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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Black Lightning: Year One #6

Black Lightning: Year One #6 [of 6]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 4, 2009

Cover date: May 2009

"Black Lightning, Year One - Part 6"

Writer: Jen Van Meter
Penciller: Cully Hamner
Inker: Cully Hamner

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Over Jefferson explaining why he ran as an Olympic athelete, we see Suicide Slums starting to take control of itself again. Residents chase off gang members. Henderson helps set up a new police station in Suicide Slum, with the goal of police interaction. In the background, a man is tortured.

The students talk about Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery, and plan for it.

The person being tortured is revealed, a source of sustenance for the creature. The creature demands that Whale bring him more from upstairs.

Jefferson talks with his very pregnant wife. She tells him there's an injunction against the land purchase, but that Lexcorp is selling a large parcel to the same people. They discuss having the baby in Suicide Slums.

At the celebration, people begin suddenly calling for Black Lightning and, beyond their control, taking guns and putting them to their own heads.

Pierce follows them despite Henderson's objections, and once they lead him to where they're going, he shocks the children back into awareness, revealing his secret identity but saving their lives. The kids later lie for him to cover his secret identity.

Inside the dome he finds the creature, Swann, holding a ritual with the Whale and others. Black Lightning runs forward to take Swann down, but Whale intercedes, fighting with magical super strength. Black Lightning pleads with him as they fight, and the Whale finally succumbs to the battle. Swann rises to take Black Lightning as a vessel. As Black Lightning nearly succumbs, he instead fights back, lashing out at Swann with a massive bolt of lightning.

Desperate, Swann leaves his new shell and goes into Whale as a last desperate move. Whale turns into a large, golem-like figure. Black Lightning takes him down with a blast.

As the police clean up (with a brief hiccup from the Golem that Lightning quickly puts down), Black Lightning stands over his neighborhood as it celebrates and remembers the maxim about justice like lightning.

5Story - 5: I like the construction here. Most miniseries like this will end the battle and do five pages of denouement. Or lack a denouement entirely. The focus is the baddie. Here, the end result of what's going on is shown early on, showing the impact of Black Lightning. The new police interaction. A citizenry emboldened. A family coming back together. It leaves room for the fight to spiral into the very end, and it subconsciously makes the action better. Neat trick.

It's fitting that Black Lightning should be the last over narrator, and it works to the plot. It inspires hope from the terror that was the last over narrator, Swann.

Bottom line, this was a hell of a series, and I'm surprised, given that the year ones and specials are usually VERY hit and miss. But then, I've never been disappointed by Jen's work.

Black Lightning is utterly revitalized as a character for me. I hope they release this in trade format.

5Art - 5: The art delivers again. Whale as a monster was done well. The final scene, with Black Lightning standing over the fireworks, is epic. The torture over the normal scenes was awesomely jarring. All in all, I'm surprised I haven't noticed Cully's work before, and will certainly watch for it after this.

5Cover Art - 5: Usually I slam words on the cover, and with good reason. Generally, they're very hokey, and badly done. Here, however, it's in the spirit of the story, and a story you're jazzed up to finish, so the reaction you get is like, "Hell yeah!" Which is weird, because I want to instantly spear words on a cover, for the most part.

Beyond that, it's representative of the issue at hand, fun, good pose. A good cover.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2009

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