Comic Book Review: Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #4


Cleveland, Ohio is the place to be if you’re looking for a story where you get the chance to see what it takes to save this city from the corrupt, and from itself. Last month’s issue was as heavy as it gets when experiencing the injustice that regular people can face at the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting them. This month looks to show us what happens when the wrong kind of villain decides to take advantage of the chaos on the streets.

This issue threw us straight into the action with White Thunder attacking Black Lightning, the Simmons kids, and the cops. I enjoyed how this situation has developed since the start of this miniseries. These people want to make an enemy out of Black Lightning, but they ignore who the true terrors are. As in the mercenary and stooges flying around in the air with hi-tech guns. Having that high ground from the start already made this an uphill climb to fight against. That felt like a wake-up call if there was one in need. The intensity of this escalation of events was just what we needed at this stage. Plenty of substance we got out of the story addressing street-level problems, but there was always going to come that time where things would spiral out of control on both sides. How this war played out I enjoyed for the fact that it wasn’t Black Lightning springing into action that saved the day. It was everyone fighting on the same side that changed the outcome for the better. One could always question why someone like him can’t take on many on his own, but that defeats the purpose and it is appreciated that this creative team clearly feels the same way.

The message that stayed consistent throughout this issue was “Where were you when terror came to Cleveland?’, and truthfully I enjoy when there is that one thing that you can focus a story around. This guided us through a number of perspectives that opened our eyes to all sides of this chaos. The good, the bad, the helpless, they all mattered with so much at stake. Every perspective on this open warfare on the city streets was welcomed when there were things you may have overlooked till this moment. Including of curse some characters you may have been surprised to see considering their lack of presence up to this point.

As far as villains go, White Thunder was a choice you could get behind for the danger he posed. The name as Black Lightning said himself was on the nose for one that seemed to have been taken to mock him.Some things about him were definitely cliche, but it was the lengths he was willing to go in order to get his bounty that stood out more.

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #4 was all about the action and perspective. This art team delivered on both angles of this chapter through quality and the capturing of the intensity on both ends of this war. Its funny, in the currently running TV show, some say that fighting gangbangers is too dull, but most don’t understand what a situation like that would look like if it were to evolve into them acquiring this kind of weaponry. That kind of war on the streets would look a whole lot like what happened within these pages. It was exciting to be able to look at these cops and not see all the corruption that you would expect from them normally. I enjoyed Clayton Henry’s pencils this issue in particular because this was his time to show off how well he can handle a character who can be agile. It makes a big difference to have that mental image of a hero who can be formidable through both power and physicality. Expression and emotion was key in this issue as well. To that extent Henry did solid work in addressing the weight of these events from those who could only watch from a distance. That aside, the color work came with consistency, though more than that strength when it came to this war where high energy shots are firing in all directions. The only fear here was that a gun fight can turn into a mess of colors covering up important objects within a scene, and luckily that is not the case with Pete Pantazis.

This here was that time for heroes to rise to the occasion. It doesn’t always take someone with powers to save the day, but it doesn’t hurt when you need that someone to give you a fighting chance. The events of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #4 were memorable for all the ways that things can go wrong when crime like this is either going to come knocking at your front door or plot from the shadows.

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