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"Don't be a hero to the people, be a hero for the people."
John Diggle quoting Jefferson Pierce[src]

Jefferson "Jeff" Pierce (born September 12, 1974)[1] is the principal of Garfield High School and a very well-respected and influential figure in the community of Freeland, thus leading to him being nicknamed "Black Jesus".[2][3][4] In his youth, he was given a vaccine which granted him electricity-based powers, which he used in secret as the vigilante Black Lightning, nicknamed the Neon Negro by his father's killer, Tobias Whale. It was later revealed that Jefferson, along with Anissa and Jennifer were the only stable meta-humans in Freeland because of their relation to the original meta-human Gravedigger. He is also the best friend of the late Bill Henderson, a close friend of Peter Gambi, and a good friend of Barry Allen, and a member of the Crisis team.

After defeating Tobias Whale, Jefferson confirms his retirement, leaving the duty of protecting of Freeland to his team.

In 2021, Jefferson was called in by Barry to help prevent the Armageddon that Despero foretold.


Original multiverse

Early life and tenure as Black Lightning

Jefferson watches as Tobias kills his father.

"Do you remember why you became Black Lightning? You wanted to give the people hope. You wanted the evil that's out there to have something to fear."
Peter Gambi to Jefferson Pierce[src]

Jefferson was born on September 12, 1974,[1] to Alvin Pierce. At one point Jefferson was given a vaccine by his father, which Alvin later found out was tainted, this would eventually be how Jefferson would get his powers. One day, a young Jefferson was walking home with Alvin from work who told Jefferson "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today”, to which Jefferson then jokingly told him that the quote was by Malcolm X. Alvin then noticed Peter Gambi waiting on the side of the street. Alvin then told Jefferson to go wait in the car and while Alvin talked to Gambi, Jefferson watched in the car from afar. A few days later, Jefferson got into a fight at school, which ended with Jefferson breaking someone's nose. Afterwards, Jeff was suspended from school and picked up by Alvin, who lectured Jefferson on what he did. Alvin then went back to work and told Jefferson to read the entire constitution, in order to make sure that Jeff didn't spend all day watching TV and that he would quiz Jefferson at dinner.[5] One night, Jefferson watched as Tobias Whale murdered his father.[6] Later, a heartbroken Jefferson attended his father's funeral to mourn him, all while Gambi watched from afar. One night, when Jefferson was twelve, he took part in a riot, which he was chased down an alley by two SWAT officers and accidentally set off his powers for the first time, knocking out both of the officers. Jefferson than ran down another alley and was knocked unconscious after absorbing electricity from an electric fence. He was then found in the alley by Peter Gambi, who discovered Jefferson's powers and then began raising Jefferson, while keeping Jefferson's powers a secret from him. After this, it would be 15 years before Jefferson's powers fully manifested.[5] In order to deal with the recent loss of his father, Gambi helped Jeff distract himself from it by learning about history.[7] At some point, he became friends with a man name Two-Bits.[8]

Jefferson uses his powers against cops.

At some point, Jefferson was trained in fighting and tactics by Gambi. Eventually, he discovered that he had powers, after this he "did a few things here and there", before he became Black Lightning, it "took him a while before he committed and got the suit".[9] In his youth, Jefferson earned a gold medal at the Olympics.[2]

Pierce would be in his hometown, Freeland, living with his wife, Lynn Stewart, and their two daughters, Anissa and Jennifer. He initially kept his powers a secret, with only two people knowing the truth – his wife, Lynn, and his friend, Gambi. With the rise of the criminal gang The 100, Jefferson eventually saw that the people of Freeland were losing hope, Jeff then realized that with the use of his powers, that he could provide the hope Freeland had lost.[5] He would be aided by Gambi who created his suit.[2]

Black Lightning in his early years.

Years of fighting The 100 took its toll on Jefferson and his family, and Lynn implored him to give it up. Jefferson decided to retire as Black Lightning to focus on his family, although Lynn ultimately divorced him. Jefferson refocused his efforts on educating the next generation as principal of Garfield High School in 2011, telling himself that he saved more lives that way than he ever did as Black Lightning.[2]

At some point between 2008 and 2016, Jefferson met and shook hands with President Barack Obama.[10]

Return of Black Lightning

Black Lightning is reborn.

"It is time that people know that Black Lightning is back."
—Jefferson Pierce to Lynn Stewart[src]

In 2018, after Anissa participated in a violent protest, Jefferson went to the Freeland Police Department with Jennifer to pick her up. They made their way to a fundraiser at Garfield High School, but were stopped on their way by police, initially believing Jefferson to be a criminal from a nearby robbery. Eventually making it to the school, Jefferson was introduced by Senator Turner, before giving his own speech to motivate the students and faculty. While at the fundraiser, he talked to Henderson and Lynn, flirting with the latter. Jefferson soon headed home, finding Jennifer nowhere. He called Anissa, who explained that she'd gone to Club 100 with Kiesha. He headed there, seeing her being forced into a private room. He attempted to enter the room, but was stopped by a guard, who he was forced to electrocute. He then entered into a firefight with gang members, taking them all out. As he escaped, he was stopped by police, who he was forced to electrocute to unconsciousness to get away. Injured in the fight, he went to Gambi's Custom Tailoring, Gambi patching him up. He suggested that Jeff continue the fight as a vigilante, but Jefferson disagreed. Returning home, Lynn accused Jeff of taking up the Black Lightning mantle again, but he denied it. The following morning, Jefferson went for a run, being joined by Jennifer and Anissa. Arriving at work, Pierce was met by Miss Fowdy, who told him of the board's plan to implement metal detectors in the school. Hating the idea, he asked Fowdy to pass this on to the board. After watching some found footage of himself as Black Lightning, sent by Gambi, Jefferson was pulled outside to an altercation. He prevented Will from pulling a gun out and shooting anyone, telling him to leave. After the event, Pierce reprimanded Anissa. He then headed to Lala, asking that he keep Will away from his daughters. Despite this, however, Will still returned, kidnapping them. Jefferson talked to Henderson, before heading to Gambi for a new suit, deciding to reclaim the Black Lightning title. Donning his new suit, Black Lightning made his way to the Seahorse Motel. He beat up some thugs, before electrocuting Will and dropping him on his car. Jeff then headed home to see Anissa and Jennifer and comfort Lynn.[2]

Jefferson offering to help Lawanda.

Sometime following, Jefferson woke up with lightning coursing through his veins, causing him immense pain. He was found on the floor by Lynn, who comforted him, reminiscing of their earlier years. The following morning, Jefferson talked to a group of parents at Garfield High, reassuring them that their kids would be safe from The 100. He was interrupted, however, by Lawanda White, who talked about her daughter, Shaquandalyn, who'd been kidnapped by the gang. She asked Pierce if he could go in and rescue Shaquandalyn, but he refused. After that, he walked with Henderson, scolding him for letting the Seahorse Motel reopen, as well as for letting Will escape. Later that day, after Lala sent Malik to scare Jennifer, Jeff approached Lala, threatening him. Jefferson was beat to the ground, but decided not to use his powers. Jefferson headed to Gambi's Custom Tailoring, where Gambi encouraged him to take vigilantism back up, but Jeff emphasized that he only wished to take down Lala for good. That night Henderson stopped by Jefferson's house, checking in with him and letting him know that Lawanda had posted herself outside of the Seahorse Motel. The following day, Jefferson headed to the motel, imploring that Lawanda stop before she was hurt. He offered her 48 hours to help. That night, Jefferson walked in on Lynn and they discussed their girls, before sharing an intimate moment. Later that night, however, Jefferson was called by Henderson to tell him that Lawanda was dead. Angry that acting as a civilian had done nothing, he definitively decided to become a vigilante again. The morning after, Gambi called, having found Will's body. The following morning, having looked through Will's phone, Gambi gave Pierce Lala's address. That night, Black Lightning stormed the building, climbing the stairs and knocking out all of Lala's security. Finding Lala, he began beating him, only to be stopped by a squad of police, led by Inspector Henderson. Black Lightning ran for the ledge, jumping over it. Jefferson returned home, letting Lynn know it was over. She questioned whether he was going to remain a vigilante, to which he replied he would, causing her to leave. He later reminisced over old photos of Lynn.[3]

Jefferson attended Lawanda's funeral at Freeland United Methodist Church, listening to Reverend Jeremiah Holt's request for people to march against The 100's tyranny. Following the service, Jeff and Henderson followed Holt around, trying to dissuade him from doing anything, but he refused. He left, going to Gambi's to try out modifications to his Black Lightning gauntlets. Initially he had no luck, but he persisted. The following day, Jefferson talked with Henderson in the halls of Garfield High. The inspector informed him that only a single police car could work the march, which angered Pierce. Because of this, Jefferson conferred with Gambi, who he asked to put up roadblocks to divert the crowds to minimize chaos. He returned home to have dinner with Lynn and Jennifer, the latter of whom told her parents that she wished to have sex with her boyfriend that weekend, which left both parents at a loss for words. Lynn met Jeff in his office the following day, offering to talk to Jennifer, while Jeff would talk to Khalil. Stopping him in the hall, Jefferson asked Khalil how he showered, requesting every detail, using it as an allegory for having sex with his daughter, leaving Khalil dumbfounded. That night, Jefferson and Gambi conferred, discussing their course of action during the march. Jeff suited up and headed out, watching the crowd from a rooftop. He noticed one of Tobias Whale's gunmen approaching, jumping down and using his powers to deflect bullets. He was able to knock the man out, only for the crowd to begin singing "Amazing Grace". During this time, Tobias rounded the corner, having his henchwoman shoot at him, instead hitting Reverend Holt and Khalil. Ensuring Holt was okay, Black Lightning escaped. Jefferson then made his way to St. Lewis Hospital, where he sat with Lynn while their daughters sat together. Later that night, Jennifer joined her family after having talked to a doctor, explaining that Khalil would likely never walk again.[4]

Black Lightning saves Bernard.

Jefferson arrived at school one morning, being alerted to a commotion in the toilets. He came across a high, temporarily superpowered Bernard Lewis. He was forced to use his powers to electrocute Bernard, barely knocking him unconscious, finding the drugs. Jeff conferred with Gambi, who recognized it as Green Light. Jefferson went to check on the family, before hitting the streets as Black Lightning, getting the location of its supplier, Two-Bits, from a low-level thug, Block. The following morning, Jefferson had a meeting with Bernard and his father, along with Vice Principal Fowdy, ensuring them that he would protect Bernard from expulsion. Bernard gave up his dealer's name, Ronald Wright, only for Gambi to inform him that Wright had overdosed on his own drugs. That afternoon, Jeff sat with Lynn as Jennifer came home, suggesting that she stop seeing Khalil, as she already had enough on her plate. Later on, they hosted Bill and Veretta Henderson for dinner. After Anissa went to leave, Jefferson check that she was okay, to which she replied affirmatively. Later, Jefferson visited Two-Bits at Tanner's Taphouse, asking that he stop dealing Green Light. Refusing to do so, Jeff returned as Black Lightning, striking fear into him, before knocking him out. The following morning, Jefferson was given an ultimatum by the school board: retain his final say on misdemeaning students and allow Bernard to be expelled, or be given an equal vote amongst the board along with Bernard's staying; ultimately, he chose the latter. That night, Black Lightning tracked down a warehouse with supplies of Green Light. Initially intending to investigate it, he heard what he thought to be explosions. He went to investigate, but found nothing but overturned cars and a cracked pavement. The following morning, Jefferson headed to the hospital to comfort Khalil's mother. They were then given news on Khalil's permanent paralysis, which he delivered directly to Khalil. In his office later, Jeff called Lynn to discuss the situation, but she ended their call short. He then received a call from Mr. Lewis, who told him that he'd followed Bernard to a dope house, where Bernard had hoped to get another fix, only for his father to be beaten up. Black Lightning headed there, beating up all of the thugs and rescuing Bernard. In the morning, Jefferson ensured Mr. Lewis that his son would get the right treatment and be set on the right path. After he left, Jeff received a call from Lynn, apologizing for hanging up and admitting her love for him.[8]

Gambi installed a feature into Jeff's vigilante suit, which allowed him to hover in the air. He tested the feature out, before noticing two cops pointing their guns at a man high on Green Light. He flew down to stop them shooting him, electrocuting the man to unconsciousness, suggesting they use their tasers first in future. He later went to a drug store, where a man attempted to return an empty bottle of medicine. As the cashier couldn't do anything about it, Jefferson offered to buy the man the medicine, asking only that he show someone else good will in the future. He suddenly suffered an intense pain in his head, but he recovered. Returning home, Jefferson received a text from Gambi with an address. Black Lightning headed there, finding a space full of chemicals used to make Green Light. The owner appeared, pointing a gun at Black Lightning, but the vigilante knocked him down, making him name his supplier, Joey Toledo. Jefferson returned to Gambi's, yelling at him for not telling him of Toledo's return to Freeland. Gambi claimed to not have known, but Jefferson continued to yell, before collapsing mid-sentence. Finally waking up, Lynn was there, making him promise to not go after Joey until they could determine what was wrong with him. Jefferson went home to rest, where Jennifer asked him about some of his father's research, but Jefferson simply shot down his ideas, claiming them to be "wild". Soon after, Jeff went to Henderson's car and put a phone in it. He waited for Henderson to arrive, telling him of Joey Toledo's return and asking him for a location once Henderson had found him. The following morning, following Jennifer having had a fight with Lana, she and her mother and aunt arrived at the Pierce residence, hoping to settle things. They adults eventually made amends and ended in friendly conversation. After they left, Lynn scolded Jennifer for her actions, though Jefferson was impressed that she'd taken on two girls at once. Despite this, however, he later instilled that fighting should only be defensive, not offensive. That night, Henderson called, giving the location of Toledo's girlfriend, Caroline Brown, and also potentially Toledo himself. Jefferson headed there, despite caution from Gambi, and found Caroline. She hesitantly handed over her phone, which he used to lure Joey out. The two engaged in combat, but Toledo gained the upper hand when Black Lightning once again suffered shooting pains in his head.[11]

Black Lightning blasts lightning at Anissa.

Attempting to use some lightning to escape, Jefferson passed out. He was quickly rescued by Gambi, who took him back to his shop, where Lynn again helped tend to him. Once he awoke, Lynn admitted that he was fine by that point. He attempted to sweet talk her, but she burst out in anger, admitting frustration at always having to see him bruised and bloodied. The following day Jefferson once again picked Anissa up from the Freeland Police Department following a protest, causing him to snap and lecture her on living as a black woman in America. That night he went to Gambi's, where Gambi explained the problems he'd been having as a result of having the resistance in the suit too high. The following morning Jefferson researched albinos, discovering that they had to have regular medical checkups. Because of this, he found Tobias Whale's doctor, Henry Mayfield. He confronted him as Black Lightning, asking him to help stop Whale, giving him a phone to keep in contact. The next day at school, Vice Principal Fowdy showed him a social media post mocking his daughter by her own boyfriend. Angry, he found Jennifer on her own. He cheered her up, offering some words of inspiration. He subsequently took her to see Khalil, but they quickly left after Khalil was only bitter. That night, Jefferson planted himself above Dr. Mayfield's practice, watching as Tobias and his associates got out of their car. Gambi attempted to plead with him, but Jefferson was adamant. That was, however, until Gambi patched through Lynn. She reasoned that their daughters needed him, before some thugs broke into her work, causing him to shift his focus. When he showed up, he saw a costumed vigilante, seemingly the previous thug. The two fought, Jefferson eventually gaining the upper hand, before he realized it to be his own daughter, Anissa. They had Gambi rush her home, where they tended to her wounds. As she woke up, she was shocked to see her father in his Black Lightning suit.[6]

The following morning, Jefferson accompanied Lynn to Freeland Police Department as she was questioned on the break-in. Inspector Henderson questioned Jefferson as to whether anyone might want to hurt him, being a prominent figure in Freeland, but he feigned having any idea. As Jeff and Lynn left, they discussed the box of research Anissa had left with Lynn, as well as Anissa's powers and the possibility of Jennifer manifesting some. Heading to school, Jefferson was called by Henderson as Black Lightning, asking if he knew of any other metahumans in Freeland, but he again feigned ignorance. Later in the day, Anissa visited Jefferson's office. She quickly suggested that they later go bust a Green Light house, but he suggested she stick to her regular life, further scolding her for leaving dangerous research with her mother without the full picture. The morning after, Jennifer sensed tension between Jefferson and Anissa, and so he claimed that it was simply the result of him missing an appointment with her. That night, Jefferson comforted Anissa after she discovered David Poe to have been killed. He received a call from Lynn, hurrying over to Gambi's. While there, Lynn requested that he train Anissa, viewing it as a form of protection, but he was hesitant. Later, Black Lightning met with Henderson, who revealed the likely location of Tobias, at the jazz club 555. The vigilante headed there, ambushing Tobias and his crew. He blasted a few, accidentally redirecting one man with a machine gun. As most of Tobias' crew escaped, he attempted to help Tori, who had sustained a hit. She refused to believe, instead dying. Jeff headed home, where he vowed to help train Anissa. He suddenly received a call from Henderson, Lady Eve having been electrocuted to death, the inspector believing the kill to have been done by Black Lightning.[12]

Anissa saves Jefferson's life.

Jefferson began training Anissa, informing her that they needed to clear Black Lightning's name before he could get back in the suit. He returned home, reminiscing with Lynn about Anissa had always been stubborn. Shortly after, Jeff and Anissa made their way to Freeland City Morgue, directed by Gambi, finding the body of Lady Eve, complete with burn marks made with something nuclear. Tracking radioactive signatures around Freeland, Gambi pinpointed the weapon in Hampton Woods. Jefferson and his daughter went to investigate. Initially finding the weapon, they noticed someone coming. They hid, before Jefferson attempted to sneak up on the man. Noticing the weapon to be about to explode, Anissa ran for her father, tackling him over and covering him from the blast. They returned home, Jefferson pumped up on endorphins that his daughter had saved him, but this was quickly cut short when Lynn told him to talk to Gambi, who she claimed to have not told them everything he should have. Heeding her advice, Jefferson headed to Gambi's apartment, where he revealed his true name to be Peter Esposito, and his role in Jefferson's gaining powers. Angry at Gambi, Jefferson told him to stay away from his family, threatening him.[9]

Thunder and Black Lightning destroy a Green Light production facility.

Angry at Gambi, Jefferson began to box, breaking the punching bag with some lightning. He called Henderson, asking him to help with getting rid of Green Light permanently. Returning home, Jefferson stopped Jennifer in her tracks, having just learnt of Jefferson and Jennifer's roles as superheroes. He and Lynn scolded Anissa for having something so disrespectful as tell Jennifer, before reassuring Lynn in private that he would always be there for both of their girls. Jennifer came back into the room, she and Jeff deciding to find the connection between Green Light and a vaccine containing its active ingredients. They went to public records, finding bank statements from BendsCORP, who had been wiring monthly payments to a company called Onshore, Inc. From here, they masked themselves and paid Teddy Evans a visit, threatening his family's life in order to gain his documents on BendsCORP. Using this information, they went after a lead, Martin Proctor. Anissa was late, but she wore a new suit, which impressed Jefferson. They went to a location, watching as Proctor entered the building and left. They followed him, entering a Green Light laboratory and destroying it, with Proctor getting away. Returning home, Jefferson apologized to Jennifer for having kept the Black Lightning secret from her. As he went to leave, she suggested they watch a movie, Princess and the Frog, to which he agreed.[13]

Having investigated the situation herself, Anissa went to Jefferson after having discovered a warehouse containing meta-humans in powered containers, figuring that they were the missing children from thirty years prior. The two suited up, heading back there, but they had gone, leaving only traces of having been dragged out. Realizing it to be an ambush, Jefferson protected the two of them in time, before Anissa helped to take the enemy down. Returning home, Jefferson explained to Anissa how the people, including himself, got their powers. Realizing the stakes, Anissa attempted to convince Jeff that they needed Gambi's help, but he just suggested they sleep. The following morning, Jefferson was visited by Two-Bits, who told him all about the kidnapping of Neema that he'd witnessed. Because of this, Jefferson asked Jennifer to stay home from school, with Anissa staying with her. Jefferson headed to Bowman College, where he told Lynn of his and Anissa's findings, as well as Two-Bits'. The two flirted for a bit, before Jeff left. Heading back home, Jefferson consoled Jennifer, assuring her that even though having powers was hard, it was something she'd have to work through. That night, Black Lightning ambushed Two-Bits, asking him about delivery trucks out of the city, looking for the powered containers. Continuing his search, he happened upon Malik selling drugs. He suited down, approaching Malik and offering a mentorship program the following day at Garfield High. Arriving at Garfield High, Malik initially didn't show, but eventually he did. Jefferson admitted that the mentorship was only for him, not an entire group, and so they begun. However, their session was cut short when some A.S.A. agents entered, threatening Gambi's life if Jefferson didn't follow them. Giving Malik a book of poems, Jeff complied. They arrived at the building, threatening Jefferson's life in order to get Gambi to reveal Black Lightning's identity. Jefferson caused a power outage, allowing Gambi to kill the A.S.A. agents and for them to escape. Realizing that Gambi hadn't given him up, the two mended fences, before Gambi requested that Jeff protect his family and find the spotter that was finding meta-humans for the A.S.A. Because of this, the family moved into Jefferson's childhood home.[14]

Garfield students stops the police from arresting Jefferson.

Black Lightning and Thunder went to a compound which Gambi had determined to be the location of the A.S.A.'s meta-humans, but all they found was weapons to be used against Black Lightning, which they destroyed. They returned to base, where Gambi reassured that he could still find the meta-humans based on their energy signature, before Jeff went to take his suit off. Jefferson and Anissa went home, eating food while Jeff explained how Gambi had been tortured by the A.S.A. The following morning, Jefferson stood out the front of Garfield High, greeting people as they entered the school. He stopped Anissa, asking her to keep watching over Jen. Shortly into the day, Jefferson led a student group meeting, asking what everyone was grateful for. They were interrupted, however, by police forcing themselves into Jefferson's car, allegedly finding Green Light. They also went through his office, finding more, and so arresting him. They were stopped by a group of students, as well as Jennifer and Anissa, but Jefferson asked them all to stand down. Arriving at the police station, Jeff was forced to participate in a cavity search, before changing clothes so that they could test his for traces of Green Light. After this, he was interrogated by Henderson, before the two were interrupted by Cayman, who told them that Jefferson was to be transferred as per a national security directive. Because of this, Bill visited him in his cell, asking if he knew why he was being subjected to such a high-reaching order, but Jeff feigned ignorance. Jefferson was soon exonerated, Glennon confessing to planting the drugs, as well as giving up Cayman as dirty. Jefferson was brought food by Henderson, before returning home to his family, much to their surprise. Gambi arrived and Jefferson expressed his gratitude for everything, even if he couldn't forgive some things. They went to eat, Jeff allowing Gambi to say grace.[15]

Meta outbreak

Jeff had to learn to adjust to new things in his life such as being replaced as principal at the school at worked at and having to deal with unexpected metas in Freeland.

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Anti-Monitor Crisis

Black Lightning brought to help save the multiverse.

"Where's the future? Right here. Whose life is this? Mine. What are you gonna do with it? Live it by any means necessary."
—Jefferson Pierce[src]

Jeff was taken by a mysterious light, just as the antimatter wave destroyed Freeland.[16]. He was later revealed to have been taken by Pariah and brought to Central City, where he encountered Earth-1 Flash, Vibe, Frost and Earth-90 Flash. Pariah told Jeff that they needed his powers to help contain the antimatter cannon. Jeff used his powers to contain it for a little while, and ultimately Earth-90 Flash sacrificed himself to destroy the cannon after thanking Jeff.

Later, Jeff is brought to the Waverider, where he and Earth-1 Flash talk about their lost families. He witnesses Harbinger (under the Anti-Monitor's control) restart the anti-matter wave and destroy Earth-1. He stands with the other heroes as the anti-matter consumes him, the Waverider and everyone else on it.[17]

New multiverse

One of the major changes caused by the Crisis is that Jefferson Pierce was one of the first super heroes, establishing his secret identity as Black Lightning in 1998.[18]

New Earth

"Martian came, got in my head, told me y'all were caught up. It's been a weird day."
—Jefferson Pierce to Mick Rory and Frost[src]

After the universe was restarted, Jeff ended up back home and Martian Manhunter came to catch him up on all the events since he wasn't a paragon. Afterward, he suits up and goes to S.T.A.R. Labs to help out. After meeting a shadow demon, Heatwave and Killer Frost argue who should take it out. Before it could attack, Jeff appears and shoots shoots it with lightning. Frost complements his suit and asks if he's ready to fight more shadow demons, to which he says he is. As the three of them hold back the shadow demons, Mick asks Jeff where he's from and is told that he's from Freeland, adding on that he was informed of the situation via J'onn.[19]

Battle on Earth-Prime

Regaining his memories, Jeff went to Central City to protect Nash Wells, Ray Palmer, and Ryan Choi from Shadow demons. When Mick Rory and Frost argued, Black Lightning saved the duo from a Shadow demon. While fighting alongside his allies, Black Lightning and Mick had a rivalry.[19]

New team

"I never met Oliver, but he must have a good dude."
—Jefferson Pierce to Barry Allen[src]

Black Lightning joins the Crisis team.

After the battle, Clark Kent, Kara Danvers, J'onn J'onzz, Sara Lance, Kate Kane, Barry and Jefferson lined up before Oliver's memorial at the S.T.A.R. Labs hall, where his Green Arrow suit is now being kept. After paying their respects, Jeff asked why they were in a condemned building and Barry explains that this was a place they could use to gather in case the world is ever in danger again. Jeff questions the necessaity of it, asking how often the world nearly comes to an end. This leads to everyone else looking down, knowing the many times it has occurred. Jeff then realizes and Kate sympathises with him, saying how she was the new kid last time. Barry then shows the team a gathering table with all their symbols emblazoned on various chairs, including Black Lightning's.[19]

Rescuing his love

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War for Freeland

Upon return from Markovia, Jefferson told Jen that she needed to sit in a tub of ice water to cure her soreness. Meanwhile, he went to debrief Odell about the rescue effort, also informing him that he saved Helga Jace. Odell said that he wanted to see Dr. Jace, but Jefferson was more concerned whether Odell would keep his word about erasing the records the A.S.A. had on Black Lightning's team. After Odell said that he would do his part, Jefferson revealed that the opposition leader was an American meta-human calling himself "Gravedigger"; Odell, coldly and without eye contact, said that that name was unfamiliar to him.

Jefferson returned home and smiled as he cooked with Lynn. Suddenly, she started to faint; Jefferson caught her. She explained that she was addicted to the power she once had and the withdraw was making her sick. At the family dinner, the Pierce family decides that there will be no more secrets between them; Jefferson, for his secret, tells them that he helped to save the universe.

Assisting Thunder and Grace against Markovians in Freeland

Later that night, Jefferson was called to assist Thunder and Grace Choi because Markovians were invading and killing Perdi. They soon learned that Thierry and Anaya were abducted.

When Jefferson goes to Gambi's Custom Tailoring with Lynn on the request of Gambi, Jefferson learns the origins of the powers of Tyson Sykes, also called Gravedigger.[20]

When the A.S.A refused to help Freeland in the wake of Gravedigger's plan to attack the city, Jefferson decided to create his own team and attempted to appeal to Lala for his help. However, his attempts were fruitless. Jeff was later informed by Lynn about a surprising revelation concerning Gravedigger, learning that the man is, in fact, his distant uncle. Dealing with this fact, Jeff is reminded by Lynn that he may have to kill Gravedigger to save the city. That evening, during dinner at Anissa's place, Jeff learns that her and Grace plan to get married, though the happy moment quickly dies down when Gravedigger finally arrives in Freeland. Jennifer is the first to confront him as Lightning and the two battle, though she is defeated by the time Jeff enters the scene as Black Lightning. Seeing her lifeless body, Jeff realizes that her heart has stopped and, luckily, is able to get it beating again. Gravedigger then appears before him and Jeff charges at him in super-speed.[21]

Black Lightning's team.

Jeff and Gravedigger battle head-to-head, where the latter pieces together the realization that Lightning is Jeff's daughter. Jeff, in turn, reveals his relation to him as Gravedigger's Markovian allies are in the process of taking Lightning. Jeff is unable to stop them as both Gravedigger and his allies disappear with Jen. Intent on finding where they've taken his youngest daughter, Jeff goes to Gambi, who provides the location thanks to help from T.C.. Brandon insists on joining him in rescuing Jen and Jeff begrudgingly allows it.

Black Lightning finds his daughter trapped in a cell and frees her; they decide to go the Pitt to stop Gravedigger once and for all and tell Brandon to meet them there as they take flight. At the Pitt, they see members of the Freeland Resistance knocked out on the ground. Suddenly, they hear gunfire; when they approach, the costumed heroes battle Markovian troopers. Black Lightning is saddened by the death of his best friend Bill Henderson, who sacrificed himself to keep the heroes from being ambushed earlier.

Inside the Pitt, Black Lightning finds Lynn with the body of Carson Williams, but she says that she would not like to talk about that at that moment, so he leaves it alone. Lynn says that she needs more time to make the cure so Black Lightning goes to fight Gravedigger who is in battle with other team members.

Upon finding the original meta-human, the two have an intense battle; however, Lynn arrives with the cure and neutralizes Gravedigger's powers, allowing Black Lightning to knock him unconscious. A call comes from Gambi that the Pitt is ready to self-destruct; Lynn makes Black Lightning choose between saving her or Gravedigger because he doesn't have time to save both from the explosion.

Days later, the Pierce family dressed as their alter-egos testifies before a tribunal of judges about the War for Freeland. There, the A.S.A. is officially disbanded.[22]

One year later

Jefferson at Henderson's grave.

Following the dissolution of the A.S.A. and the War for Freeland, Jefferson began to mourn Henderson's death during the conflict. Visiting his friend's grave, he envisions his father. After leaving the graveyard, Jefferson witnesses two police officers harassing a black man, having racially profiled him for carrying drugs. Jefferson electrocutes the officers in a moment of anger, quickly regretting it; he decides to alter the memories of the officers and disable the cameras in the vicinity, thereby preserving his identity. Jeff then goes to counseling with Lynn, discussing the events of last year with Dr. Bowlan. Once the session ends, Jefferson later learns about Henderson's new replacement as chief of police, Ana Lopez, on the news and that Tobias Whale has returned to Freeland under the guise of legitimacy, seemingly wishing to help the city rebuild after the war. Jefferson receives a call from Detective Hassan Shakur, Henderson's protege, who arranges to meet him. Obliging his request, Jeff is given a note written by Henderson concerning Shakur, promising that he's a good officer and can be trusted.

At work the next day, Chief Lopez and Detective Shakur visit him while investigating a case, revealed to be the the same one he covered up the day earlier. Being informed that his license plate matches a car witnessed on camera, Jeff fruitlessly tries to lie his way out of suspicion. Later, Jeff was at the Sanctum when Jennifer was quickly brought in after being attacked by a meta-human weapon, leading to an argument between him and Anissa concerning their recklessness as vigilantes while working with Gambi to find the shooter responsible. Having suffered from the culminative events of the last few days, Jeff pays a visit to the gang member's house and begins mercilessly attacking him, rendering him hospitalised after being blinded by him.[23]

Jefferson later tries to convince Marcel Payton to not quit working as a teacher after his son was killed during a conflict between the Kobra Cartel, The 100 and Lightning. Going outside after work, he comes face-to-face with Tobias, who displays immunity to his electric shock blasts when being attacked by Jeff; he is then told by Tobias that his sister's death will be avenged, though he will focus on reinventing his status in Freeland for the time being. Once the confrontation is over, Jeff visits Gambi to see if he was able to find Jennifer's attacker, though Gambi, now working for weapons manufacturer Monovista International, refuses to aid him due to his recent actions as a vigilante. At home, Jeff calls Baron to receive the information from him instead. With this information, Jefferson visits the man's house and attacks him.[24]

Jefferson vs. Behemoth.

The morning after, Jeff sees that Marcel has returned to work, though sees him with a black eye. Marcel lies to him after Jeff inquires on how he received it. Suspicious of this, Jeff secretly follows Marcel after work and discovers that he's been fighting in a secret club run by Lala. Jeff immediately confronts Lala, who demands that Marcel should discontinue fighting. After witnessing Marcel getting beaten badly in his next fight, Jeff offers to take his place, facing off against Behemoth and narrowly winning.

Afterwards, Jeff takes Marcel to his father's home and insists he stay there until he can reclaim his family. After Marcel accepts the proposal, Jefferson leaves in good spirits, having helped someone as himself instead of Black Lightning. He later visits the Sanctum to see Gambi, who is studying one of Monovista's Direct Energy Rifles. Jeff is informed of the danger the rifles represent and willingly relinquishes his suit to Gambi to test the weapons; he reveals that Black Lightning is once again done when Gambi says he might need the suit. He explains that, after helping someone as a civilian, he feels better than he did being a vigilante. Gambi tries to remind him of the last time he quit, though Jeff doubles down and remains adamant this time. Just then, Jefferson decides to make things right with Lynn and leaves to return home to her. Upon arriving home, Jeff sees flowers and an invitation to dinner, mistakenly believing they were for him, and leaves for the restaurant. However, Jeff is shocked to see Lynn with Tobias and angrily leaves.[25]

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Final battle with Tobias

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Helping Barry Allen

Jefferson is reunited with Barry in the Hall of Justice.

A few months later, Jefferson donned his suit again to go to the Hall of Justice, as Barry asked for his help to prevent the Armageddon that Despero had predicted from happening.[26]

Jefferson learned that Barry called the Injustice Protocol, which was that if one of them turned bad (like when the team faced Faust on one occasion), the rest of the team had to stop him. Understanding Barry's situation, Jefferson agreed to help his friend, but Barry wanted Jefferson to take away his powers to avoid Armageddon.

Black Lightning tries to strip Barry of his powers.

He and Barry started working, but Jeff tried to convince Barry to decide his own future. Jefferson and Barry talked about Joe West and Jefferson also commented on Henderson's sacrifice. With everything ready, Black Lightning used all his electricity to get Barry out of the Speed ​​Force, but it was impossible.

Black Lightning saw that Barry became enraged, which caused the two to argue and have a brief fight, in which Black Lightning won. By calming Barry down, Black Lightning and his friend reconciled as he promised to help him not turn evil, but Despero showed up to kill Barry. Black Lightning, Iris West-Allen, and Deon Owens confronted Despero for Barry to go to 2031 to find out what would happen.[27]


"Do you remember what you said when we discovered my powers? You said it was a gift. A blessing from God. It's still a gift. It's still a blessing from God. And I intend to use it. Not just for the girls, but for all the other people out there who need me."
—Jefferson Pierce to Lynn Stewart[src]

Jeff cares deeply for his family and is extremely protective to a fault, as he was willing to take up the mantle of Black Lightning again once more after nine years away from it, just in order to save his daughters, Anissa and Jennifer, after they had been taken hostage by The 100.[2] When Lynn was abducted by Markovians, Jeff immediately assembled a team to rescue her. As a principal, Jeff extends the same values to his students and fellow teachers, often going above and beyond to shelter the former from members of The 100 and giving aid to his co-workers whenever needed. These qualities had earned the respect of even Latavious Johnson, a former student who became the leader of The 100.

Jeff is a very selfless individual, as he was willing to give up his say as principal, to his saying only counting as one vote, in exchange for the school board not expelling Bernard Lewis from Garfield High School.[8]

Jeff has a strong moral compass, as when Gambi mentioned that Jeff might have to kill a shooter in order to save a group of marchers, and while he didn't like the idea, he knew he might have to do this in order to save innocent civilians.[4] He also almost crossed a line, when he was trying to kill Tobias Whale for having murdered his father, but after a talking with Lynn he remembered that killing his enemies wasn't the proper way.[6]

However, a year after the War for Freeland, where his best friend Bill Henderson was killed, Jeff became noticeably angrier and more brutal in his vigilante activities, hospitalising multiple criminals in the process and causing the Freeland P.D. to turn on him. His relationship with Lynn had also taken a blow, causing Jeff to became more confrontational and argumentative, though it was out of love for those he cared about and would usually admit his own faults after reconciling with the person in question. Eventually, Jeff believed that he was ultimately a better man without his Black Lightning identity, a revelation discovered after helping Marcel Payton.

Powers and abilities


"Jefferson's like a battery. He takes electricity from the source and channels it through his body."
Lynn Stewart to Anissa Pierce[src]

  • Meta-human physiology: Jeff received his powers; due to being one of the original kids who received the vaccine. Uniquely compared to the other original kids, his body remained stable and continued to develop his powers. According to Gambi; "his powers are largely neurological". Whenever Jeff utilizes or is about to utilize his powers; both of his eyes glow bright blue. According to Lynn; the reason why Anissa, Jennifer and himself are the only stable metas in Freeland is due to them being related to the original meta-human, Tyson Sykes also known as "Gravedigger".[2]
    • Electricity absorption:

      Black Lightning absorbing electricity

      Jeff can charge himself with electricity from nearby electrical sources, essentially draining them, even without physically making contact with the source; instead, he is able to redirect the electricity toward him so he can absorb.[2] He can also absorb the electricity his daughter, Jennifer Pierce, generates which at one point completely energized him after he lost his powers or when he temporarily died. His suits augment his absorption capabilities.
      • Electrokinesis: After absorbing the electricity, Jeff can store it up for as long as he sees fit and likewise safely unleash it as he pleases, from either his hands or his entire body, to which he is able to freely manipulate the electricity. At the same time, he does not need to first absorb the said electricity, as he can manipulate it around him, according to Lynn Stewart. His brain can pick up and use electricity the way a normal person picks up and uses a pencil or a hammer".[6] Originally, he could only take electricity from its source, but could not actually generate or create electricity. Jeff later became able to generate electricity on his own, however, he requires some already-existing energy to start it up and this can noticeably exhaust him. He claims to be able to generate up to 150,000 volts of electricity,[28] but with his third suit, he can generate up to 100,000,000 volts,[29] which is 99.85% higher than his previous output and 2,000 times more powerful than that of a Taser. Jeff’s powers are also strong enough to fight on par with and temporarily restrain Despero (who is one of the most powerful beings in existence.)
        • Electrical blasts:

          Black Lightning blasting electricity

          Jeff can create balls and bolts of electrical energy and project them at his opponents. He can control the size to be from as small as a basketball (an aspect normally used in combat as ammunition) to as large as a fully-grown adult. He can also throw them large distances, cause injuries and even hold his opponents in the air with using his electricity.[2] Jeff can use his electricity to act as a taser from his hands, thus knocking his opponents unconscious, as he did so with a man who was high on Green Light.[11] Jeff is able to use his bolts to propel himself in the air as means of flight.[11] He can also use small bursts of electricity to fry a person's short-term memory.
        • Electrical constructs: Jeff can use his electrokinetic powers to create physical objects out of electric energy. He can form a shield that can protect him and others from harm, an application that has blocked hails of bullets on several occasions.[4] He can produce a field essentially imprisons a target, preventing them from physically interacting with any person or object and blocking any active power usage.[30] He can produce whips to essentially lasso his targets.
        • Electro-telekinesis:

          Black Lightning suspending Will in the air.

          Jeff can manipulate the matter of objects with electricity or electromagnetism. He usually performs this feat by hurling or lifting his opponents into the air.
        • Electric vision: After being detained by the ASA for a month and regaining access to his powers, he has the ability to see through anything with an electric current without the suit. It can also function in a similar manner as x-ray vision.
        • Superhuman speed: After saving his daughter, Jennifer Pierce, Jefferson absorbed a massive amount of electricity and, upon being confronted by Gravedigger, raced toward him at an enhanced amount of speed.[21]
      • Electricity immunity: Jeff is completely immune against any electric weapons and attacks, as exhibited when he was tasered by police officers [2] and the Sange. He can even redirect the electricity back to the source, as shown when he used the taser darts shot at him to send the electrical shock back at the user.
      • Superhuman strength: Jeff's abilities grant him a measure of superhuman strength, however, nowhere near to the degree that his daughter Anissa possesses. He is able to trade blows with and knock around Tobias Whale, denting the school lockers around them. He also seems to be stronger when channeling electricity, as he was also able to send a punching bag flying off of its hinges and across the room with a single punch.
      • Accelerated healing factor: Jefferson possess an accelerated healing factor, allowing him to heal from wounds much faster and more efficiently than a normal human. However, according to Lynn Stewart, he doesn't heal as fast as he used to when he was younger, but does still heal twice as fast a normal human.[6]
    • Superhuman durability: Jeff is far more durable than normal humans and most other meta-humans; for example, he is unaffected by momentum build-up, can take attacks/exertion and even survive impacts that would have easily kill normal humans.
      • Vocal manipulation: Jeff possesses the ability to change his voice through the use of electricity. He vibrates his vocal cords with his own electricity, thus making his voice much deeper than usual.[6]
      • Identity concealment: When in Black Lightning persona, it is very difficult to look in Jeff's face. As stated by Jennifer, "When you try and look at his face, it hurts... It's like looking into a spotlight or something. It's out of focus." As it was never explained in more detail, it is uncertain whether this ability should be attributed to Jeff's meta-human powers or his Black Lightning suit.


"We all know that this city is in a crisis. But under the leadership of Principal Jefferson Pierce, Garfield High is an oasis of hope. This Olympic gold medal-winner came back to his old neighborhood of Freeland to turn it around. And with graduation rates now in the nineties, Jefferson does it all with the help of an outstanding faculty and his family."

  • Peak of human physical condition: Jeff is in top physical condition from his time as an Olympic athlete which he maintains by working out regularly.[2] His own physical strength allowed him to hold his own against the physically stronger Tobias Whale and even knock him to the ground and against some school lockers. His reflexes allowed him to trap one of Khalil Payne's darts in an electric orb before it could hit him, greatly surprising the latter.[28]
    • Acrobatics/Free-running: Jeff is skilled in acrobatics, using acrobatics to escape pursuit in his vigilante activities as Black Lightning.[3]
  • Master hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Having been trained by Gambi, Jeff is an extremely skilled hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist, able to compete against numerous opponents at one time.[2] Jeff can also compete against his daughter Anissa Pierce, and managed to defeat her despite her own superpowers. In hand-to-hand combat, he defeated the physically stronger Tobias with the latter wearing electric-resistant material, hand Khalil Payne who has advanced martial arts programming from the A.S.A. training, and even fight on par with Tyson Sykes who has over a century of combat experience. Jeff's fighting style seems to appears to include, Boxing, Kickboxing, Tae kwon do, Karate, Aikido, Muay Thai, Wing Chun and Judo.
  • Expert marksman: Jeff possesses impressive marksmanship skills, as he is able to easily fire electricity at several members of the 100 with ease.[4]
  • Pedagogy: Being a teacher at Garfield High School, Jeff has some level of teaching abilities.[31]
  • Bilingualism: Jeff is capable of fluently speaking English and some Spanish. [32]
  • Stealth: Jeff possesses impressive stealth skills, as he was able to sneak away from inspector Bill Henderson without him noticing or hearing him.[12] He was also able to stealthily sneak away from Anissa during a sparring match, and then sneak up on her.[9] He was able to sneak away from Two-Bits without the latter hearing or noticing him.[14]
"If there's one thing I know about Jefferson Pierce, when he puts his mind to something, there aren't enough Lowrys in the world that can stop him."
Lynn Stewart to Jefferson Pierce[src]

  • Indomitable will/High tolerance for pain: Jeff is a tenacious and determined individual, becoming a vigilante to give hope to the citizens of Freeland and instill fear into The 100. He also has an extremely high threshold for pain; he cauterized his own gunshot wound when Lala shot him as well as enduring the pains of A.S.A. Testing. Jeff's will of determination to save his wife Lynn, is so strong that being blasted by a unknown energy gun three times didn't stop him.


  • Paralysis darts: Khalil Payne wore special gauntlets with special darts with venom extracted from the byproduct of his spinal implant that he could project to paralyze other students instantly. Although it did not fully paralyze Jeff like other people affected by the venom, the poison did neutralize Jeff's powers; preventing him from projecting and absorbing electricity.
  • Electricity drain: If Jeff is without any stored up electricity for too long, it can leave his body completely drained and unable to access his powers at all. This leaves him unable to generate any new energy on his own, including that needed to power his suit. However, a sufficient charge of electrical energy could jump start his abilities again.
  • Power instability: Jeff's powers use his brain to concentrate the electricity of the environment; but if he uses his powers for too long without wearing his suit, it will kill him.[6] However, it appears that his tolorance has increased considerably after the War for Freeland, as he was shown to use his power rather freely without his suit with no side effects.
  • Power-dampening tech: The A.S.A. invented power-dampening collars to dampen meta-humans’ powers, Jefferson had one of these collars around his neck when he was in The Pit.

Former weaknesses

  • Headaches: At one point, Jeff began to suffer severe headaches at inconsistent moments, leaving him incapacitated and vulnerable to attacks. It has been revealed that this was caused by the suit's upgrades.[11] However, Gambi has now repaired the suit, so that Jeff will no longer suffer from this.[6]


Original multiverse

  • Third Black Lightning suit: After having to work with The A.S.A., under Odell, he gave Jefferson a new suit from a high-tech watch that will automatically materialize when he uses his powers through the watch.
    • High-tech watch: Storage for the Black Lightning suit.
  • Untraceable cell phones: Jeff uses a series of untraceable cell phones, which he has given one to a few, such as Bill Henderson; to be able to contact when needed.

Former equipment

  • First Black Lightning suit: When Jeff first became Black Lightning, he wore a suit, made by Gambi, to hide his identity from enemies during fights. However, after giving up his career as Black Lightning, he left the suit in the secret lab in Peter Gambi's tailor shop.[2]
  • Second Black Lightning suit: After deciding to become Black Lightning once again, Jeff began wearing a new suit, made by Peter Gambi, to aid him in fights and to hide his identity. The suit is bulletproof, as it was able to protect Jeff from being injured by a bullet shot at him near the heart.

New multiverse

  • Black Lightning suit: Like in the original multiverse, Jefferson wears a protective suit when he act as a vigilante.


Black Lightning

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

The Flash

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Season 5


Season 6


Crisis on Infinite Earths Giant



Promotional images

Black Lightning

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4

Crisis on Infinite Earths

The Flash



  • Jeff has won at least one "Principal of the Year Award", which is on display in the trophy case at Garfield High School.
  • He is left-handed.
  • He is 6'3".[15]
  • Jeff drives a blue Volvo wagon.[15]
  • According to Peter Gambi, Jeff has never killed anyone as Black Lightning.[9]
    • Jeff mentioned that the purpose of Black Lightning in the first place was to kill Tobias Whale to avenge his father's murder. However, he eventually gave up the idea after realizing that it wasn't the right thing to do.[2]
  • Jeff is a fan of Superman.[17]

Behind the scenes


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Book of Occupation: Chapter One: Birth of Blackbird"
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 "The Resurrection"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Lawanda: The Book of Hope"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Lawanda: The Book of Burial"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Shadow of Death: The Book of War"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 "Three Sevens: The Book of Thunder"
  7. "The Book of Secrets: Chapter Two: Just and Unjust"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Black Jesus"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "The Book of Revelations"
  10. "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light"
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Equinox: The Book of Fate"
  13. "The Book of Little Black Lies"
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion"
  16. "The Book of Resistance: Chapter Four: Earth Crisis"
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three"
  18. "The Book of Markovia: Chapter Four"
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Five"
  20. "The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming"
  21. 21.0 21.1 "The Book of War: Chapter Two"
  22. "The Book of War: Chapter Three: Liberation"
  23. "The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter One"
  24. "The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Two"
  25. "The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Three"
  26. "Armageddon, Part 2"
  27. "Armageddon, Part 3"
  28. 28.0 28.1 "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Three: Master Lowry"
  29. "The Book of Markovia: Chapter Four"
  30. "The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus"
  31. "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Four: Translucent Freak"
  32. "The Book of Rebellion: Chapter Three: Angelitos Negros"