Comic Book Review: Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #6


Last month we finally got Black Lightning and Tobias Whale coming face to face, and it was worth the wait. It’s a tough pill to swallow that here we are now at the final issue of this miniseries. While the sales may have been low, you can’t deny that this was an exceptional story offered from DC for the cultural and down to earth point of view. Not enough heroes from their line-up represent a world that we can relate to in terms of inequality, the importance of community, and responsibility to stand up for those who can’t defend themselves.

Jumping into this last stretch of the story, there was the immediate reminder of the position Black Lightning finds himself in at the hands of Tobias Whale. They nailed this moment for Tobias because this was his time to really get into his role as the villain. I enjoy how he even mocked the idea of what he is to BL. Despite this being a superhero story, it is a real situation. Self awareness from characters like him never hurts because they are fully aware of what they are doing, even if by some chance they will still fall prey to the naivety in their own actions. I mean you have to give it to the villain in this situation for always being prepared every step of the way like a game of chess. The best villains tend to be those who can strike that balance between having power and the ability to think on their feet.

Now with that said, the context matters even more when it comes to Tobias Whale’s villain monologue. There was a lot of hard truth about the business of selling weapons and how they only benefit from chaos and fear. Does that not reflect the world we live in right now? The only difference is that people are fighting to make it harder to obtain these weapons for their ease of access.

When it came down to how Black Lightning would turn the tables in this encounter, truth be told you could have seen his move coming a mile away. Nonetheless, it was still exciting to have that understanding that he was not someone to underestimate in a game of planning for your opponent. The execution mattered more which is what made the moment stick. His help in the end added a little fun to what seemed dire at first. The added help that followed stuck the message that Black Lightning is not a hero to overlook as one who has fought alongside some of the best. Everything about his move unfolding was brilliant since this came down to more than who could beat the crap out of the other. Both had intentions of their own when this final showdown occurred and the deciding factor was precision in control.

How this story wrapped up was a delight since it was easy to forget that Jefferson is just as important as Black Lightning. They did not fail to remind us of this when it came to how he moved forward from this. Everyone involved seeing an end to this made everything big and small matter till the end.

Consistent quality work from this art team made this miniseries a treat visually. With Clayton Henry there’s nothing less that you expect from the guy when he has such a clean style of penciling. The intensity of this final showdown could only be felt through how well he is able to define these characters and put energy into every move they make. Allowing Tobias to stand tall as this hulking crime lord made a big difference for every opportunity taken to create intimidating and sense of danger for Black Lightning. The red background used behind every dire moment helped as well. How this version of Tobias also has those abyssal eyes also stood out for removing the idea that the guy is showing anything other than dark intention. When it came to BL fighting back, it was the colors that definitely set the tone there. How the lighting quickly changed when he fired off emphasized the power that he packs. That aside, the team looked like they had fun being able to draw some other characters as well who jumped to BL’s aid. Henry has his own way of drawing them, though it is close enough to what is familiar about their current attire.

They didn’t lie, the surprises kept coming right through the very last page of this story. I was satisfied by the way Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #6 concluded this story. This was a story worth telling and following, and I’m glad that DC was bold enough to let it be told. Some publishers would have mishandled a title like this to make it an ongoing and then pull the plug without allowing a genuine story to start and finish.

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