In the first issue of The Other History of the DC Universe, Black Lightning exposes what he feels is Superman’s greatest failure as a hero.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The other story of the DC universe # 1, by John Ridley, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrea Cucchi, Jose Villarrubia and Steve Wands, on sale now.

In the first issue of John Ridley, Giusseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi The other story of the DC universe, Jefferson Pierce recounts the rise of DC’s leading superheroes and the tragic events that led to him becoming Black Lightning. The comic connects real-world events like the Vietnam War and the 1972 Olympics with the fictional story of DC’s heroes.

Pierce was born in the impoverished Suicide Slum ghetto of Metropolis, a place that was both worlds apart and blocks from the glittering skyscrapers that led Metropolis to be known as the City of Tomorrow. In Suicide Slum, Superman would not come to save anyone.

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The first issue in the series is narrated by Jefferson, who becomes an Olympic gold medalist, then works as a teacher in poor neighborhoods, dedicating himself to helping children in the city’s underfunded schools. After working in Chicago for a while, he and his wife return to Suicide Slum. He recalls turning off the main thoroughfare onto MLK Drive, “the unofficial demilitarized zone between Haves and Haven’t Gots,” where lack of jobs, infrastructure and public funds had devastated the neighborhood.

In her new job, she is dedicated to helping her students achieve both academic and physical excellence. Jefferson also has superpowers, although he hides them from others, including his wife. Watch the appearance of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as well as the first black superhero, John Stewart. But watch the newspapers repeatedly undermine Stewart as “the ‘backup’ Green Lantern.” When the Justice League is finally formed, Stewart is not included on their list, and as they save the world from alien invaders and supernatural threats, Jefferson observes that the League’s sense of justice never seeks to confront injustices that affect communities. poor urban areas.

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Gang violence worsens in Suicide Slum when a group called The 100 increasingly employs brutal tactics as part of the drug trade. After 100 torturing one of Jefferson’s students to death, he dons a disguise and begins to beat up the gang members, calling himself Black Lightning. But unlike other heroes, the press does not praise his heroics. They condemn him as a vigilante. As he says, “Batman became the Dark Knight. I was just a black menace.”

In response to this report, Superman confronts Jefferson on a rooftop, lecturing him for his extralegal vigilantism. Unwilling to back down, he meets Superman’s gaze and asks why the Man of Steel just arrived at Suicide Slum. He tells Superman that if the Kryptonian didn’t want to fight crime, he could help build better homes or community gardens, but “he couldn’t blow his white privilege to my part of town and lecture me on how to be a hero.” Hearing this, Superman looks genuinely hurt and doesn’t say a word. The only answer he can give is to fly, once again leaving Suicide Slum behind.

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