Why ‘Black Lightning’ Is the Most Realistic Superhero Story

Superheroes are often larger than life figures that are hard to relate to. This is not true for the heroes of Black Lightning. Jefferson Pierce and his daughters Anissa and Jennifer are the kind of heroes that anyone could relate to.

You love to watch them interact and save the world together. It never gets old. Fortunately for fans, the show keeps itself grounded even amidst the more fantastical elements.

But why is Black Lightning the most realistic superhero story? Find out, ahead.

How does ‘Black Lightning’ have realistic origin stories?

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Many superhero origin stories have the heroes coming to terms with their powers almost too easily. Not so on Black Lightning. Jennifer, when she finds out she has powers, does not immediately start suiting up and saving the world. Instead, she is upset.

She feels that her whole world has been turned upside down, especially once she finds out that her father is Black Lightning. She feels lied to and betrayed and does not know what to do. Jennifer is also concerned about her powers and wonders why her parents did not warn her. After her mother, Lynn Stewart, tells her that they didn’t know she would have powers, she starts thinking about her future.

She is worried that no one will ever love her, powers and all. And this is intensified when she finds out that the reason for her parents’ divorce was her father’s powers. Jennifer’s reaction to having powers is one that many people could probably relate to.

Not everyone would embrace superpowers so easily, and that is shown with Jennifer’s story. There is also a contrast provided with Jefferson, who struggles with his powers at times but still uses them, and Anissa who immediately embraces her powers as a gift.

Why does Freeland feel like a real community?

Another reason why Black Lightning is so realistic is the portrayal of Freeland. It feels like a real place and has the problems and joys that come with that. According to the showrunner Salim Akil, he “didn’t want to be too fantastical because so many people out there are suffering and [he] felt like they needed a hero.” Black Lightning, Thunder, and Lightning can be heroes for those people.

Akil goes on to say that he “wanted someone to be – or some people to be – concerned about what’s going on in Chicago, what’s going on in Watts, what’s going in Oakland. [He] wanted people in those areas to feel like there was someone who was thinking about them and so [he] wanted the show to reflect that.” That is probably why Freeland feels so realistic as it may be based on real places like the ones mentioned.

Why else is ‘Black Lightning’ so realistic?

Black Lightning cast at Comic Con 2018
Krondon, Cress Williams, Christine Adams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, James Remar, and Damon Gupton from Black Lightning | Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Black Lightning is realistic for many reasons from the realistic portrayal of superhero origin stories to the realistic community of Freeland. What makes it the most realistic, though, is that the heart of the show is a family. They’re a realistic family too. They have their issues but they love each other and always support each other.

The Pierce family are heroes in more ways than one. They truly care about their community and do their best to help it and save it. Everyone can relate to that feeling of caring about family and your community.