This week, DC fans have been treated to a few new hints at what’s to come in the latest CW superhero show: Black Lightning. The series, which was picked up by the CW after being turned down by Fox, will focus on retired superhero Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), who now makes a difference as the principal of a local high school. He’s drawn back into the superhero game thanks to his daughters and the increasing activity of the 100 gang, including the recruitment of one of Jefferson’s star students.
Up until recently, this has been pretty much all the info released about the show, along with a straightforward synopsis and a teaser trailer that keep the emphasis on Black Lightning’s return to the superhero game. Now, thanks to the executive producers’ appearance at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, a few more details about the upcoming show have emerged. Showrunner Salim Akil revealed that he would love to see fan-favorite Static Shock appear on the show at some point in the future, but that’s not the only character news that came out of the festival appearance. Akil also revealed that the big bad for season one would be none other than Tobias Whale, a crime boss from the comics.
Tobias is the Boss
In the comics, Tobias Whale first appeared alongside Black Lightning himself, as the crime boss in control of the 100 gang that was terrorizing Suicide Slum. Since his first appearance as the big man in the shadows, some more of Whale’s history has come to light.
Born as an African American albino, Tobias hasn’t had an easy life. A huge and completely bald man, he is physically intimidating, and although he does not have any superpowers, his size makes him incredibly strong. He got his start in the criminal underworld as a scammer, gaining political power and eventually rising through the ranks to command the gang known as the 100. As the head of the gang, Whale’s concerns are the same as any other major crime boss; power, intimidation, drug and gun running, and generally controlling the streets and the illegal businesses there.
Whale has something of a hatred of superheroes, and has set out to destroy the masks of Gotham in the past – both hero and villain. His first encounter with a masked hero was in Metropolis, however, with Black Lightning himself. In the early comics, Jefferson returned to Suicide Slum and started to make an effort to clean things up. In retribution, Whale killed a student of Pierce’s, intending to frighten him into leaving the 100 gang alone. Pierce blamed himself for the death, but it only spurred him on to seek justice and revenge. Black Lightning managed to put Whale in prison, but the crime boss escaped and, after attempting to release a new drug on the market and tangling with the Outsiders, Whale moved to Gotham to face off against the other villains there.
Next Page: A Sympathetic Villain
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