Black Lightning’s new physical condition in Future State may be the result of a grudge Ra’s al Ghul bears against him.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for “Future State: Outsiders Finale” on Future State: The Next Batman # 1 by Brandon Thomas, Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez, Jordie Bellaire and Steve Wands, on sale now.
DC’s Future State has given fans a glimpse of what their favorite characters are likely to do in the near future, as well as the fates that might befall them in this less utopian tomorrow. Bruce Wayne is believed to be dead, Superman shrunk Metropolis, and in backing problems for Future state: the next Batman, the fate of Jefferson Pierce is revealed. After an unknown magical encounter, Black Lightning transformed into literal lightning. Now in electric form, Black Lightning seems more powerful than ever. Unfortunately, his curse has robbed him of two essential things: control of his powers and his humanity. While still a mystery, his fate may actually be the result of a recently formed grudge with Ra’s al Ghul.
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Their rivalry started in Batman and the Outsiders # 16 by Bryan Hill, Dexter Soy and Clayton Cowles. Ra’s had just reached almost divine levels of power and was prepared to use it in his conquest of Earth. Despite his name being in the main title, Batman was unable to defeat this newly empowered Demon Head. Fortunately, Batman wasn’t the only heavy hitter at the time. Pushed to the limit with Ra’s on the verge of winning, Jefferson finally did what he hadn’t been able to do for so long: he believed in himself. That belief gave him a power that put him on a par with people like Superman and Wonder Woman, perhaps even surpassing them.
He used this new power to absolutely destroy Ra’s, raising him in a one-on-one fight. The defeat certainly hurt his ego, considering that Black Lightning’s true power outshined the one Ra had and made him look like a paper tiger in a storm.
For this victory, Ra’s promised to target his war towards Black Lightning. He swore that this new enemy who humiliated him so thoroughly would never know peace unless Black Lightning killed him. Jefferson is a hero, however, and he decided not to go ahead, even if he really wanted to. Ra’s escaped again, broken and humiliated, but free. And Black Lightning had a horrible new enemy, who now had a bill to settle. This is why it seems likely that the Ra may be behind the future state of Black Lightning.
Ra’s al Ghul has walked the Earth for centuries. He has seen it all. Demons, magic, witches, zombies, resurrection, aliens and gods. And in all that time he has amassed his own army and a seemingly endless supply of secrets to abuse. It’s conceivable that he found some way to ironically curse Black Lightning after so many years. And even if magic wasn’t the way he accomplished this, he certainly has enough scientific knowledge to find a way to alter the makeup of another human.
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