Why 'Black Lightning' Could Create the Future for Lesbian Superheroes

The CW

Black Lightning may have its titular character leading the charge at the moment, but viewers should keep an eye out for Anissa Pierce (Nafessa Williams) because Thunder is coming.

On Tuesday, Entertainment Weekly published an interview with Williams about playing Anissa and the road to Thunder in which Williams said “She loves going into the community and actually trying to stop crime and fight social injustice. In being a superhero, this is Anissa’s way of saving the world and helping people. I love her strength and the power that she walks in.”

At the end of the pilot episode, Anissa discovers she has powers of her own on the heels of Black Lightning’s return to the city of Freeland. With Anissa, Black Lightning has put the first black lesbian superhero on television, which could create a template for future similar LGBTQ heroes. Anissa is an activist and who aims to be a doctor, so her powers just provide her a new way to help her community. In addition, to being a lesbian and superhero Anissa is a fully realized person, which is not always the case for LGBTQ characters. Take Arrow’s Mister Terrific for example, a character who was introduced alongside his husband. His hero life sent that husband away and now the character has essentially very little life outside of the team, which is a glaring omission during a season that has incorporated Wild Dog’s daughter and the Black Canary’s romantic life.

Anissa Pierce, 'Black Lightning'

It looks like Black Lightning will show her journey to understand her powers after being surprised by her strength in the early episodes. “There’s a bit of a struggle she’s going through with understanding [her powers], but once she realizes what’s happening and how they work and where they came from, she’s super excited and ready to go [in] head first. She believes it’s her passion and calling from god, and she walks in it boldly,” she told EW.

Fans of the character can look forward to Anissa suiting up as Thunder and meeting DC hero Grace Choi, who comic book fans will know is part of DC superhero team The Outsiders with Thunder.

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on The CW.

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