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Lightning (Jennifer Pierce) is a fictional superhero published by DC Comics. A member of the Justice Society of America, she is the youngest daughter of Black Lightning and sister of the heroine Thunder. The current version of Lightning debuted in Justice Society of America vol. 3 #12 (March 2008), and was re-envisioned by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham.
Lightning first appears in the DC Comics miniseries Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, a tale of a dystopian possible future. She is among the lawless generation of superheroes who arise after the retirement of Superman. Though not identified within the story, supplemental material in the collected edition of the series refers to her as "Black Lightning's metahuman daughter." During the course of the story, Lightning joins forces with Batman's covert team of heroes as they attempt to reclaim the planet for normal humanity. It is unclear whether she survives the bomb blast that kills most of the superhumans at the story's conclusion.
A version of Lightning is later introduced into the mainstream DC Comics universe by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham, debuting in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #12 (March 2008).
Fictional character biography
Jennifer Pierce is the younger daughter of the superhero Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce) and his ex-wife Lynn Stewart. She inherits a metagene from her father which causes her to manifest superpowers when she becomes a teenager. However, like her father in his youth, she lacks the ability to properly control her electrical powers. This results in the shorting out of any electronic device that she touches. This side effect has left her feeling alienated and freakish among her peers, who have access to cell phones, televisions, the internet, and other conveniences of the modern world.
Jefferson initially forbids his daughters from following in his footsteps as a costumed hero until after they complete their education. After seeing the rough road that his eldest daughter Anissa follows when she disobeys this order as the heroine Thunder, Jefferson decides that Jennifer will need guidance. He contacts the Justice Society of America, who are in the middle of a recruitment drive.
Upon joining the Justice Society, Jennifer immediately forms a bond with fellow teen heroines Stargirl and Cyclone. She also attracts the romantic interests of Jakeem Thunder, another younger member of the team. Jennifer is at first unsure of a superhero codename, believing that her sister will "kill her" if she adopts the name Lightning as a counterpoint to Anissa's own. Nonetheless, this is the name she eventually settles on when she first goes into battle with the JSA.
Blackest Night/Brightest Day
During the events of Blackest Night, Jennifer is seen desperately trying to fight off the Black Lantern invasion of Manhattan alongside her teammates. Jennifer and Stargirl try to help Power Girl during her battle with the Black Lantern Kal-L, but the young heroines are easily defeated. Mr. Terrific ends up utilizing Lightning's electrical abilities as part of a massive bomb designed to mimic Jakeem's abilities, which ultimately destroys all of the Black Lanterns in New York City.
In the follow-up Brightest Day event, Lightning is shown on the cover of the upcoming JLA/JSA crossover, battling a crazed Alan Scott alongside her teammates and the Justice League of America. Writer James Robinson mentioned that he specifically wants to use Jennifer, and that he considers her "a very underused, but great character".
She later appears alongside fellow teen superheroines Stargirl, Supergirl, and Batgirl, as part of a team of heroines created by Wonder Woman to repel an alien invasion of Washington D.C.
Lightning later plays a key role during the team's first encounter with the new villain Scythe, using her electrical abilities to help defeat him. When the JSA chooses to stay and help rebuild the city of Monument Point (which had suffered massive amounts of damage during the battle with Scythe), Lightning is attacked and nearly killed by a villain named Doctor Chaos., but she is eventually revived by Doctor Fate. Chaos had been hired to evict all heroes from Monument Point.
When the members of the JSA arrive at the home of Anissa Pierce and her girlfriend Grace in an attempt to arrest the fugitive Black Lightning, Lightning sides with her teammates and engages in a brawl with her sister. It is revealed that there is apparently some friction between the two siblings, with Anissa stating that Jennifer was always considered the favorite while also expressing jealousy over Jennifer being allowed to pursue heroics at such a young age. Doctor Fate eventually breaks up the fight, and Black Lightning turns himself over to the authorities.
Powers and abilities
Like her father, Lightning possesses the power of electricity manipulation. She is able to generate electrical energy and project it as concentrated bolts from her hands. Lightning is also able to fly by generating a localized electromagnetic repulsion field. When manifesting her powers, Jennifer's body is surrounded by a glowing electrical aura with lightning-like spikes on her head and back. This effect is involuntary, though she has demonstrated the ability to revert to a more human appearance.
Still a young inexperienced heroine, Lightning does not have full control of her powers and will short out any electronic device or appliance she touches. It is unknown at this time if further training and refinement of her powers will result in any other abilities.