Black Lightning - Gotham's Daredevil

Batman and the Outsiders #9 - Pages 1-3
How old was Black Lightning in 1984? Easy, Mike Barr tells us (click for more legible size):So that's 21 years of writing vaguely prophetic poetry (ripped off Milo Sweetman) on parchment paper + 6 years of admiring that poetry but not really understanding it + 3 years of being Black Lightning, hanging out on roofs despite his lack of flight/acrobatic ability/bat-line ownership, and wondering why the hell his costume can't have gloves. Black Lightning: He puts his hands on snow and he don't care. If at least those chimneys (how many does one building need?) were warming his hand/crotch. Come to think of it, why IS Black Lightning running on slippery roof tops? Couldn't he cover more terrain on the ground since he's an Olympic runner? I guess Batman is strict about the team acting exactly as he does. Let's drop down and see what the situation down there might be.
How you know this is a slum: We're in a well-traveled alley (note the footprints) that ends in a cul-de-sac. The locals have had to take a plank out of the fence just to go about their business normally. Black Lightning turns the corner into a darker, but just as traveled, alley. He fears nothing. In fact, as the post's title suggest, he's a Man Without Fear (if not Without Angst), like Daredevil. I mean, he's riding roof tops and fire escapes in the equivalent of Hell's Kitchen. AND he's blind. Oh, not blind you say? Well, didn't he just have a good vantage point? How didn't he catch THIS?
Two people in metahuman costumes, one huge and muscled with a terminal case of the jitters, the other a leotard-clad red and yellow hottie with luscious hair. FAIL. Or maybe I should give the FAIL award to the Masters of Disaster who "lost" Black Lightning when he walked into a dark alley. A few feet from them. In snow. Is it me or are they the worst trackers ever?

The next day, outside the "Gotham Athletic Club" (if that's not a gay bar...):
Criminal underworld clichés from the 70s and 40s are having a frank discussion about their "training regimen". It's a very brief, but crucial subplot, I'm sure. A vignette that's meant as a prologue to the soon-to-come Scarves'n'Caps crossover event. I wish Barr and Aparo didn't cut away to the Club's interior now, but plot, plot, plot!
Guys, this is Morgan Jones. Remember that name (as generic as it is) because he's going to show up several times over the course of the series and will come as close to being the Outsiders' archenemy as it is Mike Barrly possible. I hope he gets a Secret Origin because I really want to know how he got out of the "mouth piece" business and fell into a life of neatly stacked dollar piles, effete cigar holders and suits that change color to suit his mood.
Wasn't that just maroon? And kids, remember the size of that room as seen from outside the hole. Remember it because I won't get into the upcoming fight today, but let's just say it looks like it's taking place on the Plains of Pellinor. So anyway, cue the Masters of Disaster:
Always seen in shadow or trench coats, here they are, finally revealed. Well, unless you count the bleeding COVER! Don't you just hate how comics are always spoiling themselves with covers, splash pages and editorial press releases? (That last one's a more recent phenomenon.) New-Wave! Shakedown! (Insert head here.) Heatstroke! Coldsnap! Windfall! Clever names for clever clogs... well, maybe not. We'll wait to see just HOW clever these guys are. Fortunately for them, they'll only go up against the Outsiders.

But not now, and not this weekend. I just don't ruin my weekends with Outsiders comics. That's my policy. So we'll continue this discussion next week and get to know the Masters more... intimately. Be there or be Geo-Force!


Martin Gray said...

Why is The Suicide Slum Smasher parapahrasing the poetry of others and claiming it as his own? He needs to arrest himself, the thieving scumbag.

And were Marvel's Thunderbolts inspired by the poetry of Jegfferson Pierce?

With neat money like that, I suspect Morgan was playing Monopoly - the Suicide Slum edition boasts very keen prices,

Siskoid said...

If Suicide Slum is in Metropolis, what kind of horribly depressing name do Gotham's slums have, I wonder.

De said...

I'm guessing Black Lightning's electrical powers elevate his internal temperature. Make my No-Prize out to No-Cash.

Jeff R. said...

Gotham has "Crime Alley", and "The Narrows".

Jeff R. said...

Cont: So the slums aren't that depressing. On the other hand, Gotham's biggest suburb is called Bludhaven, so...

Martin Gray said...

I thought Bludhaven was a separate community (VERY separate these days).

Siskoid said...

Bludhaven is meant to be another city, but not too far from Gotham. I've always considered it Hartford to Gotham's Boston.

Delta said...

To me, Gotham is to Bludhaven as New York is to Newark, NJ. Newark's just across the river; riddled with corruption (every mayor since 1962 indicted on criminal charges); and riddled with crime ("Most Dangerous City in the Nation" per Time in 1996, the year Bludhaven was introduced).

Although Wikipedia says the geography matches Atlantic City, NJ (with Bludhaven placed in Avalon county: Avalon, NJ being a town near Atlantic City).

Siskoid said...

That works. The only reason I reference Hartford is because Bludhaven was set up as a whaling town.

Austin Gorton said...

Let's drop down and see what the situation down there might be.

And not shatter our legs in doing so how?

who "lost" Black Lightning when he walked into a dark alley. A few feet from them. In snow. Is it me or are they the worst trackers ever?

He didn't even appear to be moving that fast!


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