WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Black Lightning episode 'The Book Of Little Black Lies'
'The Book of Little Black Lies' - the latest episode of the popular CW series Black Lighting - stunned viewers by dropping the name of another prominent black superhero from The Arrowverse - the shared universe in which Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow are set. What makes this so shocking is the fact that the world of Black Lightning was said to exist apart from The Arrowverse. Mounting evidence suggests this may not, however, be the case.
Black Lighting's show-runner Salim Akil has been quite candid about the fact that the series was originally developed for the Fox Network. As such, there was no expectation for it to need to fit into The Arrowverse. Indeed, Akil has been quite vocal about his belief that the series can stand on its own. Be that as it may, the series has mirrored the other CW superhero shows in how it uses Easter Eggs to pay tribute to the comics that inspired it, with recent episodes paying homage to one of the first lesbian relationships in DC Comics history as well as Thunder's costume from the comics.
An Easter Egg in 'The Book of Little Black Lies' goes a bit beyond this, however, referencing another prominent black superhero of great importance to The CW. Part of the episode is devoted to Jennifer Pierce's coping with the discovery that she has metahuman powers and that her father is Black Lightning. As Jennifer mopes in her room, she is approached by her mother, Lynn Stewart, who tries her best to comfort her daughter.
"I know exactly what you're going through," Lynn begins.
Jennifer rolls her eyes in response, sighs, and sarcastically replies, "Well, not unless you came in here to tell me you're Vixen."
Vixen is the code name for two superheroes in The Arrowverse. The first, Mari McCabe, is the star of The CW Seed animated series of the same name. The other, Amaya Jiwe, is a member of the Legends Of Tomorrow and former member of The Justice Society of America as well as Mari McCabe's grandmother. Both heroines make use of The Anansi Totem - a magical artifact passed down from mother to daughter that gives the bearer the power to take on the abilities of any animal.
It is unclear just what this name-dropping might mean in the greater scheme of things. It is clear that Vixen exists in some form in Black Lightning's world, but it is uncertain if she exists as another publicly operating superhero or as a fictional character. The latter option seems likely, given that Black Lightning has also made references to Supergirl and Anissa's girlfriend, Grace, was depicted reading an Outsiders comic book.
It is worth noting that there is a precedent in the classic comics for the superheroes of one Earth viewing the superheroes of other Earths as fictional characters. Barry Allen took his code-name of The Flash from his favorite superhero, Jay Garrick, whom he later learned was a real person on a parallel Earth. This would later start the idea of the DC Comics Multiverse and start the tradition of the heroes of many worlds joining together to face crises too big for one hero to handle. Hopefully Black Lightning will be joining the heroes of Earth One and Earth 38 for this fall's big Arrowverse crossover event either way.