The Other History of the DC Universe #1
Written by John Ridley
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi
Colors by Jose Villarrubia
Letters by Steve Wands
The Rundown: Jefferson Pierce recounts the events of his life that led him to become the man and hero he is today.
Like many heroes in the DC universe, Jefferson Pierce’s life is shaped by tragedy. He recalls his life in Suicide Slums and how his father did everything he could to encourage him to be more. After his death, Jeff continues his road to athletic greatness, but finds his accomplishments hollow in the face of heroes like Superman and others on the scene. Jeff recounts his first impressions of Superman and how easily he seemed to become the hero the people of Metropolis could trust.
As he takes to the streets as Black Lightning, he wonders why the other heroes he and others seemed to admire never got their hands dirty unless it was an interdimensional or otherworldly threat. His disillusionment leads to mistrust when another hero comes looking for him in a bid to team up. With his personal life coming apart, Jefferson gets a new chance to be a hero with a new team and a broader purpose.
The Story: One of the best elements of this story is its personal nature. John Ridley does an awesome job of making this Jefferson’s story and there is a realism to the plot that makes it engaging as a reader. You feel for Jefferson while also understanding his hopes, fears and struggles. You feel his sense of isolation from the larger hero community and there is a concerted effort to showcase that sense of difference. This is a great start for a story that touches on so many things while also managing to keep the story focused on character.
The Art: Camuncoli and Cucchi do an amazing job of bringing the story to life visually without taking away from the story or the humanity of the characters. There is a chronicle nature to the story itself and that is brilliantly reflected in the art.