to officially join the fight, especially as there's a power vacuum with Tobias gone, meaning Markovia will be invading soon.
It's going to be a tough ask of Jeff, because while he was replaced as principal due to escalating violence at school, having free time isn't the only factor. He's considering if he can keep placing his family in danger, but this could be the only way to free Khalil (revealed to be in Odell's stasis tanks) and other kids, and keep them safe from being weapons. Jeff might even have to turn to Inspector Henderson, one of his best friends who turned on him after figuring out he's been moonlighting as Black Lightning all these years. Either way, with Markovia, the A.S.A., and now the Crisis event coming, Black Lightning's world is in for a very electrifying ride.
Now returning Monday, October 7 at 9 pm ET/PT on The CW, Black Lightning stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce, Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce/Thunder, Christine Adams as Lynn Stewart, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as Tobias Whale, Damon Gupton as Billy Henderson, James Remar as Peter Gambi and Jordan Calloway as Khalil/Painkiller.