‘Black Lightning’: Why Jennifer Pierce Is A Refreshing Superhero

Jennifer Pierce is not the main character of Black Lightning. She is, however, a heroine in her own right. Her alter ego of Lightning gives both her father, Black Lightning, and her sister, Thunder, some stiff competition. In fact, she may even be more powerful than both of them.

Yet it is not only her powers that make her stand out. Jennifer Pierce, also known as Lightning, in Black Lightning is a refreshing new take on a superhero. Much like her father and her sister, she brings unique aspects to the oversaturated superhero genre.

Why is Jennifer Pierce AKA Lightning from ‘Black Lightning’ so refreshing?

China Anne McClain (Jennifer Pierce/Lightning) of Black Lightning
China Anne McClain (Jennifer Pierce/Lightning) promoting Black Lightning at Comic-Con 2018 | Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Let’s address the elephants in the room. Jennifer Pierce aka Lightning, portrayed wonderfully by China Anne McClain, is a young black girl. Representation in the media matters, which is why her race and gender are relevant. Just like her father and sister, she is changing the superhero landscape.

By existing as a black girl superhero, Jennifer is inspiring young black girls and women everywhere, and indeed she is probably inspiring young women of all ages and races. Superheroes like Jennifer Pierce/Lightning in Black Lightning show that everyone can be a hero. Because for being a hero, race and gender don’t matter. What matters is what is in your heart and mind.

Another reason that Jennifer/Lightning is so refreshing is that, like her father and her sister, she is a realistic vision of a superhero.

Why is Jennifer so realistic?

The first reason that Jennifer/Lightning is so realistic is that Black Lightning as a show is realistic. It shows realistic people living their lives. Some of them, like Jennifer, just happen to be superheroes as well.

Another reason that Jennifer/Lightning is realistic is that, like her father and sister, she is well-rounded. Being a superhero isn’t the only thing in her life. She goes to school, she spends time with her friends, and she acts, mostly, like a typical teenager.

How else is Jennifer Pierce/Lightning from ‘Black Lightning’ refreshing?

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She is also refreshing because she doesn’t even want her powers when she first gets them. There are many reasons for this, but the most important reasons are that she doesn’t have a choice in them and that she just wants to live a normal life. Not everyone can relate to having superpowers, but Jennifer’s reaction to them is something that many people can probably understand. While it may be hard for some to understand why Jennifer reacts so negatively to something that her sister and father embrace, there are understandable reasons for it.

One reason is that Jennifer/Lightning doesn’t have a choice in her powers. Not only did she inherit them from her father, her father only got them because of a side effect of the A.S.A.’s vaccine. Jennifer also wants to be a normal teenager, focused on partying with her friends and going to prom with her boyfriend. She feels that her powers make her a freak and wonders if anyone will be able to love her in this state.

Jennifer’s dreams of falling in love and having children seem to be unattainable due to her powers and therefore it is easy to understand why she doesn’t want them. It is easy to see why Jennifer Pierce/Lightning from Black Lightning is a refreshing kind of superhero. Not only is she refreshing because of her easy to relate to reaction to her powers, she is also realistic in other ways. And the representation she provides for many people also makes her stand out.