I’ll admit that I wasn’t too enthusiastic of the CW’s Black Lightning from day one. With Greg Berlanti and Mara Brock Akil in charge of the show I walked in expecting a disaster. However, in spite of a Black feminist and a White male in charge of producing a show about a Black male character I had one reason for watching the show: To see the expansion of the DC Universe on Television. However, now that I know that Black Lightning won’t be a part of the Berlantiverse, I now have a reason to make that clean break from Berlanti’s DC TV shows after this season is over.
The whole idea of Black Lightning not being a part of the Berlantiverse is troubling especially when you consider his relationships to several characters in the DC Universe. Black Lightning had a significant role in Superman’s extended universe. Living in Metropolis, He’s worked with and fought against Superman. So having him as part of the same shared universe to interact with Supergirl Superman, and James Olsen, the Guardian of the Friendzone would be an opportunity to expand and diversify Supergirl’s world. And With the show being a midseason replacement, it’d be easy to build into a ratings bonanza for the first episode by segueing into his show with an initial episode establishing him in a Supergirl episode with Tyler Hochelin’s Superman guest starring.
Plus with the show being set in Metropolis, Tyler Hochelin could feature in a couple of episodes as the Man of Steel to show how significant Metropolis truly is to the Berlantiverse.
It’d also be an opportunity to expand Arrow’s world as well. Black Lightning was a core member of the Outsiders, and so it’d be a no-brainer to have Black Lightning teaming up with Arrow for a crossover. Season 5 gave us Green Arrow and the Outsiders, so why not have one of the founding members on the show as a part of the team?
But Black Lightning won’t be a part of the Berlantiverse. So we won’t be getting those stories. Because Black Lightning won’t be interacting with any of DC’s other characters onscreen.
Damn. Just Damn.
Berlanti had the opportunity of a lifetime to redeem himself in the eyes of many Black comic fans like myself. But He, Mara Brock Akil and Warner Brothers drop the football One Mo’ Gen.
Damn. Just Damn.
You’d think after emasculating James Olsen in Season 2 of Supergirl and turning DC’s resident badass Mr. Terrific into a bumbling stumbling idiot that Berlanti would be focused on making Black Lightning a shining light that presents a positive portrayal of a Black male superhero onscreen that would prove capable of standing with the rest of DC’s top heroes like Arrow, Flash, Superman, Supergirl and the Legends of Tomorrow. But with him in his own world we won’t see him being a hero in the DC universe on TV the same way we saw Falcon, War Machine and Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War.
Seeing those three heroes onscreen in Captain America: Civil War still ranks up there as one of the greatest moments in cinematic history for a Black comic fan like myself. Three Black superheroes in a movie. And all three presented in a way that makes them the equal of any of the major white characters. It’s a shame we won’t get that moment in the Berlantiverse.
With Black Lightning not being a part of the Berlantiverse, many comic fans like myself have no incentive to buy into the show and start watching it. And now fans like myself who were apprehensive about the show are thinking about finding something else to do when it comes on.
At this point I’m expecting Black Lightning to be a trainwreck. No connection to the Berlantiverse, No interaction with other DC Comics characters. Plus with a Black feminist and a White man writing and producing a TV show about a Black man I’m expecting nothing less than a disaster on the level of WB’s Birds of Prey. When Black Lightning comes on the CW I’ll tune in for the first episode. But that’s just to see how bad this show will be.
Just when you thought DC couldn’t find a way to create a fail greater than epic, they find new ways to make their properties suck that much harder.